Jack W. Germond, BJ ’51, a columnist and pundit who covered 10 presidential elections and sparred with colleagues on TV’s “The McLaughlin Group,” died Aug. 14. He had recently finished his first novel, “A Small Story for Page Three,” about a reporter investigating political intrigue. Professor Barbara Cochran shared the following: He was my boss and mentor at the Washington Star. His love of politics and reporting were infectious and inspiring. He believed the only way to cover politics was to get out into the country and meet the candidates, county chairmen and voters who made the political system work.
Early in the ’76 election cycle, he came back from a road trip with Jimmy Carter and called me into his office. “Listen,” he said, “I think this guy could go all the way.” There were more than a half-dozen contenders for the Democratic nomination that year, but Jack was among the first and, for many months, the few to think that the peanut farmer from Georgia could make it to the White House.
Jack joined the Star as the Watergate scandal was unfolding and anticipated it would have a big impact on the 1974 congressional races. He conceived of a series in which we would follow the re-election races of three Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, which would vote on Nixon’s impeachment. Through that series, the Star not only anticipated how the vote would go on Nixon but also the sweep Democrats would make of congressional seats that fall.
Jack’s energy was prodigious. I will never forget the late nights in our temporary newsroom at the political conventions, watching him type the lead story and maybe a sidebar or two before wrapping up in the wee hours of the morning. Having churned out pages of copy, he would invariably look up and say, “Hey, kid, want to get a drink?” Those after-hours conversations were better than any class in political science.
Updated: August 14, 2013