A Hiring Boom in The Hampton Roads

While Nexstar's Pink Slip Express is traveling the countryside whacking people, there is one market that has seen a number of new hires.

The Virginia Pilot writes, you can welcome Steven Graves, Ali Weatherton, Jaclyn Lee (pictured), Kara Dixon, Marielena Balouris, Laura Caso and Merris Badcock to Hampton Roads, America’s 42nd-largest TV market.

Say hello also to Kim Cung, Rachel Cardin, April Loveland, Anthony Sabella, Adam Winkler, Brian Hill and Crystal Harper.

Who are these folks?

They are the 14 new faces in the newsrooms of WAVY, WVEC and WTKR, a considerable influx of men and women in the past year or so. Some do news. Others do weather and sports.

Other changes have taken place in local TV news where, according to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, starting salaries for reporters range from $40,000 to $60,000. (The Denver Post reported that starting salaries for TV general-assignment reporters in its market were around $45,000. A Houston Chronicle report said that a television reporter earned an average of $38,800 a year as of 2011.)

The recent developments: Niko Clemmons, a production assistant at WVEC since 2010, was elevated to reporter. Mitch Brown moved from photography to sports at WTKR.

“We already had many talented people working at the station when I arrived in November of 2015. But I felt that we needed to take the next step in building a talented, aggressive newsroom,” said Ryan Minnaugh, WTKR’s news director.

“There was no sports department. So I went out and created one, hiring Adam Winkler to lead the department. I promoted Mitch Brown from photographer to weekend sports anchor.”

At WVEC, in addition to hiring reporters Graves from KVII in Amarillo, Texas; Weatherton from WNCT in Greenville, N.C.; and Lee from WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., News Director Douglas Wieder welcomed Philip Townsend back to Channel 13 to serve as weekend anchor.

Townsend worked four years at WVEC before leaving in 2014 for WFAA in Dallas.

Wieder also hired former U.S. Air Force meteorologist Crystal Harper to work the weekend morning “Daybreak” newscasts.