Monday, August 27, 2012

Stephen Dean resigns from WSYX 6 in Columbus

In a surprise move, former KPRC 2 investigative reporter Stephen Dean has submitted his resignation from the same job at WSYX 6 in Columbus, Ohio.

You might remember the Peabody Award-winning reporter just started with the Sinclair station last last May.

"It's not workable for me," Dean told mikemcguff.com Friday afternoon by phone. "Everyone who has worked with me knows when it comes to journalistic ethics, I don't
bend."

This was a homecoming job for Dean because both he and his wife have family in Ohio.
He sounded very disappointed because he really wanted this to work out

When I pressed Dean for his reason for leaving, he said there was not a particular instance, but a pattern that began in his first days there.

"My ethics have always been completely unbendable, when I feel I cannot do my job with those ethics, then I can't do my job at that station," Dean explained to me.

Dean did say that his first two months at WSYX exceeded his wildest dreams. He was proud of the fact he had put more hidden camera stories on air than he says had been produced for that market in years.

Here is one of the stories I could find online he was particularly excited about.

Dean was Houston bound when he talked to me. His family is still here and trying to sell their house.

"When I look in the mirror tomorrow morning, I will be satisfied," Dean told me.

I called the WSYX creative services director/promotions manager for comment Friday afternoon, but did not hear back from him.


14 comments:

  1. The investigative reporter position is still open at KPRC. He could go back; do you think he will Mike?

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    1. I don't know about that, but I can say that I've been contacted by another station wanting Dean's phone number.

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  2. I'm betting he ran into problems with the Sales Department. The Sales Mgr was probably pressuring him to go easy on big advertisers and "Friends of Management." That is usually the biggest battle investigative reporters have to fight, and the Sales Department always wins.

    Back in the mid 80s at a radio station in east Texas I learned that a big local car dealer was deliberately falsifying his inventory to dodge state property taxes. I worked up a great story revealing it, but the station owner killed it because that car dealer was one of the station's biggest advertisers.

    Hit Shappens.

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  3. *Here is one of the stories I could find online he was particularly excited about.*

    It doesn't look like the link is working anymore, at least for me.

    I get a "Error 503 Service Unavailable" message.

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  4. It occurs to me that I was in error when I said the Sales Dept always wins in a confrontation with an investigative reporter and stories about big advertisers. They don't always win.

    I give you the story of the late Marvin Zindler's expose of wrong-doing by one of KTRK's big sponsors - Houston Lighting and Power -- in the 1970s.

    What HL&P was doing wasn't illegal, but it was ethically "wrong" and Marvin's story said that in no uncertain terms. Before putting it on the air he called HL&P for a comment. HL&P called the station manager saying they would cancel their advertising if the story got on the air.

    The station manager asked Marvin if the story was true, and Marvin said "every word of it." The manager said fine, put it on the air. HL&P cancelled its advertising and stayed away for several years before it admitted defeat and came back to KTRK.

    It's worth noting that Marvin was independently wealthy and not hurting for money, and he had put KTRK managers on notice that he would walk out the door if anybody EVER tried to pressure him over a story. They knew he would do it, so they never tried.

    Then was then and now is now, and I doubt that any investigative reporter could have that much power in today's TV world.

    That story was told to me by the late Gene Burke, who was the Executive Producer at Eyewitness News in those days.

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  5. I'll bet that there is more to this story than we have heard so far. Stay tuned.

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  6. This is Sinclair we're talking about here. Nuff said.

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  7. Dean took a big dump on WSYX, and back-stabbed a bunch of people to get out of his contract. Ethics? What a joke. This guy is a chump.

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    Replies
    1. Why don't you share what you think you know?

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  8. Perhaps no one is watching the media of the main stream...

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  9. Anyone who knows StephenDean knows that he wouldn't back stab anyone. He most certainlly will stand up for himself and his beliefs. He and his wife wanted to be in Columbus so much. Stephens a fine man and I'm proud to know him.

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  10. And why did you call the "creative services director/promotions manager" for a comment about a newsroom employee?

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    1. That's how it is done in the big markets, so I would assume it is that way there too. In Houston and Dallas, that's who the stations want you to talk with.

      If that's not correct, then if the station wanted to comment, I would assume the "creative services director/promotions manager" would pass the message to the right person.

      I never heard back though.

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  11. Sinclair is infamous for its airing of the Swiftboat story. That ownership group is a cancer to American TV.

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