July 31, 2008
Today’s items both involve a news director post at a Cleveland market TV station…one, with an incoming person to take the role, and the other, about a former local news director…
SHE CATCHES 5: New WEWS/5 VP/general manager Victoria Regan has tapped a new news director for the station.
She is Jill Manuel, who joins the Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate from the news director’s post at Tribune-owned CLTV in Chicago, that city’s 24-hour cable news outlet. The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Robert Feder have more.
In addition to producing at FOX News Channel and CNN, and a stint as deputy director of communications for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Manuel also has been executive producer in the newsroom of Chicago CBS O&O WBBM/2.
Yes, that’s the same WBBM-TV that “19 Action News” VP/GM Bill Applegate once ran, causing as much controversy as he does at WOIO/WUAB these days.
We can’t tell from the Chicago news articles if Manuel’s stint at WBBM overlapped Applegate’s time there as VP/GM. We’re guessing not, as Applegate was there roughly in the early 1990s.
At “NewsChannel 5”, Manuel takes the post vacated in February by Steve Hyvonen, who left to run the newsroom at Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG/6…
AND FROM OUR PAST: A long-time Providence RI investigative reporter is leaving that market’s ABC affiliate, basically saying he could no longer stick around amid changes at the station.
The Providence Journal reports that WLNE/6 reporter Jim Hummel has left the station, “saying he was disturbed by the sensational direction” that “ABC6” was taking. Journal reporter Amanda Milkovits details Hummel’s concerns:
Hummel said there was pressure to sensationalize news and use slang –– such as “lowlife” and “thug” to describe defendants –– in an effort to increase ratings for the third-place local news station.
Using slang like “lowlife” and “thug” on the air…boy, that sounds familiar.
And there’s a reason, of course.
WLNE’s vice president and general manager is former WOIO/WUAB news director Stephen Doerr. And his former Cleveland newsroom, “19 Action News”, uses slang like “lowlife” and “thug” in pretty much every news story about criminal defendants, daily.
Among his other career highlights, Hummel covered the corruption trial that drove former Providence mayor “Buddy” Cianci out of office – and behind bars.
And one factor in his decision to exit “ABC6” in Providence? Cianci became a co-worker after his exit from prison, as the station recently hired the populist former mayor as its chief political analyst. Cianci also now does a radio show for talk outlet WPRO/630-99.7.
As for Doerr, the ex-“Action News” ND calls Hummel “admittedly, an old-school guy”, and quoting the ProJo article:
“I think ‘sensational’ is an overused word,” Doerr said. He said the direction is more “edgy.” When asked about the use of the words “thugs” and “lowlifes” on air, Doerr said, “We’re a work in progress. We’re trying to be more colloquial, use plainspeak.”
Doerr’s former newsroom has not exactly turned away from the “plainspeak”, as the aforementioned Mr. Applegate is clearly the driving force behind WOIO’s scrappy “we’re speaking for everyman” format…and continues to hire news directors who will carry out that mandate…