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Monday, August 24, 2009

Bernadette Malone: Remembering political junkie Bob Novak

Former Union Leader editorial page writer Bernadette Malone remembers a reporter who happened to publish on the editorial pages.

Even in my 20s, I didn't have the stamina to follow Bob Novak around. He read every national newspaper by 8 a.m. -- in the days before the Internet! He would have breakfast at the Army-Navy Club in downtown Washington with a source. By 9:30 a.m., he would be at his Pennsylvania Avenue office, making phone calls to nail down his story. For lunch, another source, another meal at the Army-Navy Club . . . or maybe on Capitol Hill.

His staff would hear typing all afternoon from behind his closed door -- and then, without warning -- the sound of the printer! The column was finished! He would race out the door by 6 p.m., jump in his black convertible Corvette, and -- during the years I worked for him -- speed off to CNN to appear on Inside Politics, or Crossfire, or Evans & Novak or The Capital Gang. He'd perhaps pick up a new story idea in the makeup room from one of his high-powered television guests. And the cycle would begin again.

He once told me that he and his late partner, Rowland Evans Jr., endeavored to give their readers five new bits of information in every column. As someone who has tried column writing on this very page, I can tell you it's difficult to give readers even one fact they haven't already learned in the paper's news section.

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