Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anchors in Bangor quit on the air, say management played politics with their journalism

Anchors hug after signing off
A pair of news co-anchors in Bangor, Maine, resigned on the air Tuesday, later saying station management had interfered with their journalism. Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced that they were quitting at the end of the 6 p.m. newscast on WVII, an ABC affiliate that serves much of the nation's most rural state.

"Prior to the statement, they had not told anyone else of their plans," CBS News reports. "Their boss said Wednesday they had been on their way out the door anyway. . . . On the newscast, the two didn't give specific reasons on the air for their sudden departure," but Consiglio said, "Some recent developments have come to our attention, though, and departing together is the best alternative we can take."

Michaels, who was news director, told Andrew Neff of the Bangor Daily News that resigning while on the air assured them of the ability say goodbye to their viewers. "Both Michaels, 46, and Consiglio, 28, said frustration over the way they were allowed or told to do their jobs — something that has been steadily mounting for the last four years — became too much for them," Neff reports. Palmer told Neff upper management "is not involved in daily production of the news."

But Michaels told Neff, "We were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general." She and Consiglio wouldn't say what sort of slant Palmer wanted, but in 2006, The New York Times reported that Palmer had prohibited another Bangor station he manages from doing stories on global warming, CBS noted. That is WFVX, a Fox affiliate. The stations are owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting, which also owns WJFW in Rhinelander and Wausau, Wis.

The Daily News story and video of the resignation are here. UPDATE, Nov. 26: Brian Stetler of The New York Times gives more behind-the-scenes information in a story. UPDATE, July 22, 2013: Jim Romensko reports on where they are now.

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