November 01, 1982 12:00 PM

by Jessica Savitch

The NBC-TV newscaster started in radio while in high school in Atlantic City. Her father died when she was young, but she had the ambition to work her way through college by modeling and doing commercials. In Houston she got into TV news and did it all: planned stories, handled heavy equipment, edited film and tape and dreamed that a hurricane like the one that got Dan Rather promoted to a network would get her moving too. The first anchorwoman in the South, she sat on a pillow to make herself look taller on camera. When she moved to Philadelphia, she had to fight her way up to co-anchor of local news, and when NBC offered her a network job in Washington in 1977, she was back reporting. She says that her scripts for television are simplified; so is her own life story: Everything is soft and fuzzy. There is only slight mention of a longtime affair in Houston and equally brief notes about her two marriages, the last to a doctor who killed himself. She makes gracious comments about a lot of people in the business (“Tom [Snyder] is a past master at the intimate one-to-one conversation”). She tries to be funny (“I have seen desks [on the set] so futuristically styled that anchors could have gotten whiplash turning from camera to camera”). But this is a bland, irritatingly shallow autobiography. There are glamorous photos of the author on the front and back of the jacket, but neither looks the least bit like the brisk, nervous and tough woman seen on NBC reading the news. (Putnam, $12.95)

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