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Mark Effron Leaving WPIX

mark_effron.03WPIX news director Mark Effron announced to staff today that he is leaving the Tribune-owned New York CW affiliate. He will stay through October.

Effron wrote to staffers in a memo that, when he was hired, he told Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert, that he only wanted to be news director for two years. (Read Effron’s memo after the jump.)

Effron told TVSpy the timing has been fortuitous. He said the station’s turnaround came more quickly than he expected and he hopes the positive momentum continues for the next news director.

When asked about future plans, Effron mentioned his approaching 65th birthday and said he’s confident he will continue to work in the business. “It’s been a terrific career. I’ve been very blessed both personally and professionally and I’m very excited about what happens next.”

Wert hired Effron in April 2013. Rich Graziano was hired as GM of WPIX later that year.

Effron came to WPIX from public radio show The Takeaway, where he was general manager and executive producer. Earlier, he was VP of news and daytime programming at MSNBC. He had also worked in leadership roles at Post-Newsweek stations WFSB in Hartford and WDIV in Detroit. (As it no longer owns the Washington Post or Newsweek, the company recently changed its name to Graham Media Group.)

Jerry Barmash first reported the news last week.

Here’s what Effron wrote to staffers:

When Larry Wert talked to me early last year about joining WPIX as VP/News Director, I made clear my intention to view it as a two year mission (coinciding with my–gasp–65th birthday). After this May, when we started to see the beginnings of a ratings turnaround based on the quality, aggressive  journalism we’ve been producing on-air and on digital platforms, I reminded Larry and Rich about my desire to transition into something that would allow me to continue to work in the field that I’m  so passionate about, but in a different way. I’ve been approached about both teaching as well as consulting and both have great appeal,  since they would allow me to give back–and also have more time to spend with my wonderful family, my writing, etc.

So now begins the transition. This is a great time for me, and a great time for our news.  We’ve shown what we can do–and the audience is responding. While other newscasts are declining, we are gaining audience–surpassing both WNBC and WNYW at 5pm. We are becoming a digital force in New York. Our peers have recognized our work with all of the major awards: from a Murrow to countless Emmys, AP awards and more. I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished together or feel better about the direction we are heading in. I’ll be here for awhile, helping Rich, steering the ship, and paving the way.

Thanks to all of the wonderful folks at WPIX who have made this part of the journey so satisfying:  Larry Wert, who has been a mentor and a colleague as well as a boss, and Rich Graziano.  Rich and I started out as a shotgun marriage, but ultimately became partners in crime–and lasting friends.

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