Lost amid all the media pundits weighing in on Diane Sawyer after the announcement that she will replace Charles Gibson as World News anchor at the end of the year (yes, she follows Katie Couric as the second woman in a network anchor chair, and yes, network news is pretty much dead anyway) was her journalistic cred — specifically, how tenacious a reporter Ms. Sawyer is when she’s on a story.
I was reminded of this over the weekend, when I read a 9/11 remembrance post by Bucky Turco, publisher of Animal New York — formerly an underground culture magazine, now a website — who was recruited by Sawyer on the night of September 11 when cops at Ground Zero wouldn’t allow cameras at the scene.
Turco explains: “It’s 8:45 p.m. or so, the night of 9/11, and Diane Sawyer taps me on the shoulder. I’m standing in front of Pace University, and I guess she saw the shitty camcorder I’m holding. Diane asks me to join her film crew; there’s evidently a ‘media blackout’ around Ground Zero, and they need some guerrilla camera work. They give me a paper towel roll to conceal the camera, and I tuck it under my arm and basically shoot from the hip.
“At the scene, she and her crew in scrubs start handing out water, paper towels, and face shields to emergency workers as a distraction.”
“Do your best,” Sawyer told Turco. “I’m walking away to distract attention from you. Just keep shooting everything you can shoot.”
Check out the video here: