My Mystery Woman

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August 29, 2012

I keep thinking about her. I don’t know her name, and we’ve never met. All I have are two seconds of video showing her working, likely in the 1950s. The attraction is neither lust nor love but nagging curiosity. Maybe it’s because she’s the only woman whose face is visible among a sea of men during the first part of the intro sequence to HBO’s show The Newsroom. This archival footage gives a flavor of the heady black-and-white days of early network television news. My mystery woman appears to be an important part of the crew working with Walter Cronkite during the CBS Evening News. Not many women worked in TV news back then, even behind the camera. Maybe she went on to great things as Linda Mason did. Told in 1970 that “women can’t be producers,” Mason became just that at CBS the next year—a first in the industry. Eventually she became a senior vice president in charge of all of the network’s news producers.

I’ve strained the Internet with queries about my mystery woman. I’ve asked CBS News for help. I’ve posted on The Newsroom message board on HBO’s web site. Nothing. Why ┬ácare so much? Is it because I always admired my grandmother, a newspaper reporter for half a century starting in the 1920s? Sounds noble, yes. But I think it’s the sunglasses.

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