My brief mention of the late Boston Globe columnist David Nyhan prompts this wonderful reminiscence by Elliot Luber, who writes to Media Nation about watching Nyhan in action while he was a Northeastern co-op student.
The occasion was the 1978 night that Ed King stunned the political world by defeating incumbent Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primary for governor.
Meeting Nyhan was probably the highlight of my co-op experience — not that I didn’t learn more from Paul Hirschorn, John Burke and Andy Gully (back at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune), but Nyhan was the ultimate role model.
He was the tall young handsome journalist married to a model, and he called things as he saw them with not the slightest fear of how it might wrinkle [Globe editor Tom] Winship. I remember the night of Ed King’s victory over Dukakis — how it caught them so far by surpirse that they couldn’t make heads or tails of the numbers.
Winship had all the top editors huddled around an Atex where they were trying to figure out their lead story, and no one could, so Winship called for Nyhan to “get over here.” Nyhan, of course, was already out the door on the top floor of the parking lot, where they had quarantined the alcohol until after deadline.
He came sauntering across the city room with the loud false floor above the Atex wiring booming, then sat down in front of the terminal, and put his beer down beside it. I remember telling Bart Ziegler: “He’s so damned cool! Here it is, the shit’s hitting the fan, and he’s so calm about it that he’s drinking in front of Winship.”
When I read in his obituary that he had won the Harvard-Yale game for Harvard by recovering a fumble in the end zone I was amused, but not surprised. I’d seen him do that for Winship.
Luber now lives in New York, where he works for IBM.