Black TV Reporter Warren
Wilson, Lucky To Have A Job, Whines About Discrimination
Kevin Roderick at LA Observed.com
Veteran Channel 5 reporter Warren Wilson has hired civil rights attorney
Melanie Lomax to press claims that the station is discriminating against
him in salary and assignments, the Wave newspapers report today. Wilson,
69, has been with KTLA for 20 years without a promotion and has worked
the last six months without a contract, the story says. Lomax told the
Wave papers that the station added a special clause to his contract
last year saying that he could be fired if he "complains or voices any
displeasure with his assignments."
I worked at KTLA for several months in the fall of 1997. Warren Wilson
was known around the station as a horrible man. Rude, nasty, and unethical.
He'd been reprimanded several times by station management, who were exceedingly
tolerant of their employees. I remember the receptionist was a frequently
rude woman, with a severe limp, who'd yell at callers and hang up on them.
Warren Wilson did a story about some guy, set him up with a particular
lawyer, then went after either the lawyer/or guy in question for a payoff.
If you read RonFineman.com, you
know Wilson is a shoddy reporter who's lucky to have a job. There are
a lot of people working at KTLA who would never last at any other major
KTLA is an awesome place to work. I so wanted to get taken on permanently
there in 1997. They paid me well as a temp and treated me well. Management
bends over backwards to be fair and kind. Employee morale is high. Most
people at KTLA are super. I remember this black female TV reporter who
was just adorable and made everybody relax and laugh, cutting across color
lines. I am known to utter non-PC sentiments but this woman just made
all my crap go away.
Nauseating Coverage Of Warren Wilson's Retirement
Warren Wilson was an unethical and crappy reporter for KTLA Channel 5
for more 21-years. Yet he only gets glowing send-offs. Here's
the LA Times story (no mention of the numerous scandals associated with
Warren Wilson, a veteran reporter who is perhaps best known for helping
to surrender 22 wanted fugitives to police, has retired and plans on
writing a book about his experience as a pioneering African American
journalist in Los Angeles.
His retirement comes a year after he filed a discrimination complaint
with KTLA, alleging that he was being paid less than younger, white
reporters and was not given high-profile stories that allow reporters
longer live shots and more exposure.
Wilson was one of the first African American journalists who went on
the air in Los Angeles, joining KNBC in the late 1960s, a few years
after the Watts riots. Other black journalists began appearing on television
in the early 1970s and '80s, including the late Larry McCormick, an
anchor for KTLA, and former KTTV Fox anchor Tony Cox.
Newsrooms first began to hire black reporters during the 1965 Watts
riots, Cox said. He and Wilson were often sent to cover the same dangerous,
late-night crime stories. "We were competitors and yet were compatriots,"
Cox said. "We had to compete for stories, yet we knew we had a common
experience in terms of being in newsrooms that were often hostile toward
At his first job interview for a reporting position at KNXT (now KCBS),
Wilson says the news director turned him down, claiming that the lighting
and cameras wouldn't facilitate a black man interviewing a white person
here's ex-Times reporter Ken Reich:
For a long time, Wilson once told me, he wasn't encouraged to speak
spontaneously on the air. Nearly everything he said had to be scripted
in advance before the filming began. Then, one day, it was a breaking
news story. He had to be spontaneous, and he did a hell of a good job.
Then, his editors realized that Wilson was good on his feet, and a load
was lifted from his mind.
This is not an untypical story, because the truth of it is that "minority
reporters" at both the Times and on L.A. radio and television are indeed
too often treated differently. They are stereotyped and perhaps kept
from the promotions they deserve.
We can't forget either that when the Watts Riot erupted in the city
in 1965, the L.A. Times had to use an advertising salesman, Robert Richardson,
to help cover it, because the Times had no black reporter, and that
when Martin Luther King, Jr., arrived in Los Angeles on his first visit,
the only white person in the greeting party was the late County Supervisor
Wilson used to push to get payoffs for referring people he met through
his job as a reporter to particular lawyers. He was repeatedly disciplined
for this at KTLA. I suspect that if Wilson wasn't black, he would've been
There are plenty of terrific black reporters and Latino reporters and
reporters of every race. Why do we have to celebrate mediocrity just because
someone has a darker shade of skin?