Official Site "Stories Dad Never Told" Open-Source Memoir

The Newsstand™ ─ SDNT Blog

SDNT Guest Book

SDNT Guest Book

StoriesDadNeverTold  Guest Book!

Thank you for visiting the guest book for StoriesDadNeverTold. Think of this page as a booklet you’d see at a large reception, a bed & breakfast or other guest house, or anywhere else you might leave behind a personal greeting.

Here you can say hello to TJ, send a note to the curator, or browse and comment on the contributions of others. You’ll also be given the opportunity to subscribe to the Newsstand™ and be among the first to know as this project is launched, develops and comes to fruition.

(Two important to limit spamming and other inappropriate content:  This is a moderated blog so your comments will be not be immediately published. We recommend that you do not provide personal contact information).


Posted in: Reader Contributions

Leave a Comment: (22) →


  1. John Leigh October 26, 2012

    Really interesting site – looking forward to more development!

  2. D. Fran Morley November 3, 2012

    Looks like an interesting project, Steve. Good luck collecting stories about your dad.

  3. Brandy Gilbert November 17, 2012

    Hi Steve, I was researching family history and ran across your website. I think it’s great that you are doing this. I will be passing along this website to my Grandfather and your Uncle, Bobby K. I’m sure that he will enjoy seeing the pictures and reading your stories. He may be able to contribute some stories and pictures of his own for you to use. I will make sure that he has your email address. Have a great day!

    • Steve Jarriel November 17, 2012

      Brandy, thank you! Keep me posted on the family history. I’m underway with gathering stories, but definitely want to speak with Uncle Bob.

      Just getting started with the “how-to” aspect of SDNT. Great resource for me has been the Association of Personal Historians.

  4. Chris Harper December 8, 2012

    Simply put, TJ is the best! Fun on the road and in the edit room!

  5. Bob Borgeson June 15, 2013

    Tom, you know we go back almost 55 years. There are too many good times even even to mention. For me te best thing all these years has be our freindship. We have played, worked, fished, golfed, weddings funerals, renunions, and just hanginging out. Never a bad time. You are the best and I look forward to many more years together. Happy fathers day!

    • Steve Jarriel June 16, 2013

      Bob, thanks. Same to you!

  6. Marlene Sanders June 16, 2013

    Please give your dad my fond regards, and good luck with your work on this.

    • Dini Diskin-Zimmerman June 16, 2013

      Marlene this is Dini. Sonny’s daughter….great to hear your name! and Steve best and love to Tom Bill and Dini

  7. John Arrowsmith June 16, 2013

    The bottom line is that you Dad is and always has been a gentleman and he treated everyone with kindness and respect, no matter what the level of their job. He was always available to the younger staffers just starting their journalism careers for advice and mentoring. I remember once he pulled me aside and told me that I should aim towards working for a magazine broadcast instead of the evening news. He was certainly right at the time. 20/20, PrimeTime, Dateline, all dominated primetime schedules for a couple of decades. That has changed now with viewership down at the networks, but Tom is still one of the first people I would turn to for advice.

  8. Lou Buchignani June 16, 2013

    I do remember your dad fondly and I would get very excited when he came to the ABC bureau. He was a newsman’s newsman. A pro of the highest caliber in news. What a pleasure it was to work with TJ and be able to say I worked with him and knew him.

  9. Bob Peterson June 16, 2013

    Got no photo’s or grabbing stories to share as I’m sure so many of Tom’s co-workers have, but I have to say he was the most classy and understanding correspondent I’ve ever worked with.

    As a freelance washington cameraman I was privileged to have worked with all the big names in TV news. Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace, Bradley, Morley, Rather, Rodger Peterson, Barry Serafin, Rodger Mudd, Peter Jennings, Cronkite, Howard K. Smith, Phil Jones , Leslie Stahl, Sam Donaldson, Ted Koppel, David Shoemaker and Bob Scheiffer to name a few were all great hard working reporters who were all doing the best they could in a very competitive area of journalism.

    Tom Jarriel was the best of the best because he not only was an accomplished and a competitive correspondent BUT, he was fair, generous and calm during the storm of breaking news.

    Meaning there are a lot of loose ends that need to be managed as your news team is racing through the swirl of information and possibilities during which Tom Jarriel was the coolest of the cool.

    As a cameraman you can only get the stories telling footage when your reporter/producer team get you to the right place at the right time and Tom always seem to make that happen.

