SHOW SOME RESPECT

Below in italics is the text of a letter I wrote today to the Times Herald Record, the local newspaper in Middletown NY, about the dismissal of my former co-worker Tracy Baxter, pictured above, who was let go this week after 27 years as news director and anchor at Cable 6, a small cable news operation in Middletown, which is in Orange County, about 45 minutes north of Manhattan. 

Cable 6 was where I cut my teeth, I started there in 1985 as a producer/director of promos and commercials, and soon after became production manager and the director of the station’s nightly newscast and it’s many sporting events as well as other station projects. The invaluable time I spent at Cable 6 not only introduced me to friends I will have for life, as well as the mother of one of my children, but it gave me the many tools I needed to create a successful career which I continue to have 22 years after I left the station. What happened there this week, or more the way it happened, has turned my stomach; despite hearing similar stories over and over during the past year or two, when it hits at the heart of where your career and many of your closest friendships were essentially born, it’s extra hard to just sit back and take.  The letter could only be around 250 words, too bad, I had so much more to say.

I know many of you have been hit hard by these times, and can sympathize with the feelings I have here. There may be a lack of money in our pockets, but we can’t also lose our sense of decency and respect.

To the editor: I recently found out that my former co-worker, Time Warner Cable 6’s news director & anchorman for the last 27 years, Tracy Baxter, was let go from his position at the Middletown-based TV news operation due to downsizing, along with other of his colleagues. I get the economic picture, I am in TV and have been personally affected by these times. But word has it that not only was Tracy let go, he was reportedly escorted out of the building carrying three decades of memories in a box, and because he drove a company car, went home in a cab, thus degradingly ending one of the most durable journalistic careers in the state of New York, and perhaps even the country. This is totally outrageous, and enrages many of us who cut our teeth with Tracy back in the ‘80’s. As one of the Hudson Valley’s longest tenured local journalists, is there no respect or common decency for anyone anymore, despite the need for economic restructuring? All of us who worked with Tracy, including his first Cable 6 co-anchor Marianne Worley, and former Cable 6 reporter and current ABC news correspondent Barbara Pinto and others, would sincerely hope that Time Warner will honor Tracy’s exceptional career in a much more respectful way. He deserves way more than being kicked to the curb so insultingly. All of us who worked with Tracy think very highly of his dedication and longevity, and congratulate him on his impressive career, one that should be applauded in this day and age, not dismissed so cavalierly. We also salute people like Tracy Baxter, who have dedicated their lives to responsible local journalism, and we sincerely hope he gets the respect and accolades he deserves.

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