Interviewee: Larry Hatteberg
IWY TX 216
Interviewer: June Hahner
Date: November 18-21, 1977
Larry Hatteberg was a journalist with KAKE out of Wichita, Kansas. Hatteberg attended the National Women’s Conference to cover the Kansas state delegation and add a local focus to complement the national news outlets’ stories. Interview includes Hatteberg’s impressions of the conference; he noted that the press did not seem to have as many issues with lodging and logistics as the delegates themselves experienced. Hatteberg said that although the conference may seem chaotic, it was functioning relatively well for a conference of its size. In terms of the outcome of the convention, Hatteberg was hesitant to say that there would be significant change.
June Hahner: I should know more about the machines than I do.
Larry Hatteberg: It’s alright.
JH: I should get your proper name.
LH: Larry, L-A-R-R-Y.
LH: Hatteberg, H-A-T-T-E-B-E-R-G.
JH: And you said you’re from Kansas?
JH: And, I was looking at your creation for your camera…
LH: I’m with KAKE Television.
JH: I’m not up on Kansas television, I apologize.
LH: That’s alright. (Laughter)
JH: I have no idea if that’s a national affiliate or…
LH: It’s an ABC affiliate.
JH: ABC affiliate. So, are you here for the whole meeting?
LH: We’re here for the whole meeting. A reporter and I flew down and we’re covering our state delegation.
LH: Because there aren’t very many other ways that…The national media tend to cover the convention as a whole, but state people, sort of, get out nationally so that’s why we’re here, is to localize the coverage.
JH: There seem to be a lot of media people around. I’ve heard there are, I don’t know, about a thousand or so. I don’t know if that’s accurate.
LH: There probably are about a thousand broadcast and print media people from here.
JH: Are they mostly, do you think, national or more likely from local offices?
LH: I think they’re basically from out of town, out of state. It just takes a lot of people any more to cover an event like this because of all the different organizations. And since the women’s year has caused so much excitement, I guess you might say, among everybody that it’s become a very important issue at home. So, all of the broadcast and print people are really wanting to cover it properly like it should be. That’s why we’re here.
JH: Did you arrive yesterday like everyone else?
LH: Yes, yes.
JH: Also circling the field waiting to land?
LH: Right, it did the whole thing. But we didn’t have much of a problem once we got down. We did two films yesterday, the first day and send them back. And really had no problems, no big problems like the delegates have had. Like, they didn’t get their hotel rooms.
LH: A lot of them didn’t get their hotel rooms and it was some problems.
JH: Because I have not been looking at how the convention has been running so I…
LH: Apparently, it’s been running pretty smoothly today there were just some problems with some of the hotels because they had such an influx of women that they just couldn’t…it was difficult to deal with. All the women came in about one time, you know, they just weren’t prepared for it.
JH: Well, I assume you’ve covered a lot of conventions and meetings. How would you compare this to some of the others?
LH: For a convention of this size, it’s probably average. Average. Everything is going about as well as it could when you get so many different people from all across the nation with so many diverse opinions, that it’s probably going just as well as it could go.
JH: Mmhm. Well you have the experience with the meetings that obviously I don’t have. I’m a historian.
LH: It’s, on the surface, it looks chaotic but there is a fairly decent organization going here that’s organized it and they tend it have it pretty well in hand now. It’s become difficult for the print and journalism media to cover it though, because we can’t get down to the delegates.
LH: Our passes are only good for thirty minutes.
JH: Thirty minutes? That’s not much.
LH: Thirty minutes then we have to give it up and you can’t do much in depth in thirty minutes.
LH: So that’s been a problem for us.
JH: Well, how are you trying to cover it then?
LH: Well, we’re trying to meet the delegates at breaks, off the floor. You know, to get the interviews that way so we don’t have the problem of getting on the floor. So that’s what we’re doing.
JH: And are you just interviewing people from your own state?
LH: Yes, yes. We’re just covering the state delegation, that’s all our responsibility goes for at this time.
JH: How big is the state delegation?
