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Providence, R.I.— Jeffrey Derderian, the TV reporter whose Providence nightclub caught fire earlier this year, killing nearly 100 and injuring scores of others, has resigned from WPRI-TV.
The fire apparently began after 1980s rock band Great White used pyrotechnics in its show.
Responsibility for the tragedy has been difficult to assign and is the subject of numerous lawsuits and investigations.
Both Derderian, who had joined the station only days before, and WPRI-TV were criticized for perceived conflicts because the station cameraman, who captured dramatic parts of the spectacular fire, was at Derderian's nightclub to shoot footage for a story Derderian was reporting on safety in public buildings.
S.C. Senator Blasts News Directors
Charleston, S.C.— State Sen. Robert Ford has told thousands of constituents that Charleston news directors have conspired to keep him off the air. In a mailing to some 50,0000 constituents, the senator, who did not return calls, said that local news execs have colluded to deny him airtime.
The contention has baffled the news directors. WCSC-TV News Director Don Pratt responds that he has counted more than 100 appearances of the senator in news stories on his station in an eight-month period—admittedly, some were multiple airings of the same story—and in significant numbers on other stations.
Moreover, Pratt and WCIV-TV News Director Perry Boxx scoff at the accusation of collusion, citing competition as a considerably stronger motivation than any imagined antipathy for a state official. Both news directors said that their contacts with their peers have been few and infrequent—Boxx came into the market only this year—and that, if there have been any conference calls or meetings, they must have missed them.
Libin Joins Poynter
St. Petersburg, Fla.— Scott Libin, former news director at KSTP-TV Minneapolis, will become director of development and outreach at the Poynter Institute. It's a return trip for Libin, who was a faculty member at Poynter in the mid 1990s, after being a reporter, anchor and news director at WGHP Greensboro, N.C., and before his five-year run as news director at KSTP-TV St. Petersburg. Since leaving KSTP-TV, Libin has been teaching under an academic fellowship at the University of Minnesota.
At Poynter, a continuing-education center for journalists, Libin takes a newly created position that will include some fundraising. "I tell them I have no experience at fundraising," he says. "They tell me they think that's a good thing. This is something Poynter has not done before, either."
The Buck Starts Here
San Francisco— Bay Area station KRON-TV, which famously re-launched as an independent after losing its NBC affiliation in 2002, is adding a 30-minute weekday noon program about investing and money management. Rob Black & Your Money
will team the syndicated radio financial-show host with financial reporter Cheryl Casone.
They will provide market analysis and tips, as well as answer e-mail and phone questions.
News by and for Teens
Al Primo's syndicated Eyewitness Kids News
will team up with kids' news publisher Weekly Reader to cover news produced by and aimed at early teens. The 100-year-old publishing company, whose publications boast 11 million subscribers, will be the program's education specialist. Eyewitness Kids
also partners with Children's Pressline, formerly Children's Express, for weekly features. The syndicated TV program will expand its "Kids in the Street" segment to include Weekly Reader
polling and will poll viewers and readers around the world, with the help of AP. Primo pioneered the then-revolutionary Eyewitness News
format, which debuted on his watch at KYW-TV Philadelphia and made a major splash when he brought it to WABC-TV New York. Eyewitness Kids News
airs in more than 150 markets, Primo says, including KABC-TV Los Angeles, WCVB-TV Boston and KDKA-TV Pittsburgh.