  10. Greg Dobbs June 16, 2013

    Frankly, while many of us will have fine stories to share about Tom, it’s probably equally telling when I say, my memories are more about his character than his antics. Both as a producer back in the early days, then as a correspondent sometimes seconded to Presidential foreign trips, I saw plenty of theatrics among the White House regulars, occasional departures from proper journalism, even a few fits of big-headed temperament. But never from Tom. He was always straight, always solid, always gentlemanly, always genuine. He was a star but didn’t act the part. He was a journalist, and always produced the goods. More should be cut from his mold.

  11. Ann Compton June 16, 2013

    Big hug to Tom…..

  12. Ed Harris June 19, 2013

    I had just been assigned as one of the White House producers in the early 70’sand didn’t know much about Tom when one day I was assigned to go to the White House and “produce” Tom’s “Evening News” piece for that night. Turns out the piece was actually just a standupper which might or might not be covered with “b-roll” video. However it was getting late and I was getting antsy because of the tight deadline.

    Back in the 70’s, ABC News was shooting film ,and it had to be processed in the lab. That added at least 45 minutes to your production time, maybe more if there was other film to be processed ahead of yours. And back in those days, the “Evening News” on ABC aired at 6pm, not 6:30, like NBC and CBS. So we really had to scramble regularly to make air. But, hold everything, “Tom is on the way” reports Tom’s colleague Bill Gill. And as I and the Carl Larsen crew anxiously await his arrival, sure enough, here comes Tom, double-timing it down the White House driveway.

    “About how long do you think your script runs” I ask Tom. “Oh, about 1:30” he casually replies. “Oh sh–” I say to myself, “we may not make this”. If Tom needed 3 or 4 takes to complete his copy–we’d be in trouble. “I’m going to blow one of my first producing assignments, and a simple standup at that.” If we’d needed 3 or 4 takes, we’d be dead I’d never hear the end of this from Washington producer Bill Lord. Av Westin–the Executive Producer in NYC will make sure I’m transferred to DEF (ABC’s syndicated news service–it would be like being sent down to the minor leagues after you face your first few batters.

    Tom is ready to go, and after I give him the sign that we’re rolling and up to speed, he begins. First sentence–good–second sentence also good–third sentence–wow, he’s on a roll. Then, Before I knew it, I’m hearing “Tom Jarriel, ABC News, the White House”. It was finished–one take, a minute 26 second standup done. I get the film from Carl, hand it to the courier and high-tail-it down Connecticut Avenue to the bureau. Erdman Reck head of the processing lab tells me I’ll have the film in hand at 5:15pm–45 minutes before air–a piece of cake.

    Even with having to lay in some b-roll video we made air with time to spare. In the control room I’m telling people how efficient Tom Jarriel was–getting that long piece done in one take. “He does that all the time” says veteran producer Dave Newman. “He reads his copy into his tape recorder, then plays it back through his ear-piece, repeating what he’s hearing on tape. He’s really got it perfected–and nobody else does it that way”

    That ingenious technique was typical of the kind of work Tom did all the time–it saved precious time in tight deadline situations and reduced some of the stress for producers. That was Tom Jarriel–the ultimate professional–coming up with a way to make life easier for those around him.

    By the way, in case you’re wondering what the subject matter of Tom’s report was–I have no idea. I just know that in large part–because of Tom’s efficiency–we made air.

  13. Helen Westwood June 20, 2013

    Tom Jarriel was an absolute treasure at ABC News; not only the fine gentleman recognized by us all, but the perfect broadcast journalist. I’m still in awe of the stories of Tom out in the field in the film days –a one man band in some god forsaken place where he covered the event, performed his on -camera report, edited the film himself and shipped the finished spot to NY. I seem to remember Fargo, ND was one of those places.

  14. George Watson August 26, 2013

    As a couple of respondents have noted, Tom will always be remembered more for his temperament and professionalism than antics or anecdotes. He was the coolest of the cool in the over-heated days of Nixon and Watergate. He was not a “character.” He was a solid journalist who was a model to those who took their
    profession seriously and worked hard to get the story and get it straight.

