By Diane Bell
When PSA flight 182 crashed in North Park on Sept. 25, 1978, Phyllis Schwartz was a tenderfoot newscast producer at KFMB-TV Channel 8 faced with gathering the heartbreaking facts and updates at breakneck speed for news reports.
Early one morning six months later, she was the only staffer in the newsroom during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania. Adrenalin pumping, she alerted her news director at home and contacted the network to gather information for delivery on Sun Up San Diego.
Schwartz went on to a long, successful career in TV news and management in Chicago and San Diego, including operating KNSD-TV Channel 7/39 as president and general manager from 2000 to 2007.
Skip forward to Sept. 25, 2022. Schwartz will be doing something far calmer on the 44th anniversary of the PSA collision and crash that claimed 144 lives.
She will be autographing her first children’s book at Warwick’s in La Jolla. And, while this seems far afield from the breaking news that was the lifeblood of her former career, it is impactful in a different way.
This book, “When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!” also grew out of tragedy, but of a more personal nature.
Schwartz was diagnosed with cancer — not once, but three times over several years.