While WPRB had coverage at Jadwin, we also had newsmen providing Washington, D.C., coverage on the streets and in the teargas and makeshift jails. These are my recollections published in WPRB's 50th birthday book in 1990:
"In 1970 as a member of WPRB, I did not yet have the official color photograph State of New Jersey press pass approved by the South Jersey Police Chiefs Association which I obtained in 1972 as a more senior member of the station. For this reason, when I went as one of three newsmen to cover the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice May Day demonstrations, I had only the standard orange WPRB ID card. We arrived by bus in Washington, D.C., and had been walking down the street no more than five minutes when a police patrol stopped us and placed us under arrest for blockading the Arlington Street bridge. We objected, pointing out that the bus tickets which we still held in our hands proved that we had not been in town long enough to have been involved in any such illegal activities, and that furthermore we were members of the press. The office only responded that he was sure that if we hadn't blockaded the bridge, we probably wished we had, and were under arrest anyhow. Our explanations seemed to fall on deaf ears, and my colleagues' official press passes with their fine print were equally useless. I, however, showed my bright orange and black unofficial WPRB ID card. The large block letters WPRB Radio served their purpose well, and I was released while the others went off to jail! For the next couple of days, I called in reports by phone to the station, postponed my history term paper, dodged tear gas attacks, watched military helicopters land at the Washington Monument, and asked the station to locate the others and arrange legal representation. Eventually the demonstrations ended, the others were released on bail, and we all returned to Princeton. A few weeks later we all returned to Washington DC for the trial/hearing. We went down early and met at the Lafayette Square offices of a law firm with a Princeton connection to review the facts of the case and prepare the defense. Naturally, the attorney was astounded to hear the story, although the news reports that Richard Nixon had demanded that Attorney General Mitchell prosecute all of the demonstrators did explain how it was that some 17,000 arrests had been made and that students were now returning from all over the country to defend their names for $50 or so bail money. We went to the hearing, and some 300 other demonstrators were there. The young judge called up the first defendant and then called out for the arresting officer - "John Lyons." The prosecutor responded that the officer was not present. When the judge demanded to know why, since the defendant had come all the way from Minnesota to defend his name, the prosecutor explained that there had been so many arrests that day that they had lost track of the arrests and a fictitious name had been used for the arresting officer. The judge, naturally, was furious and dismissed the case. This process continued for each of the defendants, and late that day we returned home."
Frank King '71 Says:
The voice on this WPRB report is that of Barry Ahrendt, who was WPRB's news director at the time. Not certain who "George" was, but I'm sure Barry would remember. Thanks so much for posting this; really took me back to that emotional time.
Frank King (WPRB Station Mgr. '70-71)
Dan Linke, University Archivist Says:
For more information on this recording, see the Reel Mudd blog at: http://blogs.princeton.edu/mt/mt-ftsearch.cgi?search=jadwin&IncludeBlogs=291&limit=20