Tuesday, September 15, 2009

KTNV veep to RJ: "Nina Stays"!?!?!


The Review-Journal's Steve Bornfeld reported last night that KTNV's VP and GM Jim Prather has declared Nina Radetich absolved of having betrayed her colleagues' trust and attempting to help her boyfriend profit personally from the same.

“We’re standing by her 100 percent,” Prather told Bornfeld. “She regrets having made that mistake and I think we have all learned from this incident. Nina has worked very hard for more than a decade to do stories and provide news coverage of Las Vegas and I don’t think we should lose sight of the work she’s done. We are working hard to do investigative journalism for the city and the community and that’s not going to stop.”

That is an exceptional level of lame. As I wrote yesterday, Ron Futrell worked there for 25 years and was cut loose on a traffic citation that was later dropped. Young Rob Blair's career was nearly short-circuited by a verbal flub in a pretaped -- meaning nobody else who saw it before it rolled thought it was much, either -- weather report for which he apologized.

Has Nina apologized? Not to her newsroom and not to the public. But thanks, Mr. Prather, for liberating us not to have to speculate on what part of the Las Vegas Sun's blockbuster is was accurate. You've confirmed all of it in that remark when even a little piece of it would have been fatal.

Now the question must become: How does Jim Prather still have a job? The level of journalistic corruption at this station is clearly breathtaking and nobody in their right mind is going to risk confiding in KTNV reporters when there are three other news divisions, two daily newspapers and countless Internet outlets. But he doesn't care because, what? He's social friends with this particular anchor? That's what his own reputation is worth?

From a purely financial standpoint, I'm trying to conceive how Prather justifies his decisions to his corporate master, Journal Broadcast Group, which has but three "values" tenets on its website. Here they are:
  • We will hire and keep the best people and reward top performers
  • We will work hard, move fast, and achieve our goals
  • We will act ethically
They're funning us, right? How, as Mayor Koch used to say, they doin'? He spent huge amounts of their dough recruiting Radetich -- paying her through her the year she was contractually obligated to KVBC to not work on-air in this market -- and has absolutely, positively nothing to show for it except, now, this enormous scandal. The ratings have actually fallen. These are already lean times.

I'm all for standing by a troubled employee when their personal life interferes with their professional duties and a little patience can make things better. But that's not what Prather did for Futrell or Blair. He has defined the parameters of his employment standards and it is this: Alleged, later absolved hit-and-run? Unforgivable. Admitted journalistic betrayal and profiteering? Teachable moment. Huh?!?

So tell us, Mr. Prather, what have you or Nina or your staff learned that they didn't already know? You and/or Nina needed reminding that journalists don't leak stories to sources or help them to mitigate the damage of those stories? Really? How did either of you get this far without that choice bit of intel?

This is a teachable moment alright. We've all learned a lot about how seriously KTNV takes its "values."

[P.S. to the LVRJ.Com: Also lame, although not nearly as much, is not linking to the Sun's story from your blog. They beat you. Live with it. You receive tons of incoming traffic from other media sites yet your policy is not to point your readers to the source material you're writing about? Sheesh.]


Russ said...

I agree that Nina should be fired for what she did, but you really gotta stop comparing her to "poor Rob Blair".

I watched that newscast that he made the racist remark a few times. He clearly said "Martin Luther Coon King". He didn't flub the "King" part as some have said, he knew what he was saying. Yes, he did apologize, because he thought he was going to get fired. I remember watching it thinking, "what an idiot." He was fired after his black co-workers threatened to walk out. This clearly was not a case of an innocent flub.


Hi Russ -- I just flat-out disagree. He didn't say it "a few times" - it was a one-time thing and he slurred/fumbled the syllable "Loo--" with "King" to produce "Coon." And, again, it was taped to air. If it was so obvious, what about the editors who let it go? It's simply illogical to suggest that a weatherman would deliberately make such a joke. I wish I could find the YouTube clip, though, to let blog readers see for themselves. I can't believe it's been washed off the web...

mike_ch said...

"The ratings have fallen."

Is this kind of stuff actually online, or are you getting it from Miles or another source?

Anonymous said...

It's b.s that management did not stand behind both Ron & Rob, but they support Nina?? ...and as for Rob Blair, I remember seeing that telecast, I believe it was a Saturday morning weekend forecast wasnt it?? After they came back from commercial, I think it was news anchor Christina Brown who said Rob Blair had something to say...and he apologized...I was thinking what? What did he say wrong?..I never thought he said "coon"..His vowel pronunciation was just messed up that's all.


Mike_Ch: Sources inside 13 told me this. It's not in dispute .I could theoretically get it from Miles, but i wouldn't ask him to do so given his own position.

Anonymous said...

I was there and Rob Blair didn't say coon. He slurred the words King and Junior, and then quickly corrected himself.

It was a total surprise when the calls started coming in. We had to go back and review the tape to see what people were talking about. Even then, evidence was very thin.

Anonymous said...

I got some incomplete information this afternoon from a source who says Nina's tongue is tied, but that there is more to the story. According to the Sun article, Nina was asked by two KTNV sales staffers if her boyfriend, PR mavin Jack Finn, had talked to the tire store about spinning its poor showing in a Channel 13 investigative report. That's a weird question for sales people to ask an anchor. Also remember that the store is an advertiser on KTNV. Has anyone looked into whether the store owner was threatening to pull advertising dollars from KTNV? Did Nina make the call, because she thought it was a really good idea...or did someone else, who might have been upset at the prospect of the adverising dollars drying up, suggest to Nina to make that call? While we're at it, I'd also love to know how many of the donors to Nina's Night Out charity are, in fact KTNV advertisers looking to get their names read on TV in the context of giving back to the community.

Anonymous said...

I heard the Rob Blair thing on Howard Stern of all places.. and even Howard and his bunch agreed that it was nothing more than a 'flub' and were surprised he was getting such heat for it..