Nightly News   |  May 23, 2011

‘Doesn’t seem like anything worse can happen’

May 23: Jeff Lehr, a veteran crime reporter for the Joplin Globe, speaks with NBC’s Brian Williams about the impact of the tornado and the added menace of continued stormy weather.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Joplin, Missouri): We're back, and if you live here in Joplin , Missouri -- as, again, I did years ago -- your local paper every morning is the Joplin Globe . And these days it's really a collection of co-workers and friends, all of whom are working through the losses they've suffered to put out a newspaper, to keep the Web site current. Among them Jeff Lehr . He's a veteran crime reporter with the Joplin Globe who wrote so movingly about your own loss. I read your piece. You're in a closet with sports equipment. Suddenly the -- what you feel is rain coming in, everything is gone. How is your newsroom doing, and how is my old stomping grounds doing?

Mr. JEFF LEHR (The Joplin Globe): Well, the newsroom is, on the one hand, devastated. We had seven or eight employees of the newsroom who have lost their home or lost most of their home and many of their possession and -- but we on the other hand are very grateful because there was a period yesterday when, after this storm had hit, for about a five, six-hour period where there were -- there was a question whether two of our employees -- newsroom employees had even managed to survive. And, yeah, we got good word late last night on both of those. And that's what's important. And, I mean, you can always get things and homes back.

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Mr. LEHR: But you can't get a life back and...

WILLIAMS: What have you been told about shock, and what have you been told is going to be the affect of the fact that we're looking at these very dark thunder clouds? I'm seeing lightning over your shoulder while we're talking.

Mr. LEHR: I know.

WILLIAMS: This can't help.

Mr. LEHR: No, it can't. And, I mean -- and it remains a concern for all of us here. And certainly this morning's scare when another supercell moved through, I think everybody was expecting the worst. But lucky -- luckily, that didn't happen. And hopefully nothing more will happen here, but...

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Mr. LEHR: Yeah, I mean, I -- it doesn't seem like anything worse can happen.

WILLIAMS: I know. I understand it. Our hearts go out to you. Thank you.

Mr. LEHR: Thank you, Brian .

WILLIAMS: Continue your good work at the -- at the job at the Globe . Jeff Lehr 's been kind enough to join us tonight. We'll take another break, back with some of today's other news right after this.