WPSD weekend meteorologist Tori Shaw is out at the at Paducah, Ky., NBC affiliate.
Shaw was arrested Tuesday on multiple charges including a felony cultivating marijuana charge.
WPSD vp of news and operations Bill Evans sent TVSpy the text of a letter the station also posted on its website saying Shaw would not be returning to work, but not because of the arrest.
“What you, the viewers, don’t know is that Tori had planned on leaving our employment at the end of February,” said Shaw in the letter. “She and I spoke back in December and she shared with me her desire to end her contract six months early. Working together we decided on Saturday, February 27th as her last day. With the timing of her resignation and this arrest, Tori will not be returning to work.”
Viewers have started a support page on Facebook. They’ve also been posting messages of support on Shaw’s Facebook page. One viewer wrote, “I see nothing wrong with it. It will be legal before too long.”
Her bio has been removed from the station website.
Evans also defended the station’s coverage of Shaw’s legal troubles, saying it was “accurate, fair, respectful, transparent and ethical.”
Here’s the complete text of the letter:
Dear WPSD Local 6 viewers,
I want to share with you what I can about meteorologist Tori Shaw’s arrest, our coverage of the incident, and her employment with WPSD Local 6. I am balancing her employment privacy and transparency in our journalism.
I first want to acknowledge that many of you feel a kinship with Tori. As a member of this team she has come into your homes almost daily, you have met her at public events, and she has presented weather talks to area groups and schools.
What you, the viewers, don’t know is that Tori had planned on leaving our employment at the end of February.
She and I spoke back in December and she shared with me her desire to end her contract six months early. Working together we decided on Saturday, February 27th as her last day. With the timing of her resignation and this arrest, Tori will not be returning to work.
My newsroom observes the four principles of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
1. Seek Truth and Report it
2. Minimize Harm
3. Act Independently
4. Be Accountable and Transparent
Considering those principles I know our coverage was accurate, fair, respectful, transparent, and ethical. While we knew of Tori’s arrest for a couple of hours we did not know the charges. I met with my management team to develop a plan for our coverage. Once the news release was received from Kentucky State Police it was reviewed and stories written for our 6 p.m. newscast and Web channel. Information was posted to our social media platforms with a link back to our Web post. We also issued a breaking news alert. I believe our coverage was presented as it would have been for any public figure arrested and charged with similar crimes.
Vice President, News & Operations
WPSD Local 6