100 Journalists Semifinalists for Shuttle Trip

Associated Press

One hundred journalists, including CBS correspondent Walter Cronkite and free-lance reporter Geraldo Rivera, were announced today as semifinalists in the race to become the first reporter to ride the space shuttle.

The 100 face three more selection panels and their space flight cannot be scheduled until the outcome of a presidential commission’s investigation of the Jan. 28 explosion of Challenger.

Project spokesman Jack Bass said two of the semifinalists had expressed some reservations briefly before accepting.

Mostly Enthusiastic


“The general tone was enthusiasm,” Bass said. “We had one or two who wanted to think it over, and after thinking it over, accepted.”

Among the well-known news figures who said they applied but were not accepted were ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson and NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw.

Los Angeles-area journalists chosen included Los Angeles Times reporters Marcida Dodson and Patricia E. Klein; Jay Mathews, Los Angeles bureau chief for the Washington Post; A. Blaine Baggett, KCET-TV executive producer; Gene Gleeson, KABC-TV reporter; KCOP-TV reporter John Popejoy, and free-lance journalists Jim L. Schefter and Timothy T. Ferris.

From Five Regions


The semifinalists are separated into five regions, with 20 journalists from each. The 100 were selected from a group of 1,703 applicants, including reporters, editors, columnists, news directors, anchorpersons and a photographer.

The 100 regional nominees include 37 from newspapers, 36 from the broadcast media, 12 from magazines, four from wire services and 11 free-lance journalists.

In the next phase of the selection process, semifinalists from each region will be interviewed by panels at five journalism schools. During those interviews, between the last week of April and mid-May, each panel will select eight regional finalists, a total of 40, who will be named by May 22.

The pool of semifinalists included four Pulitzer Prize winners: New York Times science writer John Noble Wilford, Boston Globe photographer Stan Grossfield, Seattle Times reporter Peter M. Rinearson and free-lance writer Jon D. Franklin, formerly of the Baltimore Evening Sun.