A Journal of information about Villanova University for alumni, family, and friends
Our Man In D.C.
Larry O'Rourke is a very down to earth man living and working in
Washington, D.C. He is an anachronism in a city where the truth can sometimes
be as elusive as a dream. A youthful, unassuming man, he is committed to the
task of searching out the facts and making them public.
He might sound a little bit like a comic book superhero, but he is a very
serious journalist with a firm grasp on reality and a strong belief in a free press.
A member of Villanova’s Class of 1959, Lawrence M. O’Rourke is the
Washington Bureau Chief and White House correspondent for the Philadelphia
Evening and Sunday Bulletin.
If this prestigious position brings to mind an image of plush, panelled offices,
meetings with the President at the White House, and long lunches in riverside
restaurants, forget it.
In O’Rourke’s world it’s more like
sixteen hour days in shirtsleeves,
frequent trips away from home, sharing
a sandwich with a typewriter, and
loving every minute of it.
Somehow, in the midst of all of this,
he found the time to go to Georgetown
University and become a lawyer.
A knowledge and respect for the law
and dedication to journalism are in-
tertwined within O'Rourke.
He feels that the study of law has
made him “more critical, broadened
his mind, and heightened his in-
tellectual processes.” It wasn’t done
because he is a political reporter.
“No reporter can ever be the
specialist in anything that his source is.
COURTESY OF THE EVENING & SUNDAY BULLETIN
LAWRENCE M. O'ROURKE ‘59
I think Francis Bacon was the last
complete man. You can’t know
everything. You interview an engineer
one day, a lawyer the next day, and a
doctor the next. If you knew as much
about their field as they did, you might
as well be doing that for a living.
“So what you do is ask questions,
sometimes damn fool questions, but
you're entitled to, because you're the
representative of the public trying to
find out what people do.
“One of the great things about being
a reporter or journalist is the many dif-
ferent types of people you meet, and
the different experiences.”
O'Rourke went to the People’s
Republic of China with former
President Nixon in 1972. Before the
trip he knew almost nothing about the
Asian nation, but he spent the six
weeks prior to leaving for the assign-
ment studying all he could.
He read books and_ interviewed
people. Going from university to
university, he asked professors with
knowledge in the field to share what
they could with him.
Confident that he had as good a
grasp of the problems and issues of
contemporary China as someone who
majored in it at the college level,
O'Rourke unhesitatingly got on the
O'Rourke and his fellow White
House correspondents generally follow
the President wherever he goes, with
the newspapers picking up the check.
A charter agent at the White House
arranges for a private plane to ac-
company Air Force One, and the
reporters book a seat through him. It
becomes quite an expensive
proposition for the newspaper — in the
last year O'Rourke has been to Europe,
the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and
Most of the time, however, the trips
usually consist of three states in as
many hours and then home in time for
O’Rourke says that he prefers being
Smiles for Villanova...
President Gerald R. Ford displays Villanova football jersey presented him by
Villanova students Mike Tucker (left) and Neil Osten during October visit to
Philadelphia. Students are members of university Republicans Club invited to at-
tend a reception for the President during his visit. Number 76 signifies students’
hope that the President will run in 1976 and be reelected.
out in the field reporting to staying in
at the typewriter. “But sometimes,
when I feel very much in control of a
story, when I think I reported it as
much as it could be reported, it’s great
fun to sit at the typewriter and really
shape it all. You know that the clay is
all there, it’s just waiting to be molded
into the statue.”
“It gets really frustrating when you
have a deadline to meet and you come
down to it missing some parts of your
story. You have no choice — you have
to go with it. These are the hard
moments. The people are waiting for
the story and you have the obligation
to let the public know that you don’t
have all the facts.”
Covering the White House is a very
satisfying assignment for O’Rourke.
Over the years, he’s found himself get-
ting more and more proficient on the
powers of the presidency, and
familiarity helps develop contacts and
“It's a good place to see what’s
swirling. They have a good intelligence
system. They know what's going on at
Capitol Hill and everywhere else in the
Sources are cultivated everywhere.
Someone who has only minor duties
today may become very important
years from now. You inherit contacts
with the job and you make new ones.
You call people and you interview
them. “But,” O’Rourke believes, “you
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