I’m honored today to be spotlighting A Small Story for Page 3 by Jack W. Germond.
A Small Story for Page 3 is now available in print and eBook by MuseItUp Publishing. Sadly, Mr Germond passed away on the day the eBook released. His wife, Alice Travis Germond has graciously agreed to embark on a blog tour on Jack’s behalf. We are here today to celebrate not only Jack’s first fiction novel, but also his long and stellar career as a political reporter.
Germond had already published two non-fiction books: Fat Man in A Middle Seat and Fat Man Fed Up both with Random House. A Small Story for Page 3 was his first attempt at writing fiction. Drawing on his vast knowledge and experience of the American political scene Jack takes us the behind the scenes into the wrangling and maneuvering that is usually hidden from the public view. Of course, all the characters and situations are fictional, but Jack brings them to life and makes us care what direction their lives will take in relation to the events unfolding in the story.
Alice Germond is the Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee. She was elected Secretary unopposed three times from 2002 to January 2013. Alice also served on the Executive Committee, the Rules and By-Laws Committee and as Secretary for the Democratic National Convention where she called the role of states that determines the Party’s nominee. Alice has participated in every Convention since 1974 when the Party wrote its National Charter. Alice currently is an elected At-Large member of the DNC and serves on the Resolutions Committee.
Active in the Democratic Party for over 45 years, she has held leadership positions in local, state and national campaigns including Political Director for Clinton/Gore in CA, Deputy National Political Director for Michael Dukakis, and Super Delegate Director for Gary Hart. In 1988 Alice moved to Washington DC, and became Director of Political Operations for Ron Brown’s successful election as Chair of the DNC. She was named his Senior Advisor, coordinating DNC Party Programs and was his liaison to the 1992 Convention. From 1993—1996 she was Director of the DNC’s Government and Party Affairs Departments.
A strong advocate for issues and party values, Alice led the historic effort to put Geraldine Ferraro on the Democratic Ticket while Chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus Democratic Task Force. During her tenure as Executive Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Fortune Magazine ranked NARAL as the most effective women’s organization in the nation. Alice also worked for the AFL-CIO’s Women’s Division and for SEIU. One of Alice’s earliest experiences was participating in Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” March on the National Mall.
Alice has broad experience as a speaker and working with the press. Her op-eds have been published by major newspapers and on the internet, and in 1995 CBS hired Alice for their special Convention Coverage Unit. She has spoken at Party Events in 50+ States and for the campaigns, organizations and issues with which she is identified. Her international work includes lectures at Tsinghua University in Beijing, leader of two delegations to Taiwan, presentations in Madrid, London, Barcelona, Toronto, the Virgin Islands and several NDI exchanges including one for the European Parliament.
In 2013 President Barack Obama appointed Alice to the prestigious Commission on White House Fellows where she currently serves. Prior commissions include the CA Council on Criminal Justice (Gov. E G Brown, Jr.) and the LA Olympics Government Affairs Committee.
Alice earned her BA from Bennington College, VT in 1965 where she received a non-resident term scholarship and was Chair of the school legislature. Her MS Degree in Public Administration/Recreation was awarded in 1977 from CA State Un. LA with a 4.0 average.
Now living on a bend of the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, Alice grows vegetables and fruits, goes running with her dog Freddy, and watches the bald eagles who have returned to the region. Coffee on the deck, warm conversation with many friends and visits from six grandchildren are a constant pleasure.
Meet Jack W. Germond
Jack Germond (January 30, 1928 – August 14, 2013) was a retired newspaper man, columnist and TV pundit. But like a Thoroughbred racehorse, a reporter never actually retires—he just writes about other things. The author brings his vast knowledge and understanding of the press and the business of getting the information to public to bear in his breakout novel, A Small Story for Page 3.
Mr. Germond was nationally known as a bemused liberal and was a regular on The McLaughlin Group as well as appearing on other public affairs TV programs — CNN, Meet The Press and The Today Show among others. He covered ten presidential elections, and with Jules Witcover wrote a book covering each presidential election from 1980 to 1992. Timothy Crouse made Germond a prominent figure in “Boys on the Bus” his acclaimed book on the 1972 presidential election. Mr. Germond has previously published two non-fiction books, his memoir “Fat Man in A Middle Seat” (Random House 2002) and “Fat Man Fed Up” (Random House 2005) a scride on the decline of politics in the United States. Along with Jules Witcover he wrote a syndicated column that ran in 140 papers five days a week from 1977 to 2001.
Chris Farley once spoofed Germond on Saturday Night Live. Germond was known for his no nonsense approach to reporting and his love of good food, good liquor and good friends. He instituted The Germond Rule which two generations of political reporters have adhered to. The rule simply stated that when a group of reporters dined together the tab would be split evenly, no matter who ate or drank more. This caused his many friends to eat and drink defensively when covering stories and enjoying good company.
Alice was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. I hope you enjoy our brief interview!
Kim: What is A Small Story on Page 3 about?
Alice: Jack’s novel combines his love of journalism with his passion about politics and “how it works” – or doesn’t. It’s a newspaper/political potboiler.
Kim: What inspired Jack to write this particular story?
Alice: It was churning about in his head for a number of years and the time was right.
Kim: Describe Jack’s writing in three words.
