In Petraeus Scandal, All Roads Go Through Tampa

By Merrill Knox 

When news broke last week that David Petraeus was resigning his post as CIA director after having an affair, at least one newsroom staffer in Tampa had an inkling the market could become a focal point in the scandal.

“When the Petraeus resignation story broke nationally last Friday, a senior reporter in the newsroom remarked it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a Tampa story,” WTSP news director Peter Roghaar told TVSpy. “He was spot on.”

Sure enough, over the weekend, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley emerged as a central figure in the scandal, which continues to unfold even six days later. For WTSP, that means taking a two-pronged approach to local and national coverage.


“We have seven reporters actively reporting on-air, plus several more reporters and producers working off-air making calls, gathering documents and checking with sources,” Roghaar said.

On the national level, the station is also sharing resources with reporters from Gannett, WTSP’s parent company. WTSP is providing live coverage for several of the company’s stations, including WKYC in Cleveland and WTLV in Jacksonville, and working closely with two USA Today reporters in Tampa to cover the story. The newsroom is also sharing information with CBS, relying on its affiliated network for the Washington, DC angle of the story.

The local focus has been on Kelley and her role in the timeline of events, Roghaar said.

“What did she do in her role as social liaison at MacDill AFB, what was her access to the base and to the personnel there, and what exactly were her relationships with David Petraeus and John Allen,” Roghaar said.

The story has lead all of WTSP’s newscasts since Sunday, and Roghaar says it has been a draw online, where the station has been compiling documents and other information on its website.

“Every day more details emerge,” he said.