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LGBTQ Nation: Newsroom staff revolts against managers who told them to cover fewer pride events


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A local TV newsroom is facing a staff revolt over guidance about covering Pride events in June.

The all-staff memorandum distributed Tuesday instructed reporters and producers to cover fewer Pride events and also to “get both sides of the issue.”


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The memo from management at WOOD-TV Channel 8 in Grand Rapids, MI was shared with the Detroit Free Press and went on to say that the station had heard “pushback from viewers who are not happy to see those Pride related stories,” adding that “while you personally may not agree with a certain position, people are entitled to their opinions and they are our viewers.”

Staff were outraged at the notion public opinion should guide the TV station’s news coverage.

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“This memo was met with immediate pushback from our newsroom,” posted Luke Stier, an executive producer at the station. “The guidance is not being followed.”

This memo was met with immediate pushback from our newsroom. The guidance is not being followed.

The only two people involved in its creation have been removed from any discussions surrounding @WOODTV Pride coverage as our corporation conducts a thorough investigation. https://t.co/8S9EZ8qC73

— Luke Stier (@LukeStier) June 15, 2023

News anchor Michelle DeSelms wrote: “Our newsroom immediately stood up to the 2 managers who wrote a memo mandating that we cover ‘the other side’ of Pride events: essentially requiring us to give equal time to hate and discrimination. We said no, and will continue to fight for our LGBTQ colleagues, family members.”

Our newsroom immediately stood up to the 2 managers who wrote a memo mandating that we cover “the other side” of Pride events: essentially requiring us to give equal time to hate and discrimination. We said no, and will continue to fight for our LGBTQ colleagues, family members https://t.co/HFxUcjP6gJ

— Michele DeSelms💕🎤🏃🏻‍♀️ (@MicheleDeSelms) June 15, 2023

An unnamed source at the station confirmed news director Stanton Tang was one of the individuals responsible for the all-staff memorandum.

Reached by phone, Tang would neither confirm nor deny he was an author of the guidance. When asked which managers wrote the memo, Tang referred LGBTQ Nation to the station’s general manager, Julie Brinks.

A call to Brinks and a request for comment went unanswered. On Friday, she released a statement that “WOOD-TV is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to covering and reporting the news of the day in an expansive and inclusive fashion, consistent with these values.”

She said the station’s owner, Nexstar, will “take appropriate action as necessary to address this situation, and we apologize for offending members of the LGBTQ community and WOOD-TV’s viewers.”

The ham-fisted attempt to impose opinions from “both sides” on the station’s Pride coverage also earned a response from the Nexstar Media Group.

“The communication regarding the station’s coverage of PRIDE month activities in the area is not consistent with Nexstar’s values, the way we cover the news, or the respect we have for our viewers,” said Gary Weitman, executive vice president of the Texas-based media company.

Weitman apologized “for offending members of the LGBTQ community and WOOD-TV’s viewers,” and pledged to “take appropriate action as necessary to address this situation.”

“It has been an awfully difficult week for our newsroom,” another Channel 8 producer posted to Twitter. “The silver lining in this mess is that our staff is united in pushing back on this ridiculous and hurtful memo that was sent out.”

Since this out there now, I’ll weigh in. It has been an awfully difficult week for our newsroom. The silver lining in this mess is that our staff is united in pushing back on this ridiculous and hurtful memo that was sent out. https://t.co/tLBCHPy2Fk

— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) June 15, 2023

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