Smart Talk

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Host: Scott LaMar

Media coverage of TMI accident was part of the story

Written by Scott LaMar, Host and Executive Producer | Mar 12, 2019 3:59 AM
TMI Press gathering with Herbeing 600 x 340.jpg

Press gathering around Metropolitan Edison Vice President Jack Herbein March 29,1979.

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, March 12, 2019:

WITF continues it's coverage of the 40th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island Tuesday on Smart Talk by discussing how the media covered the event and its aftermath.

The nation's worst commercial nuclear accident on March 28, 1979 was a seminal moment for most Central Pennsylvanians who can recount where they were and how they reacted to the news of the TMI incident. The same can be said about journalists who covered the story for their newspapers or radio or TV stations.

A group of reporters, who had very little knowledge of nuclear power, came together and were given information that was often confusing and contradictary -- if they got useful information at all from plant operator Metropolitan Edison. Even state government officials, including then Gov. Dick Thornburgh, complained about the information that was disseminated.

It wasn't until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Harold Denton was dispatched to TMI at the behest of President Jimmy Carter that media and officials were given credible explanations of what happened.

Appearing on Tuesday's Smart Talk are two former journalists who covered the TMI story -- Dick Hoxworth of WGAL-TV and WHP Radio's Dave Sollenberger.

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