The King’s gone

Mar 16, 2005 at 12:00 am

The ink-stained wretches here at News Hits are generally disdainful of local television news. The emphasis on coverage of crime and catastrophe provides little fodder for those who want their news to have real value. Which is why we were chagrined to hear that veteran anchorman and political correspondent Emery King last week lost his job at WDIV-TV (Channel 4).

The dailies reported only that King was let go following contract negotiations between the newsman and the station he has worked at for 19 years.

On Monday, the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists leaped to King’s defense.

“Emery King is, hands-down, the area’s most talented television political reporter,” NABJ chapter president Darren A. Nichols said in a press release. “He is a 20-year fixture of the local evening news and he is someone who sets the bar for others in the industry.”

Noting that King was “only” the third black male anchor to do weeknight newscasts at the station, Nichols said his association is concerned about the process that led to King’s ouster. In addition to the canning of King, the association announced its intention to take a close look at the “overall practices in hiring, promotion and fairness” at the station.

King’s attorney, John Moye, tells News Hits that the station’s decision to cut his client loose came as a “complete surprise.”

Moye, whose Denver firm specializes in commercial and entertainment law, says he doesn’t think money is the reason for King’s ouster. The newsman was seeking a raise, but it was at an increment “below market rate,” Moye says.

“There was nothing in the contract we submitted that we thought was controversial, let alone objectionable enough to let him go. It’s just a shock to everyone, and now we have to deal with it.”

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