LH: Twenty-five, I think. About twenty-five women.
JH: Are you also interviewing people from the state who are not here with the delegation?
LH: Yes, yes. People, little features of people who are maybe down here as observers or husbands of some delegate or wives of some delegate, you know, just whatever the situation is. And just trying to show the folks at home what’s happening and who’s here and what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
JH: Yeah, how does one go about it? How do you decide what to look for, persons to ask?
LH: Well, you have to take, I guess, a narrow view because your television time, your finished product is roughly two minutes.
JH: I see.
LH: And so you have to narrow your focus to a couple of the main issues at the convention and you ask questions just based on those issues. And you, ah, it just requires a very narrow focus. Unfortunately, television is like that but that’s why we have newspapers to go into it more in depth.
JH: I wonder how do you compare the journalistic coverage of newspapers to the television?
LH: Well, the television coverage is mainly to show people, give people a feeling of what it was like to be there. It’s the role of the print media to go into great depth and detail about every little thing that went on.
JH: Mmhm. Now, how do the television studios decide whom to send down?
LH: Oh, they tend to send down experienced people because you don’t want to send down novices because a convention of this size has so many problems you have to face anyway, you don’t want to have somebody who hasn’t faced these types of problems before. So they tend to send down their experienced people who maybe have covered the state conventions and are familiar with the issues and know what’s happening.
JH: Did you cover the state convention in Kansas?
LH: Yes, yes.
JH: How would you compare it to this?
LH: This one’s organized.
JH: The state wasn’t? I was in New York state at the time, the New York state one but I didn’t know about, ah,…
LH: Yeah. (Tape cuts out at briefly at 5:39) Ah, at the state level, the hotel and the convention people were not prepared for the influx of people they had at the state convention. The registration went poorly. It caused short tempers, it caused bad feelings and any time you get a convention off the top with bad feelings, it sort of just degenerates from there.
JH: Yes, I’ve seen that.
LH: And, that’s what happened locally. However, that does not seem to be the case here. There have been snafus. There’ll always be snafus as long as people are involved but things are better organized here, I’d say.
JH: May I ask you a question, how you personally feel about this? The whole meeting and what’s going on?
LH: I personally feel that it’s unfortunate that they had to have a convention to have…in order to get rights they should have had a long time ago. Can you hold it just a second?
JH: Oh, sure. (Recording cuts out at 6:38)
LH: (speaking to someone outside the interview and returns at 6:43) Ah, let’s see. What did I say? I think I said that I was, it’s too bad that you have to spend five million dollars to have a convention like this for something that should have already been taken care of. Much of it is the fault of the women. They’re not exerting themselves. Much of it, probably over half of it, is the part of the men for putting pressure on women not to exert themselves. But at least the convention has been had and perhaps the delegates’ voices will be heard in Washington. But I just feel that it’s too bad that you have to have legislation for human rights.
JH: You think much will come out of the convention?
LH: I don’t know, I don’t know. I would hope so. I would not be surprised if not much happened, though.
JH: But you’ve covered a lot of meetings like this, I assume?
LH: Talk is cheap. Talk is cheap, but action takes a lot more doing. It’s real nice to have all the conventions and all of the meetings and send out all these fine things that we’re going to recommend people do, but until people do them, what good is it?
JH: Mmhm. Well, personally, are you glad you came down?
LH: Oh yeah, I’ve enjoyed it. I was not looking forward to it when I came down.
LH: Because covering one of these is a hassle. It’s eighteen-hour to twenty-hour days.
JH: I know.
LH: It’s pushing and shoving. It’s little food and no sleep and physically exhausting time. And I was basing some preconceptions on how this would be on how the local was.
JH: I see.
LH: And, fortunately, it hasn’t been that way.
JH: So, you’re glad you have come down?
LH: I’m glad.
JH: I was interested in your views.
JH: How you feel about these things.
JH: I guess you’re more interested in having people who have responded to your questions than people like me asking you something.
JH: So, I think a turn-about is fair play.
End of interview