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Former TV personnel don't miss live shots, adulation, filling time

By Alan Pergament

Confession time.

My stories can be a little long sometimes and they have to be cut.

Take the Sunday, June 9 story in the Buffalo News with the headline "For some TV personalities, 'The Dark Side' has a bright side."

The story about former TV news personnel who left the business to work in public relations was originally about 50 inches and had to be trimmed. The editor did it so well that I couldn't remember what he cut when I first read it. But then I retrieved my original and discovered what landed on the cutting room floor.

One good thing about this blog – some might say the only good thing – is there is no restriction on length. So I can run all the things on Monday that ended up on the cutting room floor on Sunday.


Jodi Johnston: Doesn't miss adulation


In some cases, the things cut were positive public relations-type statements by those interviewed about their new jobs. I told them I would try to keep their comments in, but they've been reporters so they know I don't control things.

In other cases, the things cut were the opinions of the former reporters and anchors about local TV news.

Here are some of the comments that didn't make the June 9 article.   

Victoria Hong, former Channel 4 anchor who now is the director of corporate communications for Delaware North, giving her  opinion of her former profession:  "I guess things that I thought were important as a newscaster weren't necessarily important to the viewer.  Like certain live shots. I think that if something is happening that is live, that is the only reason to have a live shot."    

Michele McClintick Mehaffy , who does public and media relations for Unyts, was hesitant to share her opinion of TV news other than to say the stations do a good job of covering the stories of the day. "I guess I don't find as many enriching stories as I would like to see," she conceded.

She wasn''t hesitant to discuss the uncertainty of working in TV news. "I always felt like I am working now, what’s going to happen a month from now?" said Mehaffy. "Because everything was happening so quickly, you never really knew when the shoe was going to drop. They were letting people go, they were changing shifts, they were changing jobs. The uncertainty of the future was pretty stressful as well as the job."

Jean Hill, former Channel 7 anchor, who now in in the compliance department of M&T Bank:

"I think I was early in the movement," cracked Hill of moving to the PR side. She left because "the way television worked changed.... Initially it was more about the story, about putting our resources into finding out the details behind a story. Then it started to feel more like headlines and filling time to me. And the opportunity came to take some of those same skills and go to a very strong organization."

Like Hill, Jodi Johnston, the former Channel 2 anchor who now is the director of corporate media relations at First Niagara, said she was happy to go to a strong organization and loves her job.

 "I’m working at a place with a wonderful culture and leadership," said Johnston. "And I am still dealing with the media from a different perspective and it is a way to be involved in the community."

Johnston added that she doesn’t miss the adulation or celebrity that comes with working in TV. "That was never important to me," said Johnston. "My family used to joke about how oblivious I was to that."

Nor does Mehaffy miss TV. "I don't miss being on TV, I don't miss wearing my TV makeup," she said.

There you have it -- just about all the cuts.

I doubt that many of you missed much of it. But some of the people I interviewed about moving to PR might have wondered where their PR statements had gone.



Television | TV news
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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

@StillTalkinTV |