Station Break

KTLA pulled into car-chase FLAP

A bizarre car chase began Monday night, July 23, at KTLA(TV) headquarters at the old Warner Bros. studios and didn't end until a couple hours and many miles later. Ruben Sierra, later named a suspect in the killing of his girlfriend, pulled up to the station gate and asked to speak with someone in the newsroom. When he wasn't allowed in, according to News Director Jeff Wald, he drove in through the exit, and police were called. Sierra then left the KTLA lot and led police on a chase, often at slow speeds and covered by news choppers from several stations, that ended with his driving around the Rampart Division police station surrounded by reporters and shouting his fears that police would kill him.

Police criticized the media's involvement. Police Commander Michael Moore told reporters that the media's overly aggressive coverage could have endangered lives. "They should never become part of the story. Tonight, I hate to tell the media from Los Angeles that you were part of the story and that is truly a tragedy."

KTLA anchor Hal Fishman responded on the air: "These pursuits are so inherently dangerous that, if the fugitive is alone and there are no drivers or pedestrians around, law enforcement should take out these lawbreakers by the most appropriate means necessary and as rapidly as possible. If they had, last night's circus would never have taken place."

Illinois noncompete bill is vetoed

Illinois Gov. George Ryan vetoed legislation heavily backed by American Federation of Television and Radio Artists that would have prohibited noncompete clauses in broadcasting contracts within the state. He argued that the Broadcast Industry Free Market Act, which passed easily in both houses of the state legislature, actually interferes with the free market by dictating contract terms.

"Clearly, Illinois broadcasters and, indeed, broadcasters throughout the nation are applauding Gov. Ryan's decision," said Dennis Lyle, president of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

AFTRA local leader Eileen Willenborg said the union will consider seeking to override the veto. The bill's 46-8 favorable vote in the state Senate and 110-3 vote in the House indicate strong support, but Republicans could balk at voting to veto the veto of a governor from their own party.

Schiller is news director at KYW-TV

Susan Schiller, currently a producer for CBS Evening News With Dan Rather, has been named news director for CBS affiliate KYW-TV Philadelphia, announced station VP and GM Marcellus Alexander. Schiller has been with the network in New York since 1990, first with CBS This Morning
and, since 1998, with Evening News. She was assistant news director for WCAU-TV Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990 and a producer there between 1982 and 1984.

Another move from Motor City

WNYW-TV New York GM James Clayton made his first major hire a familiar one: Neil Goldstein, who was Clayton's news director at WJBK-TV Detroit, becomes VP of news. In Detroit, Goldstein and Clayton were credited with boosting morale and bringing in key people to strengthen the newscast. Goldstein is a former news director at CBS' WOFR-TV Miami and was assignment editor and a producer at WABC-TV New York for 10 years.

Cameras allowed in S.D. courts

South Dakota is now the 50th state to allow cameras in its courtrooms. In a ruling released Wednesday, the state Supreme Court announced that it will allow video and audio coverage of oral arguments. The Radio-Television News Directors Association applauded the ruling.

"I'm very excited that my state has finally decided to let cameras into the courts," says Mark Millage, RTNDA chairman and news director at KELO-TV Sioux Falls. "This is an important first step for electronic journalists and citizens across South Dakota."