Former Channel 7 news director turns heads over alleged Facebook-firing
Longtime observers of local media will recall the name Melissa Klinzing. She was the Channel 7 news director circa the mid-'90s who launched "Real Life, Real News," a format that attempted to freshen standard newscasts with infotainment-related show-biz glitz and an anchor, Natalie Pujo, who had a fondness for short skirts and cleavage showcases (although nothing like the jug displays offered by Channel 31's Natalie Tysdal and Libby Weaver on the cover of September's Denver Magazine). Given the way TV news has evolved, the style doesn't seem all that radical today -- but it was an embarrassing flop at the time, and Klinzing was soon sent packing. Nevertheless, her name was mentioned frequently in a court action earlier this decade prompted by former Channel 7 reporter Dave Minshall's age-discrimination lawsuit. In the end, Minshall, who was 53 when Klinzing showed him the door, was awarded $500,000 in damages.
Griffin Scott showing off an AP award he won earlier this year.
Since then, Klinzing has worked in various markets, including Tampa, Cleveland and Norfolk, Virginia. But she's earning unwanted attention again due to accusations from Griffin Scott, a former anchor at her current station, KTVE, based in West Monroe, Louisiana. Scott claims Klinzing fired him for writing on his personal Facebook page that he was the only person at his station under age forty who knew anything about the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. The story first broke last week in a blog called "Word on the Street," and spread further among journalists with a stunningly nasty piece published on the subscription-oriented News Blues site. For instance, the account said that Klinzing's arrival in West Monroe "represented the stunning nadir of a career in slow-motion disintegration."
At this point, Scott hasn't decided whether or not to pursue legal action against Klinzing or KTVE, but his story's gaining traction. For instance, he's the subject of a report expected to air tomorrow on KTBS, a CBS affiliate in Shreveport. In addition, he's issued a press release about the situation. To read it, click "Continue."
FORMER KTVE NEWS ANCHOR GRIFFIN SCOTT ADDRESSES FACEBOOK TERMINATION RUMORS; THANKS VIEWERS FOR SUPPORT, LOYALTY
(West Monroe, LA) Griffin Scott, former senior evening anchor of KTVE news in West Monroe, addressed rumors today that were posted online concerning his recent termination. Rumors suggested that Scott, who was employed by KTVE since March 2007, was fired by KTVE News Director Melissa Klinzing for making a comment about the Enola Gay on his personal Facebook page.
"The rumors are true," Scott lamented. "The comment was posted on my personal Facebook page on August 14. I made the comment that I 'knew what the Enola Gay was and that makes me the only person under 40 who knew that in our newsroom. Not sure whether to be proud or not,'" he said. "The comment was written after Melissa Klinzing asked our news team if anyone knew what the Enola Gay was. I was the only one besides Klinzing and assignments editor Phil Duckworth who knew the history of the Enola Gay. We had a chuckle that no one else knew and we kind of attributed it to being the oldest people on the team. The comment was not intended to insult anyone's intelligence. It was rather a random reflection on the differences between two different age groups. If it did offend someone, I'm very sorry. That was not my intention," he said.
On Monday, August 17, Scott was approached by Klinzing while on-air during the 5PM evening news broadcast and asked to remove the comment from his personal Facebook account. "Instead of removing it, I immediately deactivated my account altogether. It wasn't visible to anyone after I did that," Scott explained. He says that on the morning of Tuesday, August 18 he was required to attend a KTVE sales presentation in front of about 20 of the Station's largest advertising clients. It was there that Scott says he was asked specifically to "mingle with the clients" in order to add goodwill and value to their sales presentation. "I thought everything had been forgiven since I removed the comment the night before," Scott said. The next morning on August 19, Scott was presented with termination papers that cited the Station's perceived damage to their reputation as a result of the Enola Gay comment made on August 14. According to the letter, the comment "brought the station into public disrepute, contempt and ridicule and that it is otherwise jeopardizing the success of the station and the company." About the reason for his termination, Scott says, "I just couldn't believe it. Just the day before I was considered an asset to the company. I was shaking hands with our clients and had a smooth work day with three great news broadcasts."
In the days following his termination, a blog entry about the incident was posted online and comments concerning his firing have appeared on www.thenewsstar.com, www.myarklamiss.com, www.lifeinla.21.forumer.com/index.php, www.newsblues.com and www.facebook.com. "Since Tuesday, I've received a ton of letters of support from viewers across the Ark-La-Miss. It's very touching and I'll truly mourn the unique opportunity to deliver the news to my loyal, local viewers. I've lived here my whole life and dreamed about being an anchor since I watched Walter Cronkite in the 70's and 80's. I was really passionate about my job," he concluded.
According to www.newsblues.com, Scott is the 9th employee terminated by Klinzing since her arrival to KTVE in April 2009.