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Independent Stations

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.

KRON Reporter Doesn’t Report Crime, He Reports on ‘People Behaving Badly’

roberts_pbb_croppedStanley Roberts said he doesn’t report on crime. He told SF Weekly, “I do the quality-of-life issues that affect us all.”

SF Weekly recently did a profile on Roberts whose franchise on the San Francisco Bay Area’s independent station KRON is called “People Behaving Badly.”

Roberts travels the Bay Area looking for people doing things, well, badly. Do you ride your bike through stop signs? Did you forget to publicly post your restaurant’s most current health department report? If the answer is yes, chances are you’ll run into Roberts at some point.

A couple of years ago when Roberts recorded a man who was getting a ticket from the CHP for driving illegally in a carpool lane, he became the subject of a viral video. (watch the video after the jump)

He refers to the misbehavior he’s been seeking out for nearly eight years as “minutiae … there are always more important things.” But this, for his own reasons, is what he’s compelled to film. And, God help us, it’s what we’re compelled to watch. Footage of city workers dozing on the job or men hurling buckets of human filth onto one another on Seventh and Market are wildly popular, even in far-off lands where, perhaps, this may qualify as normal behavior.

Roberts’ inbox is constantly full. KRON established a hotline just for his segment. When he’s on BART, fellow riders monopolize his commute with People Behaving Badly pitches; his minor adventures have earned him celebrity status. In a moment of unintended irony, Roberts was asked, “So, is someone behaving badly here?” by a tone-deaf guest at a funeral both were attending. Read more

WJXT Adds An Hour of Morning News


Jacksonville Independent station WJXT is expanding its morning news by an hour at 9:00 a.m. starting Monday.

The station told viewers on its facebook page, “The Morning Show is expanding! Starting Monday, WJXT4 Nikki Kimbleton and WJXT4 Tarik Minor will anchor our new weekday 9 a.m. hour. We have some great segments in store … tune in!”

The anchors also announced the move during this morning’s show and gave each other high fives all around while promising to “keep it real.”

One Shot, Two Arrested in Attempted Robbery of San Francisco News Crew

Two men have been arrested after an attempted robbery of a KRON news crew Friday night led to one of the men being shot by a station security guard.

Police say Jeff Bush, a reporter for the San Francisco independent station, and a security guard hired by the station were approached by the two suspects in San Francisco’s Bayview distict. The men demanded Bush’s computer and camera gear. After Bush surrendered the equipment and took cover, the unidentified security guard fired on the suspects, hitting one in the leg.

According to the station, one of the suspects drove himself to San Francisco General Hospital and was treated for a gunshot wound.

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting the two 19-year-old suspects are from San Francisco. Armani McFarland has been arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and possession of a firearm while John Woods was arrested on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy.

Bush and the security guard were not injured.

This is the first robbery involving a news crew in San Francisco. There have been multiple incidents across the bay. In August a KGO crew was robbed at gunpoint in West Oakland.

Joy Purdy Returns to WJXT

Joy Purdy is returning to Jacksonville’s independent station WJXT.

The station announced Purdy will anchor its 5:30, 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts.

“We’ve been looking for just the right person to join Mary Baer, Tom Wills and Rob Sweeting in the evenings,” said WJXT vice president and general manager Bob Ellis in a statement. “Joy is like so many of us, trying to find the time to balance all the things important in life between home and work. To have her back with her original TV family at The Local Station and bring that perspective to our viewers who are trying to do the same thing is the perfect match.”

Purdy worked at WJXT from 1995 to 2000 as an anchor and reporter before leaving for Miami’s WFOR. She came back to Jacksonville as anchor for First Coast News. In March, she left the station after being offered the 11:00 p.m. anchor position, saying she wanted to take a short break from TV to spend more time with her family.

[The Florida Times-Union]

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