List Cut to 100 Journalists for Space Ride
Veteran newsman Walter Cronkite and 99 other journalists were named Wednesday as semifinalists in the race to become the first reporter to ride the space shuttle.
The journalists, selected from a field of 1,703 applicants, include 37 from newspapers, 36 from radio and television, 12 from magazines, four from wire services and 11 free-lancers, including Geraldo Rivera, project officials said.
Face 3 More Panels
They face three more selection panels, and their spaceflight cannot be scheduled until the outcome of a presidential commission’s investigation of the Jan. 28 explosion of the shuttle Challenger.
Cronkite, 69, was the only representative from CBS News. The Washington Post and ABC News led the competition numerically with four journalists selected from each organization.
National Geographic magazine, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Ms. and Readers Digest were represented, along with reporters representing a broad spectrum of newspapers, ranging from the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune to the Mexico (Mo.) Ledger and the Evansville (Ind.) Press.
Los Angeles-area journalists chosen included Los Angeles Times reporters Marcida A. 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; John Popejoy, KCOP-TV reporter; Jim L. Schefter, West Coast editor for Popular Science magazine; and Timothy T. Ferris, a free-lance journalist and member of the University of Southern California faculty.
The 100 reporters were selected by journalism schools in five national regions, 20 from each region. The next step in the selection process, set for early May, will reduce the number to 40. Ultimately, five names will be presented to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which will make the final selection.
Pulitzer Prize Winners
“We had people with Pulitzer Prizes and Emmys and years of experience,” said Eric Johnson, director of the Journalist in Space project at the University of South Carolina. “The 100 we have here represent pretty much the spectrum of the different media.”
Albert T. Scroggins, chief program officer for the project, said applicants were selected on the basis of demonstrated professionalism and ability to communicate.
Among well-known news figures who said they applied but were not accepted were ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson and NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw.