Remembering a departed biz news desk

by
Ted Reed

Ted Reed, a former business reporter for The Miami Herald who now works for TheStreet.com, writes about The Herald’s newsroom now that the paper is moving to another location.

Reed writes, “When I first arrived at The Herald, I was assigned to every business section’s worst beat: real estate development. About four months later, in March 1989, three unions struck Eastern Airlines. At the time, Eastern had been covered for ten years by a very talented veteran reporter. He used to walk around the newsroom muttering to himself about airlines. I thought he was very possibly insane. By the time the long-awaited strike took place, his nerves were shot. He requested a different beat, and was assigned to federal courts. Soon afterwards, the trial of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega began, because at The Herald there was no place to hide from big stories. I landed the Eastern beat because nobody else wanted it. Within months, I was walking around the newsroom muttering to myself.

“I will share just one of my thousands of stories about covering airlines at The Herald. One day I wrote about how American Airlines was seeking concessions from its pilots union. As it happened, on that same day American CEO Bob Crandall came to town. He didn’t care for the story. When I went to a scheduled meeting with him, he called me into a small office, shut the door, and yelled at me, uninterrupted, for about 20 minutes. His general theme was that he was not seeking concessions and that, as he put it, “I hate f….. unions.” I remember thinking, as I stood in that cramped room with the most important executive in the airline industry, perhaps the most important executive in the history of the airline industry, that I was a Miami Herald reporter and I did not remotely care if somebody yelled at me.

“Afterwards, I walked out into a hallway and the station manager, a nice guy named Art Torno, was standing there. He smirked at me. ‘I told him not to do that,’ he said. Commercial aviation is such a small world that last week, maybe 20 years later, I interviewed Art for a story. Also, Bob Crandall was always friendly to me after that.”

Read more here.