Yesterday, two days after Election Day, the Republican primary for governor of Arizona was called for Kari Lake, a longtime local news anchor turned Trumpian media-basher and election denier. In Tuesday’s edition of this newsletter, I wrote about Lake’s path from local TV to politics, and named several other former local anchors who have trodden that path, many of them also Republicans, not least during this current election cycle. There’s nothing inherently wrong with local anchors running for office, I wrote—but local TV can confer great visibility and trust on its journalists, and the potential for that trust to be abused by would-be politicians is clear.
As I sent the newsletter out, I asked readers to get in touch if I’d missed any examples of local anchors going into politics, past or present. You responded in droves, and it turned out that I’d missed loads. Several readers pointed out that a closely watched US House race in Iowa this cycle will be contested by not one but two former anchors, who used to work together at KCRG in Cedar Rapids. Liz Mathis, now a state senator, is running as a Democrat against Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson, who defeated the then-incumbent Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in 2020 and has since been tipped for a possible quick promotion to House Republican leadership. Hinson bade an emotional farewell to KCRG in 2015, but has since described herself as a “recovering journalist” and been accused of plagiarizing the New York Times. (She apologized.) “When in doubt,” the Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote recently, “Team Hinson bashes the media.”
For today’s newsletter, we decided to compile my initial examples, readers’ suggestions, and a few others that I subsequently found while searching around into an alphabetized encyclopedia of local TV journalists who made the leap into office-seeking. I use the term “journalist” here, rather than anchor, since we’re including some subsequent politicians who worked as on-air reporters, sports journalists, and meteorologists. But all worked for a local station. The result is a list of ninety journalists across thirty-three states, forty-two of them Republicans, thirty-five Democrats, thirteen independents or of unclear party affiliation. Sarah Palin is here, as is Tucker Carlson’s dad. Two former anchors have served as the mayor of Spokane, Washington. The pipeline has also flowed prolifically in Jacksonville, Florida, for some reason.
This list still, surely, is not comprehensive. If you have further examples, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll consider updating this post online going forward. We hope this will be a useful resource, both now and for posterity. (Update, August 26, 2022: Entries in italics below were added after the publication of this encyclopedia, based on further reader submissions. The totals in the above paragraph have also been updated.)
After I wrote on Tuesday, the topic of local anchors running for office had a sad coda when Rep. Jackie Walorski, a onetime TV news reporter in Indiana who later won a US House seat in the state, was killed after a vehicle in which she was traveling veered into traffic. Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who worked for Walorski, also died. Our thoughts are with their families.
Here’s the list:
Julie Akins: Party affiliation unclear, Oregon. Worked in TV as an investigative journalist at stations in San Diego, Tampa, and Seattle, and was news director at KOBI in Medford, Oregon. She is now the mayor of nearby Ashland, having previously covered its city government.
Mark Alford: Republican, Missouri. A former morning anchor on Fox 4 in Kansas City, Alford this week won the primary for a safe Republican US House seat in Missouri after Vicky Hartzler, the incumbent, ran for US Senate. Brags on his campaign website that his “voice has been on live TV for more than 23,000 hours.” Said before launching his campaign that he did not find it easy “being in the media while also being a conservative Christian who respects law enforcement and wants to promote local entrepreneurs.” Has pledged to “fully investigate the 2020 election” because “we all know that something wasn’t right” with it.
Diane Allen: Republican, New Jersey. Worked as a news anchor at KYW and WCAU in Philadelphia before serving for two years in the New Jersey state assembly, then for twenty years in the state senate. Returned to politics last year as running mate to Jack Ciattarelli, the defeated Republican nominee for New Jersey governor. Reputed to be a moderate.
Ken Amaro: Republican, Florida. Served for forty-two years as a consumer-affairs journalist at First Coast News in Jacksonville, where he became well-known for his bowties and on-air sign-off: “Don’t get mad, just say ‘I’m telling Ken!’” Now running for city council, citing his long record of “Jacksonville families trusting me to serve as a voice for the voiceless.” The seat he is seeking is being vacated by another former anchor, Joyce Morgan (see below).