Alice: Clear, reportorial, fast.
Kim: Are characters in the book based on anyone Jack knew?
Alice: There were many characters that grew out of Jack’s experiences covering stories on the road or in the newsroom. Then they took on lives of their own.
Kim: Who gets to read Jack’s drafts before they’re published?
Alice: I read the draft, several times, the first time without permission.
Kim: Where the names of the characters in A Small Story on Page 3” important?
Alice: Jack spent a lot of time mulling names. He had fun with that.
Kim: Is there anything else you would like to say to Jack’s readers about A Small Story on Page 3?
Alice: It’s a fun read, particularly thinking about the great days of newspaper business and the questionable behavior of politicians.
After Eddie Concannon dies, the ‘nugget’ of information in his unfinished investigation leads ace reporter Harry Fletcher into a nest of scandal and intrigue.
Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion. Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.
“Oddly enough, ladies and gentlemen of the TV audience,” Harry announced in his persona as Larry Largelungs of Action Central News, “the condemned man was smiling and singing as he approached the gallows.”
The mood changed when he arrived at Wear’s office to find the executive editor and the managing editor waiting and somberly reading printouts of the story.
“This thing has to be settled today,” Wear said. “It’s gone on long enough, it’s tied us in knots, and we need to find a solution.”
“I thought we had one,” Harry said. “The story shows he has been sailing under false colors as a corruption fighter by trying to protect one of the targets of the investigation with whom he had a connection, perhaps lucrative, not previously disclosed.”
“We’re not the ones who have to be convinced,” Mike reminded him.
When they walked into Marcotte’s office, it was obvious he was not prepared to be persuaded. The publisher remained behind his huge mahogany desk and with a brusque gesture he seated the others at the small conference table.
“I’ve read the story you people seem to think should run on Page One as soon as possible,” he said, “I think it’s still libelous horseshit, and I intend to spike it, this time for good. You still have no hard evidence that Tyler Bannister resisted Phase Two because of some personal concern. But Tyler denies it flat-out and there’s no quote from him to corroborate it.”
Harry was trying to contain his fury. “The only quote from him in reply was “go fuck yourself.” Do you want to use that?”
“Don’t be flippant, Fletcher, this is a serious question.”
“We all understand that, Dave,” Wear said, stepping in quickly. “If you want a clearer denial in more decorous terms, we can do that.”
“A denial isn’t going to change the fact that we are doing serious damage to Tyler Bannister’s reputation and potentially his political career,” Marcotte said, his voice rising. “I don’t intend to be a party to that.”
“That was never our intention,” Wear said. “We’ve gone where the story has taken us. The truth is that this episode raises serious questions about Bannister’s candidacy.”
“It shows him interceding in behalf of a friend and former business associate in an official investigation,” Harry said with some heat. “That’s a part of the truth about him that we know but our readers do not.”
“Don’t give me that truth and readers crap, Fletcher,” the publisher said. “I remember you calling him a trimmer way back there. You had it in for him from the start. So did Concannon.”
“This story quotes Tom Lawton saying Bannister called him with a warning about being on Carvaggio’s list of targets and it quotes Rudy Myers as confirming that Bannister ordered Lawton’s name stricken from that list once he agreed to retire from the bench.”
“I know what the story says but, as I told you earlier, Fletcher,” Marcotte said, “it is the publisher, not the reporter, who decides what appears in the News and I have made the decision on this one.” After an interminable twenty seconds of silence, he continued, “I think we’re through here, gentlemen. Thanks for coming in.” When the elevator dropped them at the third floor, Wear beckoned them into his office and closed the door on Meg. “I don’t know what we do now,” he said.
“What you and Mike do,” Harry said, “is keep faith with the good people here who depend on you to let them put out a good newspaper and hope for change. What I do, is clean a few things out of my desk and walk out of the building. I don’t have any choice now.”
“What are you going to do about the story,” Mike asked.
“I haven’t thought it through, Mike, but I’m not going to give it to the Trib or some television station. I don’t know if the story is mine to use elsewhere or what. It would take a lot of time and effort for anyone else to duplicate it.”
Wear had a different concern. “What are you going to say when the word gets out that you’ve left the building?” he asked.
“I could just tell the truth—that I have left the News after almost thirty years because of a decision by the publisher to spike a story I wrote. Period.” He laughed. “I’ll leave it to Amy Whiting to fill in the blanks.”
At Wear’s office door, he turned to his two old friends. “Look, this isn’t the end of the world. Let’s all have dinner later in the week, some place public for all to see. Meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted.”
If you would like to find out more about Jack Germond please join Alice on her blog tour to celebrate Jack’s work and his life.
November 14 – Nancy Bell
November 15 – Kay Lalone
November 18 – Penny Estelle
November 19 – Helena Fairfax
November 20 – Sara Durham
November 21 – Barbara Ehrentreu
November 22 – Cyrus Keith
November 25 – Heather Brainerd
November 26 – Victoria Roder
November 28 – Leona Pence
A Small Story for Page 3 is available at the following retailers:
Thank you Alice for joining us today. I would also like to express my condolences on the passing of this unforgettable man and I look forward to reading A Small Story for Page 3.
**Don’t forget to leave Alice some comments and please feel free to ask any questions you would like.