The Insider

Oct 20, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Former ABC newsman Dorrance Smith has been in Baghdad since early September as senior media advisor to Ambassador Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority. Mr. Smith’s focus is on directing media attention to nonmilitary stories-a subject very much in the news these days, of course.
Mr. Smith expects to be in Iraq for six to nine months and said in an e-mail to The Insider that “by the time we leave here there will be a more realistic picture of life here and the way it is being reported there. Every editor or reporter who comes here leaves with a much different impression of the progress that has been made here. I hope to get more correspondents over here to see first hand.” To facilitate that process, he’s setting up a filing center for the press and said, “We will shortly have the capability to broadcast live from here to the U.S.”
This is the second time Mr. Smith has worked for a Bush administration. The founding executive producer of “This Week With David Brinkley” left the newsmaker show in 1989 and became communications director for Bush “41,” as we’ve now come to call Bush “43’s” father. He served another stint at the helm of “This Week” from 1995 to 1999.
There is much to do (“you work seven days a week, day and night”) and much to miss (“the changing of the leaves in the Shenandoahs , college football and Florida stone crabs”). But there also have been moments of great reward. At a recent women’s conference, “much of the discussion was about how they would represent themselves in the upcoming constitutional convention,” he wrote. “These are people who never thought they would ever have a voice and now they will be engaging in the constitutional process.”
Asked how safe he feels, the McLean,Va., resident replied that when he watched coverage from back home of the Oct. 7 abduction of New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg’s wife, Kathleen, “It immediately hit home, because the bank where she was taken is my neighborhood bank, and there’s [ABC News correspondent] John Cochran doing a live standupper in the parking lot. Made me feel safe here in Baghdad!”
“Live With Regis and Kelly” publicity director Debbie Dolins is packing up her heart and heading for Fort Worth, Texas, hometown of her fiance, Ross Hyde, and her future media relations firm. She’s to leave New York at the end of the month.