THE 40th anniversary of the Watergate investigation – by two journalists whose work helped lead to the resignation of US president, Richard Nixon – is being marked by a radio documentary being broadcast tomorrow, made by Scots journalist, Eamonn O’Neill.
The one-hour documentary by O’Neill – who also runs an MSc degree in investigative journalism at Strathclyde University – includes interviews with one of the two Watergate journalists, Bob Woodward, plus his then editor, Ben Bradlee. Other interviewees include Len Downie, John Pilger, Heather Brooke, and – says O’Neill – “the man I regard as the greatest UK investigative journalist of his generation, The Guardian’s Nick Davies”.
It’s being broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
O’Neill told allmediascotland.com: “I still can’t quite believe we got all these guys to participate and that we seem to have pulled it off. They have some amazing revelations and Pilger and Davies, in particular, are very powerful. Len Downie is also extraordinary, taking us right back to the inside meetings on the newsroom floor of the Washington Post during the red-hot days of the story and even during the filming of the movie of the book.
“Interviewing Bob Woodward was a bit like speaking to God. He didn’t disappoint and has some hard-hitting things to say about the present Obama administration too. We even got Scott Armstrong, normally very reserved, who served on the Senate Watergate Committees and actually interviewed ‘All the President’s Men’, John Erlichman and Bob Haldeman, and was the first person to learn from Alexander Butterfield that Nixon had a secret taping system.”
O’Neill – who has been in the news recently himself, his family and he having to move out of their home because of fears for their safety – added: “It’s genuine ‘historical gold’ to hear him recount the details of what it was like to be in the room when that moment happened. By the end of it all, I felt that short of getting a Ouiji board and interviewing Nixon himself; we couldn’t have assembled a more stellar cast list. I hope listeners enjoy hearing it as much as myself and the team enjoyed making it.”
A book is to follow. The documentary can be heard tomorrow at 2000.
And the O’Neill family are safely back home.