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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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Session:         Page of 592

Foner:

Well, I think in my case, I had to be sort of obsessed with the issue. It had to be an issue which I felt deeply about, that I was determined to try to change the conditions. With that in mind, I would go after people in the press -- by this time I knew many of them -- who I thought would be interested. These are people I knew, knew me, and would respect what I said. At least they would check it out. As a result, I had developed contacts at all the papers, many of the TV stations, and many radio stations, all the media.

Q:

Do you remember some of the individuals?

Foner:

Well, '87, Abe Raskin was a labor reporter. He and I became very, very, very friendly. He later became an editor of the Times, and I would go to him on editorials. The Post, Jimmy Wechsler I don't think was -- I don't know. I think he was still alive then. So he was a natural ally. There were people I knew at the World Telegram and Sun, the Daily News, Jack Turcott, and many of them who respected me, people in television. That's the period of Mike Wallace was doing a nightly show on Channel 9 and brought Davis there to interview. So it sort of was, this person recommends this person, and it becomes that, and people feel that you can trust them. They check it out, but they say, “We've been with him before. We know that what he's telling us will check out, and the issue, we think, is a good issue.”

Q:

So in other words, you had built a track record with them, both in terms of your news judgment and in terms of the reliability of the facts that you gave them.

Foner:

Yes.

Q:

If you were to advise somebody now hoping to do PR for a union, what would be some of the key things that you would urge?

Foner:

I would say that, first, a passionate commitment to the issues, and then trying to develop skill in reaching the press, reaching people who you know, and through this person reach this person. Now, this is done today, but usually by large outfits with big staffs and a lot of funds to do it. I am amused, for example, right now the union is organizing the workers at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville. There'll be an election March 29th. It's a consent election, i.e., Minerva Solla, the organizer in charge, read through an article about the Bronxville strike and immediately --

Q:

In 1965.



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