Black TV Reporter Warren Wilson, Lucky To Have A Job, Whines About Discrimination

Kevin Roderick at LA Observed.com reports:

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 TV station.

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 Wilson's work):

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 us."

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 on television.

And 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 Kenneth Hahn.

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 fired.

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?