Brenton Awa: Republican, Hawai‘i. A former news anchor at KITV in Honolulu. Announced last year that he is running for state senate. The primary is scheduled for next week.
Ron Bair: Party affiliation unclear, Washington State. A former anchor at KXLY in Spokane, Bair was elected mayor in 1977. Nadine Woodward later followed in his footsteps (see below).
Adrienne Bennett: Republican, Maine. Worked in TV news before serving as press secretary to Paul LePage, Maine’s, erm, pugilistic former GOP governor (who is now running for governor again). Bennett ran for a US House seat in Maine in 2020, but lost the Republican primary.
Kristen Browde: Democrat, New York. A longtime local TV reporter, Browde became the first transgender woman to run on a major party ticket in New York as the Democratic nominee for New Castle town supervisor in 2017. Lost and was also unsuccessful in a 2020 bid for the New York state assembly. Now a lawyer and co-chair of the National Trans Bar Association.
Abby Broyles: Democrat, Oklahoma. A former investigative reporter on KFOR in Oklahoma City, Broyles was the Democratic nominee for US Senate in the state in 2020, but lost. Ran for a US House seat in the current cycle, but ended her campaign after she insulted children who were having a sleepover at a friend’s house after she mixed alcohol and sleeping medication. Later expressed regret for the incident and said she’d sought medical attention.
Dick Carlson: Republican, California. Among many other media jobs, worked as a reporter at KABC in LA and as an anchor at KFMB in San Diego, before quitting TV news, calling it “insipid, sophomoric, and superficial.” Was criticized at both stations for outing transgender women. Ran for mayor of San Diego in 1984, losing to Republican incumbent Roger Hedgecock even though the latter was under criminal indictment. Later served as director of the US-funded broadcaster Voice of America under Reagan and Bush Sr. These days, his son is pretty famous.
Alan Cohn: Democrat, Florida. Had a long career in journalism before running unsuccessfully for a US House seat in Florida in 2014. Subsequently worked as a news anchor at ABC7 in Sarasota, before running again for the same seat in 2020, again without success. Is now running again in the same district, albeit based on a new map. The primary is this month.
Mick Cornett: Republican, Oklahoma. After working as a sports and news anchor at KOCO in Oklahoma City, Cornett served three years as a city councilor then thirteen as mayor, apparently making him the longest-serving mayor in the US at the time he stepped down. Ran for governor of Oklahoma in 2018, but lost in a primary runoff to Kevin Stitt.
Marc Cox: Party affiliation unclear, Missouri. Worked for various TV stations, including nineteen years at KMOV in St. Louis, where he was an anchor. Ran as an alderman in nearby Wildwood.
Rick Dancer: Republican, Oregon. A longtime anchor at KEZI in Eugene, Dancer ran as the GOP nominee for secretary of state in 2008, losing to Kate Brown, now Oregon’s governor. Courted controversy after announcing his bid for office on the news; Poynter ethicist Kelly McBride said that news staff at KEZI had “apparently been co-opted” into Dancer’s campaign.
Donna Deegan: Democrat, Florida. Formerly an anchor on First Coast News, where Ken Amaro also used to work. Now running for mayor of Jacksonville. The election will be next year.
Anne Doyle: Party affiliation unclear, Michigan. A reporter and anchor at WZZM in Grand Rapids starting in the seventies, before becoming a pioneering female sports reporter at Channel 2 in Detroit. Left journalism and later served on the city council in nearby Auburn Hills.
Ryan Elijah: Republican, Indiana. Worked as an anchor at a local station in Fort Wayne, starting a consumer-affairs segment that, he once said, often focused on federal issues. Took a leave of absence to run for a US House seat in a special election in 2010; said he was running as a “conservative Christian” who would “stop policies made at the federal level stopping jobs or keeping them from leaving.” Was unsuccessful. Now works as an anchor at Fox 35 in Orlando.
M.L. Elrick: Party affiliation unclear, Michigan. Worked at Detroit stations including Fox 2 before winning a Pulitzer at the Free Press. (Also wrote about the “last great journalism bar in America” for CJR in 2018.) Took a buyout last year and ran for city council. “If this happens, people should rest assured this is not another chicken in the henhouse,” he said. “This is a watchdog going in the henhouse and chasing out the foxes.” It didn’t happen.
