Following the abrupt dismissal of longtime anchor Mike Dimmick, staffers at WEEK–including on-air talent–dressed in black on Friday as a show of solidarity.
“It is a sad day when a 29-year employee and broadcast veteran is denied an opportunity to have a respectable send off,” WEEK anchor Garry Moore, and president of the local chapter of AFTRA, told TVSpy via email. “Management called a couple of people upstairs and told them that Wednesday was his last day. It was supposed to be September 16th. Essentially, they’re paying him to stay home.”
Dimmick recently accepted a job outside of the TV news business and, in a now-notorious interview with the Peoria Journal Star, the veteran newsman criticized WEEK management and the station’s “slow slide from the journalism I knew.”
Here’s Moore on Dimmick’s comments and the station’s reaction:
As Journalists, our job is to tell it like it is. Mike did that, and obviously the truth hurts when you’re Granite Management… Rather than engage in acts of vindictiveness, we hope the Company will truly see how detrimental its policies have been. Thinking optimistically, maybe this is the cathartic, teachable moment for Granite. Maybe, someone in the uppercrust will wake up and say ‘Enough is enough…we need to have policies that affirm our ability to serve the public, not disruptive ones that strip resources and make our people feel insecure.’ Until that happens, our members will continue to speak out, to let the community know that local journalism in the public interest is being threatened.
On Monday, Labor Day, at least ten of our members plan to march in Peoria’s Labor Day Parade.
On Friday, Dimmick returned to the station to grab his stuff. He brought in ice cream and popsicles, following a newsroom tradition that anyone who appears in the newspaper has to bring in treats for the staff.