They Come and They Go

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

When familiar faces are suddenly gone from the TV without explanation, you want to know why.

There are 210 TV markets in America and Lansing is currently #114. That means we're small. Smaller than Flint-Saginaw (#68), but slightly bigger than Traverse City-Cadillac (#120). We're much smaller than Grand Rapids (#42) and tiny compared to Detroit (#11).

By being small, you have to expect new hires in Market... uhhh... looking, looking, oh yeah-- Market 114-- to be green. By green, I mean to not have much experience and in some cases none at all. The secret is starting to get out among college kids that if you don't love journalism don't get in it to make your million. Not gonna happen, to quote our favorite engineer.

Even the reporters, anchors and producers who are talented at what they do, end up getting out of the business because something more steady, better paying and much less stressful comes along at some point. Not to mention, so many stations and companies across the nation are cutting high-priced talent and paring down staffs because the money just isn't there anymore. When NBC needs to replace Matt Lauer in the next decade, it's not going to be as easy as it was when they found him, because there just aren't as many potential Matt Lauers out there anymore. Guys like Ryan Richert and Tony Tagliavia come to mind. Ryan worked here in the late 90's til about 2001. He was the classic good reporter. I thought he was the type of guy who would keep climbing from market to market and finally settle in a nice high-paying job. He married a reporter from Channel 6, went to California where they both got out of the business shortly after and he got into finance I think. Like I said, sharp guy. Tony is even smarter. Sharp as a tack and funny, Tony loved his local government stories. Knew more about the local townships in five minutes than I knew living here my whole life. True. Tony went on to Grand Rapids a few years ago and I thought for sure he'd end up in his native Madison, Wisconsin and settle there. He did-- but took a different job-- working for a school district, I think. Better hours, better money, less chance of being downsized.

I've really gone off on a tangent here. My point is, when you see a new reporter or meteorologist on the air in Lansing, 95% of the time they are light years away from working in Detroit, even Grand Rapids, and two good years away from getting a new job in a better market. Consider that when you send them an email. When you post something on the WILX News 10 Facebook page that says, "Where'd you find this guy? Dude, get him off the air-- NOW!" you should remember they are just getting their feet wet in this business and have to learn somewhere. And then thank your lucky stars you're not watching in Alpena (Market #208).

I bring this up because so many people on Facebook have asked what happened to Julie Fuson. She was our weekend meteorologist that left the station last month. It's not my place to talk about why she left, but I will say that I've never seen anyone get more derogatory emails and letters than her. People hating on her appearance, the way she talked, and anything else that apparently was fair game. I'm not going to sit here and say the media is off limits to criticism-- we're not. We're public figures that get critiqued by the public and for good reason-- if you don't like us, you change the channel and thus management has to make a change. That's the business we've chosen and having thick skin comes with the territory and the ones that don't have it aren't around very long.

Julie had very thick skin. You'd never know she was under constant attack from viewers. And to her credit she worked to improve every show. Don't worry, the negative emails didn't drive her off. She is originally from Florida and has always been working to get closer to home.

I just think it would be good to try and save this profession of ours by not driving out the ones with potential before they've had a chance to grow that thick skin. So, the next time you tune in and hate Hannah Saunders' outfit or think Fay Li made a mistake or just don't like the way Caroline Vandergriff talks and you have to send an email telling them so-- be nice. A little courtesy with your constructive criticism can make a huge difference. Maybe you could even tell them what you DO like about them as well. Especially since one day down the road they could be replacing the person who replaced Matt Lauer or Katie Couric.

As for the veterans like Tim, Andy, Darrin, David and myself, we're fair game. So, the next time you think I'm being an insensitive jerk-- fire away.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Harriet Videto Location: Jackson, MI 49201 on Mar 18, 2013 at 03:14 PM
    Hey, what happened to Lauren Evans? She was trying to tell us and was interrupted by a commercial....please let me know what happened?
  • by janeen sanchez Location: grand ledge on Oct 2, 2012 at 06:13 PM
    I liked Julie, too, thought she did a good job, and missed her and wondered... Mostly I watch to hear the local news and the weather, and can't for the life of me ever recall what somebody has worn or how they fixed their hair, too busy fussing over an actual news item that ruffled my feathers to fixate on silly details! And mostly, I don't like change! I like to turn on the program and see familiar faces each time.
  • by Barbara Location: Location on Oct 2, 2012 at 05:59 PM
    I wish there had been a way to let "us" know that Julie was under to speak.I really believe many more of us would have stepped up and into her corner had we known.She was a darling and yes....I noticed that she didn't have it all together when she started but I also noticed how quickly she was making changes.She had the lovliest,warmest, real down to earth smile and THAT is what I miss..because that smile was a window to her soul.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Aug 13, 2012 at 01:17 AM
    I'm really sorry to see that Julie left the station. I'm sorry to see she's gone I really liked her. She had a great smile and with no disrespect meant to Darrin she was a site easier on the eyes. She will be missed greatly and I wish her and her Husband safe travels and much happyness
  • by Barbara Location: Mason on Aug 4, 2012 at 04:11 AM
    I have been wondering where Julie went. I enjoyed her very much. Seems like we start to make a connection and the person is gone. How sad for the viewers that the negetive remarks/people get more of a say then the rest of us. The best of luck to her whereever she is.
  • by John Location: Eaton Rapids on Jul 14, 2012 at 09:08 PM
    Yep My daughter and I watched for Julie every weekend. We realy enjoyed her and will miss her. You could tell she was learning at first, but she was always completely sincere & got better every day. Nice to look at too! Hope she stays in the business. Good Luck Julie.
  • by Jack Location: Holt on Jul 9, 2012 at 03:30 PM
    Thanks for the update Jason. I had been wondering why she left. We enjoyed her here and will miss her. It's nice that WILX is willing to give the 'newbies' a chance to learn and grow. I'm sure Lauren will move up quick (I expect to see her on CNN some day). Fay, Hannah, Caroline.....all good choices and worth keeping! Keep up the good work!
  • by BB Location: East Lansing on Jun 30, 2012 at 03:36 PM
    Sorry Julie left. She really was growing into the job, and before she left, I was enjoying her performance. I am also sorry to learn that she was abused so much. She didn't deserve that. I wish her well.
  • by Betty on Jun 27, 2012 at 09:40 AM
    We really liked Julie and miss seeing her. Hence, my search to find out what happened. Very sorry some were so mean. If possible, please forward our good wishes.
  • by Judy Location: Lansing on Jun 23, 2012 at 08:43 AM
    Julie grew considerably in her role as meteorologist and I gradually learned to appreciate her determination to do a good job. People can be so mean, it is called BULLYING you know, and whether or not Julie had thick skin to ward off the attacks, the unpleasant experience she had will stay with her. Special thanks to the staff of WILX who treated her on screen as a colleague and friend (I believe it was Liam who always called her 'Jewels'!) I smiled every time he called her that!
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