Courtis Fuller: Democrat, Ohio. An anchor at WLWT who ran against his former station colleague Charles Luken (see below) for mayor of Cincinnati in 2001. Lost. Returned to WLWT.
Richard Goodman: Democrat, Texas. Worked for KTBC and KVUE in Austin in the late sixties and early seventies before serving on the city council. According to his obituary in the Austin American-Statesman, he was recruited to politics because of his “charisma” and TV presence.
Rod Grams: Republican, Minnesota. Worked at stations in Montana, Wisconsin, and Illinois before serving as a news anchor at KMSP in the Twin Cities. Later served in both the US House and Senate, where he represented Minnesota from 1995 to 2001. Later acquired radio stations.
J.D. Hayworth: Republican, Arizona. A sportscaster and anchor in South Carolina, Ohio, and Arizona in the eighties. Served in the US House from 1995 to 2007. Later seen on Newsmax.
Sonya Heitshusen: Democrat, Iowa. A former anchor on WHO in Des Moines who is now running for a seat in Iowa’s House of Representatives. Recently charged with reckless use of a firearm; she said she accidentally discharged a gun at home while checking it.
Cory Hepola: Forward Party of Minnesota, Minnesota. A former anchor on KARE in Minneapolis who left WCCO Radio earlier this year to run for governor as a third-party candidate. Was criticized by Democrats for vote-splitting. Dropped out in May.
Ashley Hinson: Republican, Iowa. See above.
Gail Huff Brown: Republican, New Hampshire. A longtime TV journalist in New England who is now running for a US House seat in New Hampshire. The primary is next month. Married to Scott Brown, the former US senator for Massachusetts and Trump’s New Zealand ambassador.
Chris Hurst: Democrat, Virginia. An anchor at WDBJ in Roanoke, the station for which Alison Parker, Hurst’s then girlfriend, worked when she was shot dead live on air in 2015. Her colleague Adam Ward was also killed. Hurst decided to leave journalism and run for Virginia’s House of Delegates after being sent to cover a subsequent shooting, but he didn’t make gun laws the centerpiece of his campaign because, he told The Guardian, “we didn’t want the election to be a referendum on guns and Alison, we wanted it to be people really believing I could take my experience as a journalist and an evening news anchor and translate it into public service.” Won election in 2017 but lost his reelection bid last year.
Susan Hutchison: Republican, Washington State. A long-serving anchor at KIRO in Seattle, Hutchison ran for King County executive in 2009. Remained very active in Washington GOP politics, chairing the state party before serving as its nominee for US Senate in 2018. She lost.
Jay Johnson: Democrat, Wisconsin. An anchor and reporter at WLUK and WFRV, Johnson served a single term in the US House in the nineties. Later led the US Mint. Died in 2009.
Paul Junge: Republican, Michigan. An anchor at Fox 47 in Lansing before working for the Senate Judiciary Committee and US Citizenship and Immigration Services under Trump. Ran for a US House seat in 2020, losing to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin. This week, became the GOP nominee for the seat again. Will take on Rep. Dan Kildee.
Karen Keith: Democrat, Oklahoma. Worked as an anchor at KJRH in Tulsa. Has served as a commissioner in Tulsa County since 2009.
Rebecca Kleefisch: Republican, Wisconsin. A TV news anchor at Channel 12 in Milwaukee prior to serving as Wisconsin’s Republican lieutenant governor between 2011 and 2019. Is now seeking the GOP nomination for governor. Her primary is next week. Mike Pence is backing her.
Ron Klink: Democrat, Pennsylvania. A longtime broadcaster, including fourteen years as an anchor and reporter at KDKA in Pittsburgh. Won a US House seat in Pennsylvania in 1992 and served until 2001. Ran for US Senate in 2000 but lost to the Republican Rick Santorum.
Scott Klug: Republican, Wisconsin. A TV reporter at stations in DC, Seattle, and Wisconsin before serving four terms in the US House in the nineties.