  15. Bob Furnard December 2, 2013

    I worked with Tom Jarriel both as an assignment editor and a field producer. What you saw was what you got. No pretenses. No BS. No holier-than-thou-cause-I’m-a reporter. He was a first rate story-teller. Simple words, short sentences, got to the meat. No adjectives, no coloration. Just the facts, as Jack Webb would say. A journalist’s journalist. And high moral standards to boot. (submitted June 13, 2013)

  16. Barrie Dunsmore December 2, 2013

    I am happy to just write some thoughts about Tom- or do an interview- whichever works best. He was one of the finer people working in network television news in my day, and I want people to know that. (submitted on June 12, 2013)

  17. Greg Dobbs December 2, 2013

    Frankly, while many of us will have fine stories to share about Tom, it’s probably equally telling when I say, my memories are more about his character than his antics. Both as a producer back in the early days, then as a correspondent sometimes seconded to Presidential foreign trips, I saw plenty of theatrics among the White House regulars, occasional departures from proper journalism, even a few fits of big-headed temperament. But never from Tom. He was always straight, always solid, always gentlemanly, always genuine. He was a star but didn’t act the part. He was a journalist, and always produced the goods. More should be cut from his mold. (submitted June 13, 2013)

  18. Sue Ferrara December 2, 2013

    While a newbie at ABC News-Wash, working in research at the time, I do remember an encounter with Mr. Jarriel.

    In 1982, a new show with David Brinkley was in the works, and I applied to write. I can’t remember the role Mr. Jarriel was to play with this new venture. I do remember he took the time to talk to me about writing and working at the network.

    Unfortunately, as was often the case, the people hiring cared more about connections than ability. I didn’t know any of the Kennedys personally. I hadn’t toiled in a high profile government position. I was just a person who loved to write news copy.

    Mr. Jarriel didn’t care who I knew and didn’t know. He said he liked my writing style. He encouraged me to keep writing.

    I didn’t get a writing job with the show. I “failed” the written test the Executive Producer had designed. I led with a sports story because the copy wording, among the other selections, contained the most active voice. The EP chastised me for even thinking about leading a newscast with a sports story!

    Months later, NFL players went out on strike (1982) and guess what? Newscasts led with sports stories!

    However, to this day, it was Mr. Jarriel’s kindness then which continues to take away the sting of that moment in my career. He was indeed one of the few people in the industry who toiled with love, compassion and little ego. (submitted June 13, 2013)

  19. Sam Donaldson December 2, 2013

    I think what you are doing is a great tribute to your father who deserves all the accolades any of us can give him.

    The fact is,while Tom and I were often together it was almost always a “glancing blow.” When I was hired in 1967, he was the Atlanta Bureau chief (if memory serves – hah!), and later when he was White House Correspondent I was a general assignment reporter in Washington but not directly working with him on a day-to-day basis. And when he went to 20/20, again, we were not regularly together.

    All this by way of explaining why I don’t have a wealth of personal, behind the scene stories about Tom…because he was, indeed, one of the best correspondents we have ever had at ABC. And I know you have uncovered (if not lived it) the important points in Tom’s career…especially, to me, how when the Company thought to replace him as the fledgling Nixon White House Correspondent he went to New York and successfully made the case that such a move was unwarranted and unfair. And he turned management around, something few people are able to do when the train appears to have left the station (pardon the mixed metaphor but at my age am I not entitled?).

    I will tell you one little anecdote which sticks in my mind and also shows Tom’s spirit, although perhaps it really isn’t worth telling.

    At one time before the Arledge era, when we correspondents traveled by air we had to fly coach and sometimes after a long, hard day of work it was more than an inconvenience,it was really fatiguing – especially if we watched our competitors lifting their glasses in First Class.

    There was one exception to the rule – we could fly first class if coach was full but the ticket agent had to write on the ticket receipt (to be filed with one’s expense report) “no coach seats available.”

    We all resented this rule but what could be done? Well, Tom took matters into his own hands. He filed a First Class receipt and it was kicked back from someone in accounting who told him it couldn’t be reimbursed because he needed a note on the receipt that there were no coach seats available and it wasn’t there.

    That’s no problem,. said Tom. He took back the receipt, took out his pen and wrote on the receipt “no Y seats available,” gave it back to the accountant and said “here, put it through.” The accountant did!

    Our hero. A man who took up arms against an unfair system.

    Now, I wasn’t there to witness this and if your dad says it never happened we’ll have to believe him…but at the time everyone in the Bureau thought it had!

    Good luck on your project, Steve…and give my best to Tom. I think those of us who worked at ABC News both before and during the Arledge era had wonderful experiences that few people in the business today can duplicate. (submitted July 23, 2013)


Leave a Comment