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NEW YORK (AP) — For a broadcast journalist, they are the moments that MSNBC’s Brian Williams says you can almost feel people watching you.
Planes crash into the World Trade Center. A president is assassinated. An election is thrown into turmoil. The first human walks on the moon. Daily life is cast aside and people gather around televisions to soak in the news.
How TV and radio journalists handle it when history is suddenly thrust upon them is the subject of a new podcast based on Joe Garner’s 1998 book, “We Interrupt This Broadcast.” The 12-episode series, which Williams narrates, becomes available on July 20, and new seasons are already in the works.
Hearing some of these moments as they unfolded is chilling, particularly if you were around to hear them the first time. In many cases, a journalist’s mundane day suddenly turned into one of the most impactful of their career and all skills are brought to bear.
“You can’t measure it when it’s happening, but you do your level best,” Williams said. “You will be remembered when people look back and see how we covered these stories.”
Episodes in the first season explore the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the shooting of President Ronald Reagan, the moon landing, Columbine, Princess Diana’s death, the D-Day invasion and the Hindenburg explosion.
While recordings from those days are obviously a big part of the series, Garner said he knew it wouldn’t be enough for a podcast.