Rob Kupec: Democrat, Minnesota. Chief meteorologist at KVRR in Fargo, North Dakota, Kupec is currently running for a state senate seat in neighboring Minnesota. KVRR said that Kupec would no longer appear on its newscasts given that he is running for office.
Kari Lake: Republican, Arizona. See above.
Charles Luken: Democrat, Ohio. The scion of a political dynasty, Luken served as mayor of Cincinnati, then in the US House, before working as an anchor at WLWT, also in Cincinnati. He then quit that job to run for mayor again, serving a second stint from 1999 to 2005. Beat out his former WLWT colleague Courtis Fuller (see above) to win reelection in 2001. (Notably, one Jerry Springer also served at both WLWT and as mayor of Cincinnati—though he was mayor first.)
Christopher Lydon: Party affiliation unclear, Massachusetts. Anchored the Ten O’Clock News on WGBH in Boston and also covered politics for the Boston Globe and New York Times. Ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Boston in 1993, then hosted the public-radio show The Connection.
Amy Marcinkiewicz: Cross-party, Pennsylvania. A reporter at WPXI in Pittsburgh before retiring last year. Won election as a district magistrate a few months later after running on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.
Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky: Democrat, Pennsylvania. Worked for NBC affiliates in Philadelphia and DC before serving a single term in the US House in the early nineties. Lost her reelection bid after saying she opposed a Bill Clinton budget that raised taxes, then voting for it. Tried and failed to return to Congress in 2014. Her son is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Liz Mathis: Democrat, Iowa. See above.
Kathleen Matthews: Democrat, Maryland. A longtime anchor at WJLA in DC, Matthews worked for the hotel chain Marriott before running for a US House seat in 2016. Lost the primary to Rep. Jamie Raskin, of January 6 committee fame. Married to former MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
Gary Metivier: Republican, Iowa. An anchor at KWQC in the Quad Cities area, Metivier ran for the board of supervisors in Scott County in the current cycle. Dropped out earlier this year.
Rick Metsger: Democrat, Oregon. A longtime sportscaster and anchor at KOIN in Portland, before serving as a state senator from 1998 to 2011. Later chaired the board of the National Credit Union Administration, to which he was appointed by Barack Obama.
Steen Miles: Democrat, Georgia. A former reporter at WXIA in Atlanta, Miles served as a state senator before running unsuccessfully for US Senate in 2014. Died in 2017. According to the Georgia writer Brian Bannon, her name appeared on the ballot as “Steen ‘News Lady’ Miles.”
Dale Milford: Democrat, Texas. A meteorologist at WFAA in Dallas before serving in the US House from 1973 to 1979. Lost a reelection bid.
John Miller: Democrat, Virginia. A longtime anchor at WVEC in Hampton Roads, Virginia, before serving in the state Senate from 2007 through his death in 2016.
Helena Moreno: Democrat, Louisiana. Worked at WDSU in New Orleans before serving in the state House of Representatives and on the city council, of which she is now the president.
Joyce Morgan: Democrat, Florida. Worked in TV in Georgia before serving as an anchor at WJKS and WJXT in Jacksonville, before serving on the city council. Vacating the seat for which Ken Amaro (see above) is now running.
Michelle Mortensen: Republican, Nevada. A consumer reporter at KLAS in Las Vegas before running for seats in the US House and Nevada assembly in 2018 and 2020, respectively. When she quit KLAS, she said that she was “fed up with the liberal media attacking conservatives and conservative values.” She didn’t get past the primary in either of her bids.
Tiffany O’Donnell: Registered Republican, Iowa. A former anchor at KGAN in Cedar Rapids, O’Donnell was elected mayor of that city last year.
Sarah Palin: Republican, Alaska. Worked as a sports journalist at KTUU and KTVA in Anchorage, before… well, you know what happened next. Currently attempting a political comeback in Alaska. Sued the New York Times for libel and lost this year.
Dan Patrick: Republican, Texas. Also worked as a sports journalist, at stations in Scranton, DC, and Texas. Now the lieutenant governor of the latter state. Born Dannie Goeb, he was reportedly advised by a station manager in Scranton to change his last name to “Patrick” because it was easier to pronounce. Not to be confused with the other sportscaster called Dan Patrick.
