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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
THIS IS A FIRST : NEWS ANCHORS STUN AUDIENCE & RESIGN LIVE ON-AIR: TOLD TO DO ‘UNBALANCED NEWS, POLITICALLY’
Two Maine news anchors resigned together at the end of Tuesday’s broadcast after “a longstanding battle with upper management over journalistic practices” including being expected to do politically unbalanced news, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced at the end of WVII-TV’s 6 p.m. newscast that it would be their final broadcast together.
“And finally tonight, this will be Tony and my final show together here on ABC 7,” Michaels said. “The last six years have been an interesting and enjoyable time for both of us as we have been the longest running news team in Bangor.”
Consiglio said “some recent developments have come to our attention though and departing together is the best alternative we can take.”
The Daily News reported both anchors were frustrated with the way they were told to do their jobs.
“I just wanted to know that I was doing the best job I could and was being honest and ethical as a journalist, and I thought there were times when I wasn’t able to do that,” Consiglio said.
Michaels, also the station’s news director, cited a “constant disrespecting and belittling of staff” and “a lack of knowledge from ownership and upper management in running a newsroom to the extent that I was not allowed to structure and direct them professionally.”
She also said they were “expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically.” Neither one said which political leaning that was.
Mike Palmer, WVII/WFVX vice president and general manager, told the newspaper he wasn’t entirely surprised by the resignations, calling it “unfortunate, but not unexpected.” Still, he disputed the characterizations of management’s role in the newsroom.
“Upper management is not involved in the daily production of the news. Period,” he said.
Neither reporter told anyone prior to the broadcast they were planning to resign.
“We figured if we had tendered our resignations off the air, we would not have been allowed to say goodbye to the community on the air and that was really important for us to do that,” Michaels said.