• U.S.

A Letter From The Publisher, Aug. 6, 1973

2 minute read

During the past year, almost every member of our 19-man Washington bureau under Hugh Sidey has been involved in covering the Watergate affair. The mechanics of covering a story as complex as Watergate are themselves highly complicated—and subject to change on a moment’s notice.

Two correspondents cover every word of the hearings. David Beckwith, himself a lawyer, spends almost five hours a day sitting virtually at each witness’s left hand, watching and taking notes on the testimony (almost 6,000 pages so far). Former Saigon Bureau Chief Stanley Cloud concentrates primarily on the members and staff of the Ervin committee. Senior Congressional Correspondent Neil MacNeil amasses political reactions to Watergate and also serves as our constitutional expert.

Sandy Smith, the bureau’s investigative expert, keeps a specially close watch on federal law enforcement agencies. Hays Gorey is principally responsible for the Department of Justice and the operations of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. White House Correspondent Dean Fischer covers the President’s efforts to respond to the continuing crisis. Simmons Fentress, in addition to covering the political repercussions of the scandal, has also been tracing and tallying G.O.P. fund raising and spending patterns during 1972.

Washington News Editor John Stacks coordinates the various assignments, exploiting the bureau’s ability to pool contacts and expertise. Late one night, for example, MacNeil learned that someone at the White House was trying to link Senator Lowell Weicker, an Ervin committee member, with illegal campaign contributions. Sandy Smith pursued the story from there until he discovered which White House people were allegedly responsible for the attempted character assassination. Then Stanley Cloud picked it up and checked the matter with Weicker. Within 24 hours, TIME (July 9) had the full story of the White House plan.

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