Maclovio Perez: Democrat, Texas. A longtime broadcaster and meteorologist, Perez was reportedly known as “the number one weatherman” in San Antonio before decamping for KCBS in LA. He then returned to Texas, lastly as the broadcast meteorologist at KRIS in Corpus Christi. He is now the Democratic nominee for a US House seat in Texas.
Charles Pugh: Party affiliation unclear, Michigan. An anchor and reporter at WJBK in Detroit before serving as president of the city council there. Jailed after pleading guilty to child sexual abuse in 2016. (He had given his victim production tasks at WJBK.) Released in 2021.
Trey Radel: Republican, Florida. Was an anchor at WINK in Fort Myers, Florida, among other media roles; at one point, he acquired the Naples Journal before selling it to E.W. Scripps. Elected to the US House of Representatives from a Florida district in 2012, but resigned after a year in office after pleading guilty to cocaine charges. Later resurrected his career in radio.
Gerard Ramalho: Republican, Nevada. A former anchor at KSNV in Las Vegas, Ramalho launched a bid for Nevada secretary of state last year by standing on a TV-studio-style set and bemoaning how the media has “an agenda” these days. He lost the Republican primary.
Tom Reddin: Party affiliation unclear, California. A police officer in Los Angeles who, according to his obituary in the LA Times, was “widely credited with modernizing the LAPD” and introducing community policing. Served as police chief from 1967 to 1969, winning a reputation as a talented communicator, then went to work as an anchor at KTLA, where he was apparently less successful. Ran for mayor in 1973, but only finished fourth in the primary.
Norman Rice: Democrat, Washington State. Worked at KOMO TV and the radio station KIXI in Seattle while a student, before working at a bank. Served on Seattle’s city council, then as the city’s first Black mayor from 1990 to 1994. Succeeded Charles Royer (see below).
Glenn Rinker: Republican, Florida. A longtime anchor at WRC in DC and WPLG in Miami, Rinker ran for a US House seat in Florida and won the Republican nomination, but lost in the general election. After that he returned to working as a TV anchor, at WPCX in Orlando.
Mark Ronchetti: Republican, New Mexico. A TV meteorologist at KRQE in Albuquerque, Ronchetti won the GOP nomination for US Senate in 2020, only to lose the race to Democrat Ben Ray Luján. Returned to his old job at KRQE after that, leading the Society of Professional Journalists to express concern. Ronchetti dismissed the criticism, saying that “politics is not involved in the weather.” Is now the GOP nominee for governor.
Charles Royer: Party affiliation unclear, Washington State. Worked as a TV reporter at KVAL, KEZI, and KOIN in Oregon, where he covered the gubernatorial campaign of Tom McCall (see above). McCall once told Royer that it’s good for journalists to seek public office because, “if they’ve been good reporters, they’ve had a graduate education in public policy. They are mostly idealistic people. And they have a good sense of smell.” Royer went on to work at KING in Seattle before himself seeking office, winning election as mayor in 1977. Served three terms, longer than any other Seattle mayor. Succeeded by Norman Rice (see above).
María Elvira Salazar: Republican, Florida. Started her career as a reporter at WLTV in Miami, before working for Telemundo and Univision. Won a US House seat in Florida in 2020.
Brett Shipp: Democrat, Texas. An investigative reporter at WFAA in Dallas, Shipp ran for a US House seat in 2018 but didn’t make it past the primary. Later joined Spectrum News 1.
Mike Snyder: Republican, Texas. A longtime anchor on NBC5 in Dallas, Snyder subsequently courted controversy when, while working in PR, he created fake Facebook accounts to berate critics, according to the Dallas Morning News. Ran for tax assessor-collector in Tarrant County in 2018, losing in a runoff in the Republican primary.
Eric Sorensen: Democrat, Illinois. A former meteorologist at WQAD in the Quad Cities area, Sorensen is now the Democratic nominee for a US House seat in Illinois, where he’s seeking to replace Cheri Bustos, the retiring Democratic incumbent. Lucy Schiller wrote a detailed profile of Sorensen for CJR in 2019, exploring how he made climate reporting local.
