While catching up on twitter this morning, I happened upon a post from "Syracuse Nostalgia" . The user had uploaded yet another newscast from the archives of WTVH-TV. This particular program was the 5:00 pm news with my friend David Muir.
I anchored hundreds of newscasts over my 27 year career as a television journalist but don't remember this particular one. It was a routine weeknight newscast among so many others. But I was struck by several things. First of all, 1999? Are you kidding me? That was yesterday and also 20 years ago. It doesn't seem possible.
I remember when I looked like that. I remember that pale pink silk jacket and muted navy silk shell you see on camera, and the short little matching pale pink skirt I was wearing, that you couldn't see. I remember my crisp Princess Diana haircut, a version of which every professional woman wore at the time. TV anchor women in particular fell into line with that style. Watch the news today and you'll see they now wear a new hair uniform-- longer with loose beach waves.
Check out the graphic over my shoulder. It's Hillary Clinton-- also with a Princess Diana haircut, exploring a run for the U.S. Senate. Now that seems like a long time ago. When viewed through the trajectory of her life-- First Lady at the time of this newscast, to U.S. Senator from N.Y., to U.S. Secretary of State and ultimately to the first woman running for President, I'm really aware of the passage of 20 years.
But back to the newscast. It was anchored by myself and David Muir who is a Syracuse native and who began his career at WTVH. Like Hillary Clinton, his career path was extraordinary. He soon went to WCVB in Boston and then to ABC News where he remains today, as the anchor of ABC World News Tonight. In his time at the network, David has interviewed Hillary Clinton at least twice that I can recall. But we couldn't foresee all that when this newscast was recorded in 1999.
There is a health segment in this newscast. In it, reporter Donna Adamo sites the news that Americans were living longer than ever before. 20 years hence, that's no longer true. Citizens of other countries enjoy ever longer lifespans, but Americans are going in reverse.
Even with the passage of 20 years, much remains the same, especially when you look at the newscast. Local TV news sets haven't evolved that much really. They're still lead mostly by a man and a woman at the desk, who "toss" with pleasantries, to the meteorologist whose green screen and computers are a few short feet away.
Local news includes a few stories of that community, but plenty of national and world news as well. And way back then, we were encouraging people to go to our TV station website. We could see how important this new method of communicating information would become.
In the 20 years since this newscast aired, my four little children grew up. Beautifully, I must say. I got married and divorced, lost both of my parents. The recession hit-- there went my career. I got a dog, then another. They both grew old and died. I realized my goal of returning to my native New England and living on Cape Cod. I began a new career in real estate. My Syracuse pals cheered me on and I made new friends too. I bought a little place in Florida to escape the cold. All in 20 years. Wow.
Now, want to catch up on the day's news? At least, from Syracuse, N.Y. on a routine day in June, 1999? With thanks to our friends at SyracuseNostalgia.com, here you go: