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Pachetti: a newsman with higher calling.

Pachetti: A Newsman with Higher Calling

In 1960, when Renato Matteo Pachetti first came to New York as a 35-year-old United Nations TV news correspondent for RAI, television in Italy was six years old.

At that time, live TV news feeds of the historic U.N. events were transmitted via transoceanic cable.

The Italian public was barely able to distinguish between newscasts and newsreels, since the former was only received by some two million TV households on one channel. Pachetti's assignment at the U.N. was concluded in 1962, when he returned to Italy. Pachetti began carving a place in the history books of international television in 1970, when he came back to America as executive vp of RAI Corp.

Ten years later, in 1980, Pachetti was appointed president of RAI Corp. Today, he oversees a structure that includes offices in Los Angeles, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Canada, in addition to the New York headquarters, where over 100 people are employed.

Pachetti was born on August 26th, 1925, in Massa Carrara, near Florence, where he conducted some of his studies and still has a summer house. In 1943, he went into hiding to escape the Fascist army, remaining in seclusion until the arrival of the American liberation forces.

Pachetti's journalistic career with RAI began in 1954, as a free-lance science reporter, since he held a pharmaceutical chemist's degree from the University of Modena.

Between 1962 and 1970, Pachetti first became a TV special foreign correspondent, and was later appointed chief foreign news editor. During that period, he visited the U.S. four or five times a year, managing to get married to a New York classical musician in 1965. Today, Pachetti and his wife, Diane F. Finney, have three sons: Alexander, 25; Nicholas, 22; and Edward, 21; the family resides in New York City.

In 1965, while in Rome, he became a co-producer of Direct Line, a weekly "round table," with RAI's world correspondents. It was Italy's first TV use of satellite technology. At that time, he was also contributing on-camera news reports to Granada TV in the U.K.

In 1966, he spent several months in India. Two years later, Pachetti was entrusted with the administration of some $8 million worth of goods to the famine-stricken people of India.

Also, from 1968 until the time he moved back to the U.S., Pachetti got some experience at the corporate level as an advisor to the RAI president, and directed training courses for radio and TV newscasters.

Pachetti's earlier contacts with Ralph Baruch, (they met in Rome in 1959) then an executive with CBS, got him fully involved with the International Council (an offshoot of NATAS, which Baruch co-founded in 1967 with the late Ted Cott of NBC). The year was 1972. By 1975, Pachetti was nominated chairman of the Council, a title he still holds. His ties with the news arena were virtually cut in 1974, with the expiration of his two-year term presidency of the U.S. Foreign Press Association.

What were Pachetti's most memorable moments of his news career? "The time I was interviewing Khrushchev, President Kennedy and Fidel Castro. I remember when Castro had to sleep at the U.N. because he couldn't get a hotel room in New York," he said.

What about the best moment at RAI Corp.? "When regularly-scheduled Italian TV programming began nationwide in 1985."

Others like to remember when in 1973, Pachetti, wishing to showcase his native country, personally supervised every detail for the first International Council's off-shore meeting in Italy. It had all the promise of being a memorable visit for the participating level American TV executives -- with a Papal visit, museum-hopping and countryside tour of Tuscany -- except that, while they were in Italy, almost everyone went on strike. Pachetti managed to convince a restaurant to open, and the hotel manager to make up the rooms for the delegation. A few even thought of seeing Pachetti helping with the hotel housekeeping chores.

In 1986, Pachetti tried again with another Council meeting in Italy. Unfortunately, that was the period of the terrorist attack in Rome. Pachetti managed to beef up security around the TV executives and successfully proceeded with the program.

Today, Pachetti is also president of the Gruppo Esponenti Italiani, vp of the America-Italy Society, a member of the Advisory Group at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He holds the title of "Grand Officiale" of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.
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Title Annotation:Renato M. Pachetti's RAI Corp. 20-Year Salute; Renato Matteo Pachetti
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:747
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