Bob Flick, a producer and writer at KNXT during The Big News era at KNXT Channel 2 in Los Angeles, died on December 31, according to his friend and former colleague Joe Saltzman on Facebook. Flick moved to NBC in the 1970s and was the producer when NBC correspondent Don Harris and cameraman Bob Brown, and San Francisco Examiner photographer Greg Robinson, were murdered covering congressman Leo Ryan's visit to the People's Temple compound called Jonestown in Guyana in November 1978. Flick survived the attack at an airfield at Port Kaituma, Guyana in which Ryan became the first U.S. congressman killed in action. His aide Jackie Speier, now in Congress herself, was wounded. NBC sound man Steve Sung and SF Examiner reporter Tim Reiterman were also wounded.
Later that day, 909 People Temple members and leader Jim Jones died at Jonestown, most after taking or being given cyanide poison.
Shortly after the Jonestown experience, Flick became head writer for a new kind of news program being launched in Los Angeles by Paramount: "Entertainment Tonight." Flick also had worked as a reporter for United Press International and City News Service.
"One of the best news producers-writers I have ever known," Saltzman wrote on Facebook. "Watching him produce a news show was an education....About a decade ago he showed me a book he had written on his life and times in TV news. It was hilarious and an important addition to the small shelf of books about early television in Los Angeles. But he never pursued a publisher. I hope a copy is still in existence."
* Update: Flick began as a beat reporter with City News Service in 1958, per Pete Noyes, the retired former KNXT and KNBC producer.
Also: Bob Eaton, the news director at KNBC Channel 4 from 1974-77, emails that Flick was the San Francisco reporter for KNBC at the time, and when the bureau was closed he moved to NBC network as a field producer in San Francisco. "That was how he wound up with the Jonestown assignment," Eaton writes. "He was a superb writer, a fine reporter and a good person."
This too: A lot of media coverage is just picking up what Saltzman or I posted, but Flick's widow corrects this fact. He did not work at Associated Press, but he did work at UPI in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas bureaus, and for City News Service here in Los Angeles. This from former NBC colleague Warren Cereghino.