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Alissa Krinsky

Dan Lothian Leaving CNN

DanLothianFirst on TVNewser:  CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian is leaving the network, a CNN source confirms to TVNewser. Lothian is a ten-year veteran of the cabler, and has covered the administration for nearly five years.  Previously he was with NBC News out of its Los Angeles bureau.

This is the second departure of a D.C.-based CNN correspondent in a little more than one week. TVNewser broke the story on October 9 that Jessica Yellin‘s tenure at the network had come to an end.

Remembering Jessica Savitch, 30 Years After Her Death

SavitchJessicaIn the early 1980s, with cable in its infancy and network anchors dominating the airwaves, one of the most identifiable, and beloved, was NBC’s Jessica Savitch.

A pioneering woman in broadcasting, Savitch was only 30 when, in 1977, fresh from local TV news jobs in Philadelphia and Houston, NBC News hired her to cover Congress.  Savitch went on to be the first woman to anchor a weekend newscast for NBC, and perhaps was best known for her highly-visible primetime ’news capsule’ updates. Her rocky personal life made headlines too.

But it all came to an end on a rainy autumn night in 1983, when the car Savitch was in plunged into a Bucks County, Pennsylvania canal, killing her and the car’s driver, 34-year-old Martin Fischbein, a vice president at the New York Post.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that day – October 23 – TVNewser reached out to friends, family, and colleagues for their memories of Jessica Savitch, who was just 36 when she died.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “Jessica Savitch was a warm-hearted, caring person and a pioneer in broadcasting who lost her life tragically just as she was soaring to new  heights. She was my friend at KYW in Philadelphia and my office mate at NBC in Washington. I was privileged to know her and mourn her loss, along with friends and family, so many years later.”

Former KYW Co-Anchor Mort Crim, who delivered the eulogy at Savitch’s funeral: “Her untimely passing was a loss to me, personally, and to the world of TV journalism. I’ve worked with many talented people, but none who could surpass Jess for a combination of ability, sensitivity and drive…An agent for Will Farrell contacted me a few weeks ago as Anchorman II was nearing completion to remind me that Jess and I had been the inspiration for the first Anchorman movie…Jess was 25 years old when we first shared an anchor desk.  But the years fly by swiftly and she would now be 65, something I can hardly believe. I still miss her.”

NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “It was such a sad, even tragic ending, to a life that was the classic American success story. Jessica had a wide following of admirers, first in Philadelphia and then on the network – and just when she seemed to have found personal happiness, the untimely end.”

After the jump, thoughts from Sue Simmons, Fred Francis, and Linda Ellerbee…plus Lori Savitch on the journalism scholarships that honor her sister thirty years later.

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Jessica Yellin Leaving CNN

JessicaYellinBreaking: TVNewser has learned that CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin is parting ways with the cabler. CNN shuffled its DC correspondent lineup in August sending Yellin from the White House beat to domestic affairs correspondent.

Yellin has been with CNN for 6 years. Previously, she worked at ABC News and at MSNBC.

Lee Woodruff: ‘I Can Take or Leave Sex, and Mostly I’d Rather Leave It’

In the October issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, “CBS This Morning” contributor Lee Woodruff gives readers a rather intimate peek into her marriage to ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff.

Titled Let’s Talk About Sex (And Why I’d Rather Just Go To Sleep), her column is blunt: “Okay, I’ll say it. After four kids and 25 years of marriage, it’s not easy to get in the mood for sex.  My husband would disagree.”

She continues:

Somewhere between the midnight feedings and work deadlines, the chasm grew between my husband’s needs and my desire. He once joked that he has the strength of 10,000 men after sex, and it seems to be true. So, like many a wife before me, I am not beneath doing it even when I don’t feel like it just so he’ll use some of that postcoital power to get the household chores done. (Unclogged drain joke, anyone?) There have been times I’ve even faked my own pleasure (oh, please, we’ve all done it) so I can just go to sleep already….

We are road-tested now, grayer, and more wrinkled. Marriages have seasons. And while there’s something sexy about conjuring up the old us, there’s a peace in accepting that we are past the “skyrockets in flight” period.

What do you think of the column? Is it TMI? Feel free to weigh in with comments.

Jim Sciutto On His Return to Reporting: ‘I Think I’m More Fearless, Because I Know More’

With foreign affairs continuing to dominate headlines in September, these are heady days for reporters who thrive on covering global policy matters. Count among them Jim Sciutto, who returned to TV news last week as CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent.

“Not a bad day to start, in the middle of a debate about military attacks on Syria,” Sciutto tells TVNewser, reflecting on his first day on air for his new employer.

Sciutto stepped away from television for nearly two years. In late 2011, he left longtime home ABC News to work abroad as chief of staff and senior adviser to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke.

Beijing was a good fit, Sciutto says, given his longtime fascination with the country. He majored in Chinese history at Yale, and is proficient in Mandarin.

The job was meaningful as well, he explains, because “I’d long had a dream of doing public service, and I’m glad I did it.”  The diplomatic role, he stresses, is distinct from having worked in a political position or having taken a lucrative government-related consulting gig.

Still, Sciutto’s journalism homecoming prompted a difference-of-opinion debate on Twitter just last night.

“Turns out, it was a waste of US taxpayer $$ to move @jimsciuttoCNN to China to work for Obama. He didn’t stay long & now ‘reports’ for CNN,” tweeted media critic and Fox News contributor Richard Grenell.

