Page 39 - The Hunt - Summer 2019
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                 several years later, Janny never did. She attended Harvard University, reveling
in the co-educational environment. “I had a very good time at Harvard,” she recalls today. “Aside from the stimulating intellectual environment, it was nice to be with men.”
A friend urged Janny to write for Harvard’s school newspaper, The Crimson. “My first reporting gig became my career,” says Janny, who kept a diary as a little girl, penning “goofy little poems.”
Working at The Crimson was a turning point. “I met lots of intellectuals, some with radical politics,” she says. “It was a whole different crowd, and that became my life.”
After Harvard, Janny paid her dues at a number of weekly newspapers and
The Record of Bergen County, N.J., before landing a plum gig working for the San Diego edition of the Los Angeles Times.
It’s where she met her first husband,
Bill Ritter, who later became co-anchor of Good Morning America Sunday and a correspondent for 20/20 before landing his current role as evening news co-anchor for WABC-TV, the network’s flagship station in New York. “He was a surfer—a real Southern California guy,” says Janny of Ritter. “That was a new experience, but I loved everything about it.” Ritter
is also Jewish. If the Montgomery Scotts disapproved of his lineage, they didn’t
say so. “My parents were proud of me
for doing work that was interesting and supporting myself,” she says. “They knew I was happy.”
Soon enough, Janny moved to the paper’s main offices, where she covered medicine and politics in L.A. In 1992, when the city erupted in violence sparked by the acquittal of police officers involved in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, Janny wrote about the riots and their aftermath. Soon after, she and Ritter relocated to Manhattan, and Janny defected to the New York Times, juggling her reporting job and being a mother to two young children.
Six years later, Janny was at her home on the Upper West Side when the first airplane hit the World Trade Center. By
the time the second plane hit, she was on her way to the office. “Within an hour and a half of the second plane hitting, my editors assigned me to do a piece on the victims,” Janny remembers. “At the time, all we knew was that it was an accident with mass casualties. But of course, it wasn’t a normal accident.”
Janny hit the streets of Manhattan to find stories that would illustrate the scope
and surreality of the attacks. On Sept. 12, she and a colleague went to one of the city’s biggest hospitals to seek details on victims. “That was the day we became aware of the flyers,” Janny says.
In what quickly became a grim phenomenon throughout Manhattan, people desperate for information began distributing flyers with pictures of their missing loved ones. Calling the
 “My parents were proud of me for doing work that was interesting and supporting myself. They knew I was happy.”
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