Robin Smith: Democrat, Missouri. A longtime anchor at KMOV in St. Louis, Smith was the Democratic nominee for Missouri secretary of state in 2016, losing the general election.
Al Swift: Democrat, Washington. Served as news director at KVOS in Bellingham, Washington, before serving eight terms in Congress as a Democrat in the state. Died in 2018.
Bill Taylor: Republican, South Carolina. Worked in TV news as a director, anchor, and reporter in the sixties and seventies, before a long career as a TV consultant. Has served in South Carolina’s House of Representatives since 2010. (Also spoke “grudgingly” with CJR in 2014.)
Natalie Tennant: Democrat, West Virginia. Worked as a reporter and anchor at two West Virginia TV stations, according to her LinkedIn profile, then owned a media-training and video-production business, before serving as West Virginia’s secretary of state between 2009 and 2017. Attempted a comeback in 2020 but lost. Also ran unsuccessfully for US Senate in 2014, losing to the Republican Shelley Moore Capito. Married to Erik Wells (see below).
Mike Thompson: Republican, Kansas. A longtime meteorologist at stations in Kansas City, Thompson has served in the Kansas state senate since 2020.
Jennifer Van Vrancken: Republican, Louisiana. Worked as a reporter and anchor in Louisiana and Alabama. Now serves on Jefferson Parish council alongside Scott Walker (see below).
Tony Ventrella: Democrat, Washington State. A longtime sports anchor at KING in Seattle, Ventrella ran as a Democrat for a Republican-held US House seat in 2016. Pulled out ahead of the primary, citing personal reasons and “tepid” support, but did so too late to be removed from the ballot and ended up advancing to the general as a “zombie candidate,” in the words of the Seattle Times. Said he’d serve if he won but urged supporters to give money to nonprofits instead of his campaign. Stayed in the race after that. Lost. Later ran for local government.
Scott Walker: Republican, Louisiana. After working at stations across the South and then at WDSU in New Orleans, Walker ran a PR consultancy and a donut shop before seeking a seat on the Jefferson Parish council. He was elected in 2019.
Jackie Walorski: Republican, Indiana. See above.
Baxter Ward: Democrat, California. An anchor at KCOP and KABC in LA in the fifties and sixties, before running unsuccessfully for mayor in 1969. Went back into local TV as an anchor before winning election as a county supervisor in 1972. Again failed to become mayor in 1989.
Erik Wells: Democrat, West Virginia. An anchor before serving as a Democratic state senator from 2006 to 2014. Married to fellow anchor-turned-politician Natalie Tennant (see above).
Tom Williams: Republican, Pennsylvania. A longtime anchor at WNEP in Scranton, Williams ran this year to be a state representative. He lost the GOP primary.
Kathleen Winn: Republican, Arizona. Once worked as a TV reporter in Tucson among other jobs, including in marketing and real estate, according to her campaign website. Ran for a US House seat in Arizona in the 2022 election cycle but lost in the Republican primary. Rejected the validity of the 2020 election, per FiveThirtyEight. Was endorsed by Kari Lake (see above).
Nadine Woodward: Party affiliation unclear, Washington State. After retiring as an anchor at KXLY in Spokane, Woodward ran for mayor of the city in 2019 and won. Followed in the footsteps of Ron Bair (see above).
Bob Young: Party affiliation unclear, Georgia. An anchor on WJBF in Augusta before serving as that city’s mayor from 1999 to 2005. Appointed to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development by George W. Bush.
Andrea Zinga: Republican, Illinois. Worked for ten years as an anchor in the Quad Cities area, for a trio of local TV stations, before making the jump to CNN, where she won an Emmy for her role in covering the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Returned to local news after a few years, stopping in Texas before returning to a Quad Cities station in 2001. Ran for a US House seat in Illinois in 2004 and lost to a longtime Democratic incumbent; narrowly won a Republican primary for the same contest in 2006, but lost again.
