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Earthquake Damage

October 10, 1987

Jeers to Times writer Dennis McDougal.

By ridiculing KNBC's Kent Shocknek and Chris Nance for sensibly trying to protect themselves, he set back the cause of earthquake safety several years.

Those guys did exactly what we're all supposed to do in a quake--even those of us who don't happen to be sitting under heavy studio equipment. Why should their intelligent action make them the targets of McDougal's sarcasm?

Does he think that TV newscasters are different from other reporters, somehow not susceptible to injury and death in a quake? At what point in a life-threatening situation would McDougal allow a reporter--no matter what medium he or she works in--to put personal safety above dedication to job and audience?

Perhaps it would have been more edifying for viewers if Shocknek and Nance had coolly sat where they were, so they could be flattened by falling equipment. Only a smug, short-sighted, after-the-fact reporter like McDougal might think so.

ROBERT D. ELLIS

Hollywood

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