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Independent Stations

KUSI Photographer Gets Dumped on By Supertanker


KUSI photographer Taylor Schuss took a hit to make a play during the recent rash of wildfires near San Diego.

Schuss was rolling as a DC-10 Supertanker made a low pass overhead. He dutifully followed the release of fire retardant as it fell on him.

The photographer for the independent San Diego station was covering the Cocos Fire which KUSI reports was 5% contained as of Thursday night.

Longtime KUSI Weatherman John Coleman Retires

Longtime KUSI weatherman John Coleman has announced his retirement.

Coleman has worked at the independent San Diego station for 20 years. He’s been a broadcaster since 1953.

“Nothing is forever. The universe, the galaxy, the solar system, the sun, Earth… every species fades away in time. We individual people are very small and very temporary parts of the big picture,” Coleman wrote in a letter announcing his retirement. “I’m grateful to you all. I wish you all every success and happiness.”

In the 1970′s, Coleman worked as the the original weathercaster for the launch of ABC’s Good Morning America. While working at ABC, Coleman developed the concept and business plan for what became The Weather Channel.

He has also worked at WCIA in Champaign, IL, WMBD in Peoria, IL, KETV in Omaha, NE, WISN in Milwaukee, WI, as well as WBBM, WLS and WMAQ in Chicago and WCBS in New York.

You can read Coleman’s entire goodbye letter after the jump. Read more

Landlord Arrested for Allegedly Assaulting Phoenix Photographer


A Mesa, AZ, landlord was arrested Friday night after he knocked a KTVK photographer to the ground.

The crew for the independent Phoenix station was looking into a viewer complaint that bees were living in the roof of his apartment building when the landlord Mike Djordejvich showed up and demanded the crew leave the property. According to the station, Djordejvich “used his shoulders to butt the photographer, who went tumbling to the ground.”

Djordejvich was arrested on suspicion of assault.

Brandon Lee Joins KTVK in Phoenix

lee_ktvk_croppedBrandon Lee has joined Phoenix, AZ, independent station KTVK as 4:30 p.m. anchor.

Lee was known as Brandon Rudat when he worked at WGCL in Atlanta. According to KTVK’s press release, “to honor his adopted family and keep a promise made to his adopted father, David Lee, Brandon will go by his middle name ‘Lee’ on air.” He left WGCL in July.

“Brandon will be a great addition to the 3TV news team,” Cameryn Beck, executive news director said in a statement. “His dedication to news excellence and warm personality are a perfect fit for our newsroom and product.”

Lee will also contribute to the station’s other evening shows. He starts anchoring with Jaime Cerreta next Wednesday.

Questions Raised Over Jacksonville Sheriff’s Handling of Local Reporter’s Tickets

mitchem_wjxtThe Florida Times-Union is looking into why the Jacksonville County Sheriff voided two tickets and a misdemeanor summons for WJXT reporter Ashley Mitchem.

Mitchem had been ticketed by Officer Jose Marrero for speeding, failure to change her address and a misdemeanor notice to appear for having the emblem of the Fraternal Order of Police on her car after two previous warnings to remove it.

Sheriff John Rutherford recently ordered the tickets and the misdemeanor voided, violating department rules in the process.

Bob Ellis, vice president and general manager for WJXT, told TVSpy, ““Ashley was stopped for alleged traffic violations on more than one occasion in the early morning hours of the day en route to work, always by the same police officer.  She believed she was being put in a potentially uncomfortable situation and as such, called the Sheriff and asked him for advice on how to formally and properly handle the matter.  To suggest there is anything more to this story is irresponsible.”

An official with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s department claimed Marrero was stalking Mitchem and that’s why the tickets were voided. Marrero had pulled Mitchem over twice before and let her off with a warning. Read more

KRON GM Steps Down Over Health Concerns

kronBrian Greif, general manager for Media General’s San Francisco Bay Area station KRON has resigned from the independent station due to health reasons.

Greif told TVNewsCheck, he is looking at at least three months of recovery and physical therapy after what he said was an unsuccessful back surgery over the summer.

A Media General spokesperson told TVSpy the station group is currently conducting a search for a new GM.

KRON Reporter Reunites Carlos Santana with Former Bandmate Now on the Streets

A San Francisco reporter known more for his “People Behaving Badly” reports turned a chance encounter on the streets of East Oakland into a reunion of two men whose lives have taken very different paths. One man lives in a camper on the streets of Oakland and once played in a band called the original Santana Blues Band. The other is Carlos Santana.

KRON reporter Stanley Roberts said he was reporting on illegal dumping in East Oakland when he saw a man named Marcus Malone sorting through trash. After answering a few questions, Malone told Roberts he once played with Santana.

According to the story, the Bay Area guitar legend saw the report. But when his attempts to locate Malone failed, his manager called the station. Roberts found Malone and brought the pair together.

“It’s an honor to be in your presence,” said Santana after seeing Malone again. “I always cherish you, man. You and your family were so gracious to us.”

The story was also featured on CNN last weekend.

According to KRON, Santana intends to record some songs with his old band, with Malone back on percussion.

Kristen Cusato Returns to San Diego

Kristen-Cusato_640x480_20110509142504_640_480Kristen Cusato has accomplished a double comeback. She has returned to TV news after being off the air for two years by joining San Diego independent station KUSI as a reporter and anchor.

Cusato left KUSI for WTNH in Hartford-New Haven, CT, in 2009 to help her ailing mother. In 2011, Cusato left WTNH for a job with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Today, she told viewers of her move on her facebook page, “First day, first live shot, first package: done. Back reporting for the evening shows tonight…and anchoring weekend nights! KUUUUUUSI” Read more

KABC to Add 8:00 p.m. News on Local Independent Station

kabc_kdocLos Angeles ABC owned station KABC announced it will begin airing a live one hour 8:00 p.m. newscast seven days a week on Anaheim, CA, independent station KDOC starting in January.

“As the news leader in Southern California, ABC7 Eyewitness News is glad to have an additional opportunity to provide viewers the news and weather information they need,” KABC president and general manager Arnold J. Kleiner said in a statement.

KABC also announced KDOC will also begin re-airing the KABC 11:00 p.m. news at midnight.

“One of our goals at LA56 has always been to air a primetime newscast; and, now, we have a partnership with the number one news station in the LA market,” said KDOC president and general manager John Manzi. We could not be more excited to work with ABC7,”

St. Louis Reporter’s Hug Ignites Twitter Debate Over Journalism Ethics

A dustup over ethics in journalism has broken out on twitter after Scott Charton, a retired Associated Press reporter tweeted that after a press conference he saw a photographer and local TV reporter hug the father of Ryan Ferguson, a man who was recently released from prison after his murder conviction was overturned.

KPLR reporter Melanie Moon identified herself as the hugger tweeting, “I hugged both.”

Joy Mayer, an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism was one who joined the fray, weighing in on what she sees as the ethics of appearing to favor one side of a story or another.

Mayer told TVSpy, “My main point wasn’t with the hug. It was with her cheerleader style of reporting and her complete misunderstanding of the basic facts of the news she was covering.” When asked how she came to the conclusion Moon didn’t understand the story, Mayer said, “She was debating with me about whether the court ruling had found Ryan Ferguson to be innocent. She was misquoting a court document and defending her position as accurate.”

Jim Romenesko first reported the exchange over the hug involving the release of both Ferguson and Charles Erickson who were convicted of murdering Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Keith Heitholt in 2004.

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