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Beard blasts KNBC news in open letter

John Beard, who has jumped from KNBC to KTTV (Daily Variety, Dec. 2), has fired off an open letter to KNBC-TV management criticizing the station’s news operation.

But KNBC officials insist the letter only went to other newsrooms and they never saw a copy.

Beard, at KNBC nearly 13 of his 27 years in broadcasting, took issue with the station’s news judgment. He wrote that “16 minutes of Michael Jackson at the top of the show isn’t (news).”

He also implied that KNBC management underestimates the intelligence of its news staff and viewers.

When it comes to the staff, “If they are allowed to do their jobs, your job will be easier,” he wrote, and viewers “know a real newscast when they see one, and they know when you try to manipulate them. If you do your job, they will watch. If you don’t, they will leave. … From recent experience here, I know some of these concepts may not be clear to you.”

KNBC news director Mark Hoffman said he was “disappointed that John felt the need to lash out in this way (after agreeing to keep his opinions to himself). We wish him well.”

Despite Beard’s criticisms, ratings for KNBC’s newscast went up in the just-concluded November sweeps (see story, page 27).

Former KABC-TV anchor Chuck Henry is apparently heading the list to replace Beard in January, but he could wind up working another newscast.

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