As we turn our attention from beaches to television with the new fall season, there’s one reporter who’s quietly become a must-read for local network gossip. Her name: Laura Nachman. Her newspaper: the Bucks County Courier Times. And if you sue your station or threaten to defenestrate an anchor, she’ll be there—even though she’s never even been to her own newsroom. “I have no clue where the office is,” she says.
Getting hired six years ago without even meeting her bosses in person (which she still hasn’t to this day) is just one of the quirky details that make Nachman so refreshing, and her columns, as NBC 10’s Vai Sikahema has called them, “watercooler stories.”
A married 41-year-old mother of two and an obsessive fan of The Brady Bunch, Nachman digs up her dirt from home. In the six years her “Channel Surfing” column has run in the Courier Times, she’s kept pace with the big boys at the Inquirer and Daily News on juicy stories like former Fox anchor Rich Noonan’s reverse-discrimination lawsuit against his station, or more recently, NBC 10’s Vince DeMentri’s confrontation with reputed tough guy Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz. “I grew up on Gail Shister,” Nachman says of the longtime Inquirer scribe who stopped focusing on local newsies years ago. “I think I picked up the mantle from her.”
Nachman has heard from a few unhappy targets of her columns, including one anchor who took exception to a Nach attack. “She wrote me a blistering e-mail 10 minutes before her newscast and called me later,” Nachman says. “It’s like, I’m glad you’re busy.” Getting chewed out by the talent does expose Nachman to the often maniacal egos of the biz, but it also means they’re paying attention. “She knows more about TV than anybody around,” says an insider at one station. “She breaks stories. It probably doesn’t get as much attention because she works for a suburban newspaper.”