A confession: The cinetrix is prone to nerdy media crushes. Here's one: Leroy Sievers, executive producer of ABC's Nightline, a program I rarely stay up to watch but have now been known to tape. Sievers keeps me in touch with the shy seventh-grade cinetrix who would regularly sweep the weekly current events quiz in social studies and the collegiate cinetrix who would have double majored in poli sci [instead, a lucrative lit degree!] if there were more hours in the day and more money in the bank.
There's a great appreciation of Sievers' daily email in the Philadelphia Weekly archives.
Unlike most commercial emailers who try to hook you on their product with gimmicks, Sievers employs a soft sell. He writes about the topic for the night's show, then tells why it's important. Recently, writing in an email about AIDS in Africa, his anguish was palpable. Compassion is not typically part of the group email culture. He also writes very well. That's not part of the culture either.
See for yourself. Here's today's email, which nicely captures the binary governing my own life: wonky politics geek or celebrity gossip inhaler?
Nightline Daily E-Mail
November 19, 2003
TONIGHT'S FOCUS: President Bush is in London, as are tens of thousands of demonstrators. His visit comes on the heels of a major policy change by the White House, and the acceleration of the plan to hand authority in Iraq back to the Iraqis.... And oh yeah, Michael Jackson may be arrested today.
This is a day in which the Nightline staff is pretty evenly divided. We have a meeting each morning when we talk out what we are going to do each night. Usually the plan is pretty well set, but not always. Today's meeting was pretty interesting. Our plan is to look at the President's visit to England, and at the plan his administration is putting forward to try to speed up the political process in Iraq that would allow for the withdrawal of at least some American troops. The approaching presidential election is clearly making this more urgent. This is a broadcast we have been planning for a while, and correspondent Deborah Amos will report on the plan for Iraq, and the Iraqi reaction, and Richard Gizbert will report from London.
But what about Michael Jackson? As I'm sure everyone knows by now, law enforcement in California served a criminal search warrant on his ranch out there. He is in Las Vegas right now. There are reports today that an arrest warrant has been drawn up, raising the possibility that he might be arrested today or in the near future. Apparently this investigation centers on allegations from a young boy that he was molested by Jackson. About ten years ago, there was a similar allegation, but it never went to trial. Instead there was apparently a settlement between Jackson and the family involved. Things this time seem to have gone far beyond that.
So if he is arrested, should we cover that tonight on Nightline? The staff is about evenly split. Some think it's a big story that we would have to do, others don't want any part of it. So what will happen? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Leroy Sievers and the Nightline Staff
ABCNEWS Washington bureau
Get your own daily Sievers mash notes here.