Anchor's Scandal Is Bad News For TV

In recent days, since word that WJBK-TV Fox 2 anchor Fanchon Stinger was suspended from the air because of alleged involvement in a City of Detroit sludge contract being investigated by the FBI, I’ve been asked by several clients and contacts what I think about it. I didn’t have any opinion before, but now I do.

Today’s Detroit News details Stinger’s involvement in this scandalous contract. Her own station, also ran a story last night, with many of the facts and some observations by her colleage, Scott Lewis, one of the best reporters – regardless of medium – anywhere.

I have worked with Fanchon on stories over the years. I always found her to be professional, smart and very easy to talk to – everything you would want in a broadcast news personality. But, now, I don’t see how she could possibly have a career in Detroit going forward.

Her actions in this case lead to many questions:

-What was she doing thinking she, as a journalist, could buy advertising time for ANYONE?
-How could she do any “media consulting” as a visible anchor?
-Has being an anchor made her feel like more of a “star” and less of a reporter?
-What did management know and when did they know it?

Local TV news has a credibility issue. Many viewers tell me that watching the news these days is like watching a Saturday Night Live parody of the news. Now, the anchor of a #1 newscast in a major market is embroiled in scandal. This is the last thing her station and her industry need as TV news is in the midst of a pivotal time.