Tegna’s Seattle NBC affiliate KING seems to be struggling with keeping its staff safe during the pandemic.
A staffer has revealed to TVSpy that Covid-19 cases are occurring at “an alarming rate,” raising questions about the station’s commitment to Covid prevention and the care of its employees.
In a screenshot of an email (left) sent to TVSpy, executive producer Alexandra Vitale encourages staff to “show their faces” and attend a Nightside editorial meeting. While many companies are still letting employees work remotely to avoid exposure and spread of the virus, KING employees were brought back to the office in July.
According to the anonymous source, five employees have tested positive since the New Year. Below, you can see screen shots of four emails between December and Jan. 18 from gm Christy Moreno, warning employees of positive test results and asking them to stay safe.
Moreno and news director Julie Wolfe came to the station from Tegna-owned WHAS in Louisville, Ky. Moreno started in August, while Wolfe started in June.
The staffer told us, the station has “been unwilling to have employees return to a WFH model. This is unbelievably confusing since we did so for about 16 consecutive months prior to our return in July.”
UPDATE: KING told us its No. 1 priority since the beginning of the pandemic has been ensuring employee health and safety.
“As we anticipated travel and gatherings during the holidays, we took proactive steps to decrease the density in our building. Sales teams have been working remotely since mid-December and digital content staff began working remotely over the past few weeks,” KING said in a statement. “We’ve also provide flexibility for field crews to drive their own vehicles, so they do not need to share rides with others. We have limited in-person meetings and access to the control room and studio. After a recent Town Hall meeting with all staff, we took additional steps to reduce the density in our building.”
The station added, “Some jobs by their nature cannot be done remotely, but we continually stress the importance of our mask, social distancing and hygiene guidelines and our vaccination policy for all employees went into effect in mid-November.”