Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Former KTVU 'MO2' Weekday Anchor/Political Reporter Mark Curtis Gets Cut in Providence; Posts Status on Facebook; 'I Have Many Good Years Ahead Of Me'

 Got a text from the great political reporter, Mark Curtis, on Tuesday: "I was let go today, Rich."

Curtis, you may recall, anchored and reported on politics for KTVU from 1993 until 2008. He was mysteriously and out of the blue replaced by current morning (MO2) co-anchor, Dave Clark.

For the past five years Curtis has been anchoring in Providence at the ABC affiliate, WLNE.

He took to Facebook to post the following:

Dear friends and viewers:
As of today I am no longer with ABC 6 News in Providence. As a 38-year media professional, I am available for work in all aspects of the communications business including: news, public relations, government affairs, lobbying, legislative relations and business communications. As many of you know, I also earned a Doctoral degree and am available to teach at the college level. For resume, work samples, and employment offers please contact me at Mark@MarkCurtisMedia.com .


The timing could not have come at a worse time for Curtis, as his forte, Washington politics and the upcoming 2016 Presidential campaign are about to commence. The Iowa Caucuses are less than a year away. Curtis's analysis and political acumen are second to none. He's been doing some reporting for KGO Radio here and appeared on the morning news with some thoughts about Hillary Clinton's news conference.


I asked Curtis about his  fallout: "Well, I'm already getting job offers and calls from all over the country."


I'm going to state something that will be met with controversy. Curtis is a damn good newsman; he's also victim of an industry that doesn't take too kind to middle-aged white guys with a little extra body girth. That's right, I said it.


Sue me.


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26 comments:

  1. Thank you for telling the truth, Rich. Yes, there is a bias against white men these days. Anyone that disagrees with me, just read the vitriol in some of the posts that are sure to comment on my post here. I'm not saying things weren't different 50/60 years ago, but that doesn't make it right in this day and age to practice discrimination against "whitey" either.

    Mark Curtis was a fine reporter on KTVU, and I'm sure he is still excellent. I would enjoy seeing him back at KTVU, and viewers in the Bay Area would benefit from his true journalism practice. All best wishes to him.

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    1. So so true. We've spent far too long being "politically correct" only to have those same people piss all over us as we become the minority. Will they bend over backwards for us as much as we've bent over backwards for them?

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    2. You guys are full of crap! White men have had the upper hand in every aspect of this society ever since this country was founded and recently are receiving the same treatment minorities have ALWAYS had to put up with, and they are whining to high heaven? smh.

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    3. I worked with Mark at KTVU, and he was a professional, and courteous and respectful to everyone. He had a good sense of humor as well. On his last day, as Tim McVay, the then GM that was tasked to deliver the hatchet to Marks' neck, Tim told a newsroom full of people at Marks' 'ging away party" that 'Mark is a true professional, and a resource to any newsroom. His talent cannot be matched". A voice from the corner of the KTVU newsroom than queried "Then why did you fire him?'. Crickets and a deathly silence. Just another day in the life of a corporate douchebag for McVay.

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  2. They say the first thing you need these days to find a job is to not be over fifty.

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    1. A at 9:12am, as a 54 year old male with close to 30 years experience with a wide skill set in broadcast production, I whole heartedly agree with your statement.

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  3. I would watch or listen to any station that features Mark Curtis. Period.

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  4. I always appreciated watching and listening to Mark Curtis. Unlike today's reporters, he gives an unbiased account of whatever he's tasked to do. Before I even finished your article Rich, I thought the same thing. Middle aged White guy with way too much education and experience.

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  5. The industry does not take well to white males, period.

    I travel the country a lot, and whatever hotel I'm watching the news from, at least one anchor is a young, cute Latina or Asian (mostly Latina), even in towns that have virtually no Latina representation. White men are laughed at when they talk about discrimination, even though they receive it nowadays far more than anyone else.

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  6. If we're going to be honest, let's get to the root of the problem. Yes, there is discrimination, of all types, at play in the media. (And no shortage of it outside the media as well.) But the root cause of most of it is the insane chase for viewers and listeners in the demos that are increasingly tuning out in favor of Spotify or Netflix, and their "on-demand" cousins. The people who have $Billions invested in the old model have become desperate to attract the very viewers/listeners who no longer have any interest in their product. And the advertisers who want to reach those demos are increasingly going where they can be found. So instead of giving those demos what they want, they feed them increasing quantities of eye candy (i.e., young, hot, vapid "talent") and Stupidville stories. And the eyes and ears that are left behind are increasingly in the demos that can't be sold, which leads to even more diminution of anything substantive. Hence, the death spiral the industry is in today. Good work, geniuses.

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    1. Spot on. The people trying to make this into a race issue with crocodile tears for the demise of the middle aged white guy are ignorant. Take a look at what happened with KGO radio and its list of distinguished middle aged white guy hosts who got kicked to the curb. Was it because they were white? No it was because the idiots who own the company would rather pay peanuts while at the same time try to appeal to the "young demo" who is not tuning in anyway. The suits would rather pay a blond bimbo to read stories about Bruce Jeners' sex change than pay top dollar to a guy like Curtis with his pedigree and it doesn't matter whether he's white, yellow, black or brown. What matters is green baby.

