Lynn Sherr spent more than 30 years with ABC News, reporting on everything from national political campaigns to social issues. But it was her time covering the space program that provided the grist for her latest book, a biography, “Sally Ride: America’s First Women in Space.”
Following a career in print journalism, primarily at The Associated Press and then a career in local broadcast TV in New York. Sherr, 72, was one of the first hires when the iconic Roone Arledge, famously of ABC Sports, took over and revolutionized the news division. She was at ABC from 1977 to 2008.
At a time when the already few women in network news were generally not assigned a science beat, Sherr was assigned to the shuttle program in 1981 and met Sally Ride shortly thereafter.
In many ways, Sherr was as much a pioneer as Ride. In her 2006 memoir, “Outside the Box,” she wrote about being asked in 1980 by one of her ABC bosses to address the Radio-Television News Directors Association, which had specifically requested a woman. This upset her because they had not requested her but just a woman, as though women were all interchangeable. Sherr went on to deliver a blistering speech.
Recently she spoke to the Forward’s Curt Schleier about that assignment, her best story ever and her basketball playing dad, a 6-foot Jew who jumped center.
Curt Schleier: Do you think you got the job because the ABC powers-that-be felt you’d be able to relate to Sally Ride?
Lynn Sherr: I don’t know. I actually asked the guy who assigned me why I got that wonderful assignment. He said it was because he liked the way I explained things. I was a good explainer.