June 24th, 2019 / posted by paularath

Photo by NASA

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?

It was one of those life-defining moments we all recall with awe.

For me, it was an event that literally changed the trajectory of my career.

I watched the amazing moment in the CBS Hong Kong Bureau, accompanied by my first boss, Bernard Kalb, CBS News Foreign Correspondent and Chief of the Hong Kong Bureau.

Bernard Kalb

Prior to that walk on the moon. my job consisted of being Mr. Kalb’s sort of Girl Friday, a job title thankfully lost today. I arranged all the hotel stays for correspondents going to and from Vietnam. I did the bookkeeping. I arranged interviews, events and dinners with visiting dignitaries such as playwright Arthur Miller. And, as was customary in those days, I sometimes baby sat the Kalbs’ three girls, bought cigars for Mr. Kalb and unwrapped his remarkable collection of blue-and-white porcelain as it arrived from various Asian cities.

Because this was Hong Kong’s first foray into satellite TV, our bureau, as well as those of NBC and ABC, now had satellite capability. I was immediately catapulted into responsibility for handling all the CBS news footage from Indochina and making sure it got processed, edited and “birded” or “Cronkited” (our terms for getting it into your living room) on time. The footage arrived from Saigon at 6:30 p.m. HK time and had to be in Cronkite’s newsroom by 6:30 p.m. NYC time. That’s just twelve hours to get it processed, edited and on “the bird.”  It was often a race to the finish line, taking the Star Ferry back and forth from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon.

There are many, many anecdotes and a few horror stories that went with that job. It was a lot for a 22-year-old. But I could never have asked for a finer boss, and a finer man, than Bernad Kalb, to teach me what journalism can, and should be.

So….where were you during that historic event? I would love to hear from you.

Paula Rath

What are they saying?
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Roberta Cullen
June 25th, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Watched with Mom and Dad and some of the Patys at Bill Paty’s sister’s house on Paty Drive in Manoa. We were on home leave from Hong Kong and the beach house did not have TV.

Norm Shapiro
June 26th, 2019 at 4:09 pm

I was on vacation in Tokyo and watched it through the window at a department store TV display. I was serving as a mass media volunteer in Micronesia.

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