Two local news anchors in Bangor, Maine resigned on air without warning over claims they were not allowed by upper management to pursue their ethical duties as reporters.
Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio of ABC affiliate, WVII announced the move at the end of their 6 p.m. broadcast.
The pair address viewers directly in a video recording of the broadcast. “We have designed a new set for you, which is coming in December,” says Michaels, who was also the station’s news director. “Unfortunately we won’t be here to sit on it.”
In a report by the Bangor Daily News, Michaels and Consiglio describe a long-running stand-off with the station’s management over journalistic practices.
“I just wanted to know that I was doing the best job I could and was being honest and ethical as a journalist,” says Michaels. “And I thought there were times when I wasn’t able to do that.”
As for the reasoning behind the surreptitious maneuver, Michaels explains, “We figured if we had tendered our resignations off the air, we would not have been allowed to say goodbye to the community on the air, and that was really important for us to do that.”
Neither Michaels nor Consiglio went into detail about the specific disagreements with management, but they say it was an ongoing matter over the past four years. “It’s a little complicated, says Michaels, “but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.”
The general manager of the station, Mike Palmer, says, “Upper management is not involved in the daily production of the news. Period.” Palmer says he has already posted job openings to find replacements for the outgoing anchors.
“We’ll hire experienced people to fill these positions sooner rather than later,” says Palmer.