By TER Staff
In Los Angeles, KTLA-TV General Manager Don Corsini is a highly successful accomplished TV executive. Nobody disputes that.
He also must think it's ethical to date and have romantic relationships with his own anchors/reporters. Why? because he has done so.
Corsini ran KCAL-TV for years, then oversaw and ran the combined KCAL/KCBS TV duopoly. The first of its kind in the major market TV business. After over a decade in those jobs, he joined Tribune's KTLA-TV Channel-5 as its new General Manager in early 2009.
Don Corsini knows how to run a TV station and make money in the local TV business. That is for sure.
Nonetheless, no one has ever accused Mr. Corsini of being a journalist.
No one ever should.
When it was disclosed yesterday that the Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa has been dating a Corsini on-air anchor/reporter named Lu Parker since last March, Corsini issued this terse response to the LA Times in regards to the questions of whether or not the relationship posed any ethical problems for him or his station.
Corsini said it didn't. He told the LA Times this:
"There is no concern as to the ethics whatsoever," said Don Corsini, general manager of KTLA-TV, which like The Times is owned by Tribune Co. "As far as I'm concerned, it's a personal matter."
In fact, Corsini may not be far behind the Mayor of LA when it comes to raising questions within a newsroom about ethics. A little known public aspect of his former stewardship of the KCAL/KCBS TV stations as General Manager was his longtime romantic relationship with one of his own Los Angeles news anchor/reporters, a woman named Mia Lee. Lee worked at KCAL then and still works for KCAL/KCBS now.
Sources past and present at KCAL and KCBS confirmed to TER Corsini's relationship with anchorwoman Lee. No one would speak on the record to The Enterprise Report for this story.
Corsini also was responsible for what many in the Los Angeles media world have dubbed the "The Post Game Laker Sex Report". The broadcast of so-called 'news' just after the conclusion of LA Lakers basketball games on KCAL. Corsini's approach to local "newscasts" is clearly to bring the "news" to viewers with attractive female anchors (dressed provocatively) that appeal to male viewers with stories that somehow involve women and sexual subjects.
The Enterprise Report has also learned of other "questionable" ethical lapes by Mr. Corsini in the past while GM at KCAL-TV in the mid-90's. One involved then KCAL GM Corsini taking special access to fire illegal assault weapons at an LA area gun range with federal agents-because of his "status" as the GM of the station. The whole episode was a part of a an award-winning investigative story by two station reporters who were working on a report about the sale of guns by CA law enforcement to the public. Corsini showed up with another station executive and was then provided the special access he sought. Nobody ever tells the "boss" no right?
By now you may have heard that LA's mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is back in the romance business. You may remember back in the summer of 2007, the big story was about him dating another Los Angeles TV anchor/reporter named Mirthala Salinas of Spanish-language Telemundo TV. At the time, the romance and ensuing scandal helped tarnish the Mayor's first term in Los Angeles. The ethical and conflict-of-interest issues related to a journalist dating someone they cover in their job also helped deflate the once rising broadcast TV career of Salinas.
Now comes the story that the LA Mayor has been dating a new LA TV reporter in recent months. The Mayor is long separated, but still legally married to his wife. Any issue of a possible "affair" is irrelevant.
The new girlfriend's name is Lu Parker, a former Miss USA, model and now anchor/reporter at Tribune's KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. The story of their relationship broke yesterday when an employee at Los Angeles TV station KNBC-TV happen to be in a bookstore over the weekend and snapped a picture of the Mayor and his new girlfriend out doing some weekend shopping. The NBC affiliate in LA ran a story claiming Lu was the Mayor's new girlfriend. Although the Mayor's office has not yet confirmed the story, the station where Lu works has.
KTLA's news director Jason Ball also told the LA Times:
"Now that we're aware of the relationship, she will no longer be covering local politics," said KTLA-TV news director Jason Ball, who defended the journalist's ethics but declined to elaborate. "I have the utmost faith in Lu Parker's abilities."
It seems KTLA's news director Ball might want to talk to his boss Don Corsini about 'journalistic ethics' or about who his "journalists" are dating.
At a minimum, somebody in KTLA-TV 'news' management should at least get their story straight.