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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

‘Tini’s in Terror Town

New York is a famously social place and this has been a social week of drinks, including once in Hell. Not that place of fable and fear from my Catholic childhood but a tony, red themed cocktail bar down in the Meatpacking District. [It did give me an odd thrill to say: I’m off for a date in Hell.]

Over drinks the theme has been: how are we coping with our collective sense of impending doom?

Depending on how deeply you want to delve into it there is a little bit of the sense of what it must be like to have lived in London before the Blitz.

The town is full of stories of well to do individuals who are shipping children and nannies to their country homes until the sense of danger is over. New York is being deserted at a pace not seen since post 9/11.

But the vast majority of people I have visited with are determined to tough it out and stay put. New Yorkers are becoming a bit like those stiff upper lipped Brits of the 1940’s: no, Mr. Hitler, you are not going to scare us to death.

The city is undeniably tense. A truck backfired outside of Penn Station earlier this week and, for a nano-second, the world stood still as the crowd determined the source of the noise.

We make terror jokes as we pass the police searching the limos sitting outside the buildings in lower Manhattan. Gallows’ humor is what is left to us in our day to day life.

People everywhere are bracing themselves, buffing up their preparedness kits and making sure they have walking shoes and some extra cash stashed so they can so make their getaway if they have to.

It’s wearing on us all and occasionally someone will snap, as one did at a dinner recently, a sudden burst of tears, a brutal internal storm of fear that came and passed, but sharply revealing the stress that exists in all of us when we stop to think about where we live.

It’s going to get worse with the Republicans about to descend on us. Citizens are asking: who ever thought this was a good idea? But it was a decision that was greeted with gratitude when it was made. New York, at the time, did not expect to be a constant target.

I guarantee the consumption of alcohol and tranquilizers is going to be going up steadily until the Grand Old Party finishes its party, clears out of town and there is one final sweep of Penn Station.

A Shameless Pitch:
This week I went to a screening of an episode of a series, OFF TO WAR, I am helping produce for Discovery Times.

Executive Produced by Jon Alpert, shot and produced by Craig and Brent Renaud, it is an extraordinary piece of work. A condensed version of Episodes 1, 2 and 3 will air on Discovery Channel in the Spotlight slot on August 25th. Please watch.

Craig Renaud

Craig and Brent are extraordinary young men, humble and quiet while producing extraordinary programming, under the umbrella of DCTV and Jon Alpert’s direction, all of which represents the things I love most about television. Intelligent, sensitive stories well told by real people. Kudos to them! I am very proud to be associated with the project, probably more than anything I have done in twenty years.

The danger journalists put themselves into was punctuated for me by a conference call with another DCTV producer, Matt O’Neill, who was following a story in Venezuela but was on a conference call with me about yet another project while standing in the Presidential Palace in Caracas. Our call was interrupted by the sound of random gunfire in the background.

Brent Renaud

Craig and Brent Renaud will soon be heading back to Iraq. Matt will be back in a week or so from Venezuela and will shortly be off to Kazakhstan. The three of them, along with Jon, remind me of all the things I admire about us as humans and our collective ability to do good and be creative.