Political Reporter John Schwada Cut Loose at KTTV After 15 Years

By Merrill Knox 

Veteran political reporter John Schwada — who was told last month by KTTV that his contract would not be renewed after 15 years — had his last day at the station on Friday. In his honor, the Los Angeles City Council named August 12, 2011 “John Schwada Day” in LA.

Schwada has been vocal in his disapproval of the decision to end his employment at the Fox O&O, taking to his Facebook page to call his firing “a shot across the bow for every KTTV reporter.”

James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times, a longtime colleage of Schwada’s, writes about the firing — and the reasons behind it — this weekend, quoting a source familiar with the station who said KTTV is looking for someone more “versatile.” Rainey writes:

I’m afraid what that really means is that it’s cheaper and easier to put another pretty and compliant youngster in front of the camera. Cutbacks have been a leitmotif in local newsrooms for years. The first to go are often the deeply sourced, locally schooled veterans. So what if it takes the newbies a few months, or years, to understand the difference between San Bernardino and San Fernando?

For his part, Schwada remains optimistic. “Although I believe that KTTV has made a serious error in releasing me in defiance of the highest regard which I am held, my productivity as a reporter, I do believe — I need to believe — that other stations, other venues will value my experience, my courage, my integrity,” he wrote on his Facebook page.