My 10 A.M. appointment with a real estate agent turns up several new apartment possibilities, but none about which I'm enthused. I'm deciding whether to take the condominium plunge, and am astounded that there are as many ways to finance condos as there are condos to look at.
In the afternoon, I stop at NBC to pick up the day's newspapers, so I can catch up on research and get a progress report on the Falklands. It's relatively quiet from the Washington side, and I use the remainder of the day for errands.
I watch "NBC Nightly News" at home, one of the rare times I see it as viewer in a living room rather than as participant in a control room. At 7, I drive to my ballet class in Bethesda. The muscles now feel the results of Sunday morning's workout -- I'm told this is progress.
I'm at the bureau by 9:45, in time for our morning meeting. During this session, we discuss the stories Washington will offer to "Nightly News" that evening. The assignment sheet shows we will cover the three stories which have become virtual staples of our bureau these past few weeks: Washington reaction to the Falklands, the Hinckley trial and the budget negotiations.
Because the president leaves for California today, our total offerings are not as numerous as usual: Presidential news will originate from the West Coast. When the meeting breaks up, I read and mark the day's newspapers. As researcher to the Washington staff of "Nightly News," it is my responsibility to provide background material to Roger Mudd and writer Leslie Sewell. I have developed a "mini news library" for this purpose.
At noon, the conference call comes in, hooking up all the NBC domestic bureaus. Each manager reports the stories his bureau is looking into, and we report ours. Around 3 p.m., we are hooked up again (New York and Washington only) to go over the rundown of the evening broadcast.
Today, Roger and Leslie need material on the debt ceiling, teenage summer employment and Argentine Independence Day. With research completed on those topics, I turn to a memo I've been working on the past several days. It is an overview of the June 8 primaries, and Roger will need it tomorrow.
I finish around 6:30, in time to head over to the control room to watch the first broadcast. After work, I dash downtown for a book reception. We are celebrating the publication of Madeleine Kalb's book, "The Congo Cables."
This morning I attend a seminar on the executive budget process at the National Housing Center. I'm not certain any one person has a handle on what the process is all about, but the gentlemen who are explaining it seem to have a pretty fair idea. On the whole, the seminar is a good followup to a previous session I attended on the congressional budget process.
After the seminar, I return to the bureau to catch up on the stories we are following. Today, I am to look for information on Jerry Brown's run for the Senate, but it is later decided that Tom Brokaw will introduce that story from New York.
I move on to finding material about the pope's visit to Great Britain and the House vote on the FTC used car sales regulation. With that accomplished, I turn to some reading material.
The first broadcast goes smoothly, and I am able to leave for dance class at 7 p.m. Tonight our class has a visitor; he is a professional dancer and performs each step perfectly. It is stunning to watch him dance.
The best part about researching is that you always learn something new. Today, it's a short course in airline operations, as we explain the significance of the Braniff lottery to our viewers. The answer: While airlines remain deregulated, there has been a constraint upon the system since last fall when the PATCO strike began. By contacting the CAB, I learn that the lottery is for landing rights, the rights allowing airlines to use the air traffic control system. Prior to the PATCO strike, planes landed on a "first come, first serve" basis. With the disruption in air traffic last fall, a system of reservations was designed to keep traffic in order.
War in the Falklands (and the Hinckley trial) dominates the broadcast this night as it has all week. The budget battle continues. After work, I meet a friend for dinner.
The president is still on the West Coast, and Washington is clearing out for the Memorial Day weekend. I contact a friend on the Hill to find out more about a story for next week. Amy Carter begins a summer stint as a Senate page, and my friend confirms the date.
It looks like a slow day, and then, around 11 a.m., we get a report about a sniper in Gaithersburg. No, it's Bethesda. The IBM building. Our news desk starts making the round of calls; reporters are assigned, crews sent, couriers routed. The details start to filter in.
In the meantime, I am checking into information on Salta, the northern Argentine province where much of the 19th century war for independence from Spain took place.
As the broadcast begins at 6:30, the sniper situation is still at a standoff. At 6:45, Roger is introducing the sniper story when word that the standoff has ended reaches the control room. As viewers watch the taped report of the story, one of our producers gives Roger the details so he can tag the story with the new information. Later, the report will be updated for the second broadcast.
Last week, we watched as tragedy began on some islands several thousand miles away. This week, we are reporting it from our own backyard.