Sciutto responded with a tweet of his own, inviting Grenell to “watch my reporting” and that ”my record stands.”

In an interview earlier this week, Sciutto told TVNewser he wouldn’t think twice about tough coverage of the administration’s handling of foreign policy. “I think I’m more fearless because I know more. I got a real education in so many of the national security issues, and foreign policy issues. It makes your questions smarter, and your stories smarter.”

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Think TV Jobs are Tough? Former ABC’er Interviews the Men Who’ve Run the White House

It’s a rare look into how presidential administrations really work: this week, Discovery Channel is airing interviews conducted by longtime ABC Newser Chris Whipple, now an independent producer who sat down with all twenty living former White House Chiefs of Staff.

The Presidents’ Gatekeepers, a four-hour series, continues tonight at 9pET with its second installment, featuring Chiefs ranging from Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to Rahm Emanuel and Leon Panetta.

The official Gatekeepers party was held Tuesday in Washington, with five Chiefs in attendance: Jim Jones (Lyndon Johnson), Jack Watson (Jimmy Carter), and John Sununu (George H.W. Bush) – all pictured above — along with Ken Duberstein (Ronald Reagan) and Josh Bolten (George W. Bush).  Various other politicos and newsers also were there, including ABC’s Political Director Rick Klein.

Tuesday turned out to be a big night for television launch events in DC, with CNN also holding a bash to celebrate the new Crossfire.

Jim Sciutto Returning to TV News, Joining CNN

Jim Scuitto the former ABC News foreign correspondent who left the news business less than two years ago, is joining CNN, TVNewser has learned. An announcement on his role is to be announced later today from CNN’s Washington Bureau.

Sciutto departed ABC News in 2011 after 13 years with the network, spent mostly in international hotspots. He left the business altogether moving to Beijing where he was Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. Walking away from news “will be really difficult, even for a couple of years,” Sciutto told TVNewser in January 2012. “I love the business. It’s the only job I’ve done for nearly 20 years. I still consider it a mission.”

Sciutto has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia and defied government restrictions to report from Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Iran. In 2008 Sciutto wrote about the perception of America in the Middle East in his book “Against Us.”

Confirmed: Sciutto will be CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent. Press release after the jump…

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So You Think You Can Spell?

Lawmakers and reporters often spar, but now the two sides will square off in a whole different forum.

FNC’s Ed Henry, CBS’s Major Garrett, and MSNBC’s Howard Fineman are among the DC journos participating in The National Press Club’s Centennial Spelling Bee on September 18 in Washington.  Along with colleagues from Politico, The New York Times, and other outlets, the newsers will compete in a spelling smack down against a team of federal legislators, including Sen. Tim Kane (D-VA) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Held sporadically over the past decades, the spelling bee this year is a celebration of the 1913 NPC event, which also pitted members of Congress against the press, and featured President Woodrow Wilson in attendance.

Tickets are available online, with proceeds benefitting the organization’s nonprofit Journalism Institute, which trains communications professionals and provides educational scholarships.

In War Reporting Today ‘Journalists Have Become Targets’

In his new novel, Martin Fletcher addresses what he calls the “universal question: How do you get on with the rest of your life in the face of horrific tragedy?”

It’s a topic the former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief explored frequently during his nearly-four decade career with the network, reporting from the globe’s most dangerous hot spots, often meeting interviewees “on the worst day of their lives.”

Fletcher’s fourth book, and second novel, Jacob’s Oath, is due out this fall.  He says readers will “come away full of hope, and belief in the future.” It’s what has stayed with him after a lifetime of covering wars, famine, and other hardships.

Fletcher left full-time reporting nearly four years ago, staying with NBC on a freelance basis. These days he’s less focused on covering danger zones, feeling like he’s used up too many of his nine lives.  ”For how long can you be lucky?”

The Richard Engels of the world, he says, are facing a more complicated Middle East than ever before. ”So many things going on at the same time…it looks like we’re at the beginning of a very long road,” Fletcher says during a phone interview with TVNewser from Israel.

“It’s much more dangerous today than it used to be. And the reason is that journalists have become targets.”

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John Palmer Has Died

Longtime NBC News correspondent and anchor John Palmer has died at the age of 77 after a “short, sudden illness”, the network reported tonight.

Calling Palmer a “dear colleague and friend”, NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt described a journalist “many of you welcomed into your living rooms for a good many years…’Been there, done that’ only begins to describe John’s career. There was no one better in the trenches, and as a colleague, no one more liked.”

A Tennessee native, Palmer long served as a foreign correspondent for NBC News before moving over to the White House beat in 1979.  He went on to cover five presidents.  In 1982 he joined the Today show, where for seven years he was news anchor alongside hosts Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel.

The veteran newsman left NBC News in 1990, rejoining the division four years later. In a 2008 interview, Palmer shared with TVNewser that it was Tim Russert who gave him that second chance.

Palmer met his wife Nancy at NBC News, and currently two of his daughters are division journalists.  One of them, Today producer Molly Palmer Cowan, married CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan last year. At the time of their engagement, a delighted Palmer told TVNewser that he and Nancy were “not losing a daughter, just adding another journalist to the family, and a fine one he is!”

Update: The AP is reporting the cause of death as pulmonary fibrosis.

Full statement and bio from NBC News, after the jump… Read more

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