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Earthquake Damage

October 10, 1987

I suppose one can apologize (as Deborah Caulfield and Judith Michaelson did) for the broadcast journalists who crawled under their desks or otherwise communicated their personal panic.

I am concerned, however, that what we witnessed is a mild sampling of the behavior we would see in a more severe crisis.

It is no surprise that many who sit in front of the cameras are selected for reasons of personal appearance and style rather than personal courage or substance. What is surprising is that station management and the public will tolerate this abysmal performance.

Few of us expect local newscasters to reflect the calm standard upheld by the BBC throughout the Battle of Britain. As was said at the time, "The worst thing one can do, as a 500-pound bomb is falling, is panic."

Nevertheless, journalists who cannot rise above personal fear in times of public disorder do us all a great disservice.

RICHARD RAYMOND

Long Beach

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