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  7. As an Asian-American male....I don't care if there's a bias against White males. It's pretty near a damn shutout for Asian males.

    Besides...you're all wrong. Just tour the country, and tune in to the local news. Everywhere you go--especially in the midwest and south--it's a White guy in the #1 seat.

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    1. Seriously? How are Da Lin or VDLC employed if not for a strong desire to have an asians on TV.

      Tell the truth, you're Sarah Silverman aren't you.

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  8. I think the only real discrimination in the media is against smart people....

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  9. Diversity and Inclusion? Not here. Look at the racks on Fox News. Big titties, low clevage and seductive looks are the norm. It's sad that it's like that, but that's how it is in this world. That's okay. Just remember: you see the same people on the way up as you do on the way down. Also, what goes around comes around. A lot of truth to it. Hopefully, Mark Curtis finds his way. If he looked like Popeye's pappy, that's one thing. But he's not some old craggy alcoholic reporter.

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  10. Rich, I don't completely disagree with you. The middle-age and paunchy characteristics are true. But it's not just white males. I can name a few middle-age minority reporters who had great careers in the Bay Area that were let go. Search your memory, you know who I'm talking about. It's more about age discrimination, not race or even gender. This happens in markets across the country to a lot of middle-age TV news pros, again, regardless or race or gender.

    Maybe being a newspaper or radio reporter means more longevity in journalism. In local TV, it's better to have a young, good looking reporter than a great, older reporter.

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  11. Most old white anchors switch to old spice and the anchor bimbos swooooon!

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  12. I’m an oldster, but I have to take issue with some of this. First of all, we’re smarter? About what? The only thing we certainly have on younger people is wisdom of a long time perspective and the benefits that bestows upon us. As to what’s marketable, they certainly have an edge and can see what’s taking place because they’re the ones who live it the most. They’re on top of what’s hot and what sells and know how to talk about it in a way that is entertaining to the target demographic. What the most people advertisers are interested in (for better or worse) that they see on TV are much of what people complain about here….seemingly vacuous anchors and field reporters, pretty/handsome young faces, bit tits and charisma with the girls (guys can watch if they want, but advertisers don’t care). This kind of leaves old white guys who have been around forever, especially if they are gravitationally challenged and wrinkled, out of the loop, unless they’re like Stan Chambers (who joined KTLA in Los Angeles in 1947 as a reporter and remained there as a reporter after 60 some-odd years) as kind of a symbol of continuity. But that’s usually reserved for just one or two anchors or reporters in special circumstances, and they’re not new hires. The mainline hiring profile is young, chatty, and pretty/handsome, Latino or black and whites as well. It’s what most people in the advertising demographics want to watch.

    Back when there was much less competition, stations were enormously profitable to the extent that news departments were kind of written off not as a profit center but as a cost of doing business. As such, the prevailing wisdom was producing a news product that was stodgy and Cronkite-ish in order to build trust in the product. The big networks still operate somewhat this way, but now competition is far more intense and news departments have to be profit centers for the target demographic as well. Stations have to pay attention to what 25-54 year old females want to watch.

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  13. I wrote the 3:59 post, and my Chinese wife reprimanded me for not mentioning that Asians do make up a significant percentage of new hires in areas where they mostly live. Here in the Bay Area, and in LA there are quite a few Asian anchors and reporters, both male and female. In Oklahoma City, however, where few Asians live, you probably aren't going to see as many.

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  14. Anonymous @ 3:59 addresses some pretty compelling issues. News, at the network and local levels, used to be a "loss leader," meaning that the news operation was done as an obligation, almost a public service, and thus demographics were not a concern. I don't think enough people watch local news now to fret about vacuous anchors and miss the old timers... I honestly think local newscasts are flailing and are trying to remain "relevant" and vital with an attempt to balance news with appearances (sets, graphics, fast pace and repeating headlines twice or more). It may be sinking in that no big-market station can possibly offer all things to all people in an ever more diverse audience, so good looking people is kind of a default status. All this being said there should be a place for a Mark Curtis in any market.

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  15. Mark Curtis is a good guy. He provided terrific news coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign after getting let go by KTVU. He deserves better.

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  16. Why doesn't he do what most out-of-work journalists do? Go into PR. I'm sure some candidate somewhere could use his media advice.

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  17. I don't think the discrimination is against white men, but white men who don't look the part. Think Broadcast News with William Hurt and Albert Brooks. Brooks was the superior journalist, but Hurt had the right look and knew how to work the camera. It is a visual medium.

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  18. No matter who you are or your race. At some point you are going to get dumped. And once a male is older than 50 years, bless each day that you have a job. The day of working a job for 40 years and receiving a gold watch are long gone.

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    1. This is true, and back in the 1970s or so, when stations starting hiring women, a lot of them remained. Now they're also getting long in the tooth and having to hit the bricks along with the older men.

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