Other notable stories:
- Writing for The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain makes the case that the reaction to the US killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind, in Afghanistan this week has been “noticeably muted,” including in the press. If the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 “was a blockbuster, Zawahiri’s didn’t even go straight to VHS,” Hussain reads. “That it went so quietly suggests that the cultural and political behemoth that was the war on terror had already long preceded Zawahiri into the grave.” Elsewhere, the board of editors at Just Security weighed the legal justification for the drone strike that killed Zawahiri. And The Guardian’s Emma Graham-Harrison spoke with Dan Smock, a former aid worker who recognized the house where Zawahiri was reportedly killed because he used to live in it. “Reports said the CIA had intelligence that he liked to stand on the balcony,” Smock said, “and I thought, ‘Of course he would, it was a nice balcony.’”
- Yesterday, a jury in Texas ordered the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than four million dollars in compensatory damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which Jones has characterized as a hoax. Jones said that the size of the award was a “major victory” for him since the parents had asked for a much larger sum, but the jury still has to decide how much Jones must pay in punitive damages; he also faces further damages trials in Texas and Connecticut, though those could be pushed back after his company filed for bankruptcy. Last night, Jones “urged viewers to buy products from his website to stave off what he portrayed as financial ruin,” Elizabeth Williamson reports for the Times.
- Last month, The New Yorker fired Erin Overbey, its archivist. Overbey had claimed that she was placed under a performance review after publicly raising concerns about inequality at the magazine, and that David Remnick, the editor in chief, then inserted errors into her work, which The New Yorker strongly denies. Gawker’s Tarpley Hitt now reports that New Yorker staffers are challenging Overbey’s portrayal as a whistleblower. One source told Hitt that Overbey was “in danger of losing her job for performance reasons” and so “cynically appropriated the language of diversity and inclusion” to try and keep it.
- Yesterday, unionized Reuters journalists in the US went on strike for the first time in decades, in protest of a contract offer that would guarantee annual pay increases of just 1 percent. Reuters said that it is committed to reaching a deal, but striking staffers say bosses aren’t negotiating in good faith. The strike was timed to coincide with Reuters’s announcement of its second-quarter earnings, which showed strong revenue growth.
- Gannett also reported its second-quarter earnings yesterday and they were much less positive, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds reports, with “important revenue sources down, costs up and a loss of $54 million on revenues of $749 million.” The company is now planning to accelerate the sale of real estate assets as well as laying off employees, with bosses warning yesterday of “necessary but painful reductions to staffing” in the coming days.
- Also for Poynter, Amaris Castillo profiled Survivors Say, a nonprofit founded by David Guarino, a former journalist, to help survivors and relatives of victims in high-profile tragedies manage the subsequent, overwhelming interest from the press. “A lot of times, the families are left to their own devices,” Guarino told Castillo. “They’re in the middle of the worst moments of their lives and suddenly there’s reporters on their front lawn.”
- Last year, media in Greece reported on allegations that the phone of Thanasis Koukakis, a financial journalist for CNN Greece, had been infected with spyware. Now sources tell George Georgiopoulos, of Reuters, that the head of the country’s intelligence service admitted to lawmakers in a private hearing that his agency surveilled Koukakis. The hearing was called after the leader of an opposition party also alleged he was targeted.
- On Tuesday, Ernesto Méndez, the director of a news site in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, was killed alongside three other people in a beer shop—becoming the thirteenth media worker killed in the country this year. It’s not yet clear whether the killing had anything to do with Méndez’s journalistic work, the AP reports. (ICYMI, CJR’s Paroma Soni wrote about the spate of murders back in April.)
- And the Conservative Political Action Conference welcomed Viktor Orbán—the Hungarian prime minister and darling of US right-wing media, who recently said that he doesn’t want his country to become “mixed race”—to speak at its event in Dallas. Orbán bashed the press and progressives, saying, “The globalists can all go to hell. I have come to Texas.” If Orbán was trying to channel Davy Crockett, he didn’t get it quite right.
TOP IMAGE: Ashley Hinson speaks with journalists after her win in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race at her Cedar Rapids campaign office on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Hinson defeated one-term incumbent Democrat Abby Finkenauer. Hinson’s family, husband Matthew Arenholz and sons Max, 9, and Jax, 7, stood with her. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP)