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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Quitting hard

A truly great "Take this job and shove it!" moment:

BANGOR, Maine — Citing a longstanding battle with upper management over journalistic practices at their Bangor TV stations, news co-anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced their resignations at the end of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. newscast.

Michaels and Consiglio, who have a combined 12½ years’ service at WVII (Channel 7) and sister station WFVX (Channel 22), shocked staff members and viewers with their joint resignations Tuesday evening.

“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,” said Consiglio, a northeastern Connecticut native who broke in with WVII as a sports reporter in April 2006.

[. . .]

Neither reporter had told anyone of their decisions before Tuesday’s newscast.

“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,” said Michaels, the station’s news director, who has spent six of her 15 years in Bangor’s radio and TV market at WVII.

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.

“There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff and we both felt there was 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,” Michaels explained. “I couldn’t do everything I wanted to as a news director. There was a regular undoing of decisions.”

While choosing not to respond to individual complaints or charges, Palmer did take issue with the former anchors’ characterization of management’s role.

I think everyone should have at least one of those moments in a lifetime of employment. It's a useful shock to the system, a needed reminder that getting a paycheck can't be allowed to trump everything else in our lives.

My moment came when I was, if I remember correctly, a junior in high school and employed at McDonald's. I had made my meteoric rise to assistant manager -- I got to wear the red hat and made something like 10 cents more an hour -- which means I was in charge of the cash registers during my shift. One day a register came up short a few dollars and the manager said, "Fine, no problem, you make up the shortage."

"But I didn't take the money -- so why should I have to make it up?"

"Because it was your responsibility."

I took offense as only the young can, tore off my apron, threw down my red hat and told him just where he could stick his lousy job. Did I see panic in his eyes as he contemplated the almost impossible task of finding another high school kid to replace me? Oh, no, not so much. The panic was mine, a temporary "Oh, God, what have I just done?" feeling overwhelming the satisfaction of having stood up for myself.

But of course there were many other jobs after that -- mere "making money" ones like the McDonald's gig and more serious ones that eventually becamse a career. That's because my tantrum was private. It's not quite as easy to move on after you've dissed your bosses on the air. I suspect these co-anchors will be out of work for some time -- who's going to hire them and risk getting the same public spanking from them?

And what is this "management not understanding the operation" he's babbling on about? Never heard of such a thing.


Harl Delos
Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:16pm

 It's a new world, Leo.  Glenn Beck doesn't need Fox to broadcast, and Dan Patrick doesn't need ESPN.

I'm not aware of anyone with a "all local news, all the time" streaming video internet operation, but if those are really popular in their market, they could well pull it off.  Create a show with local news, and set it to loop every 30 minutes or 60 minutes or whatever.  Add new news items and delete stale ones "on the fly". 

Of course, they probably will soon decide that their bosses understood the news operation better than they realized.  There really isn't a "news industry" - news is just a loss leader used to get viewers/readers/listeners to pay attention to the ads.