Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Staff Changes at Austin TV Stations

Goodbye and Hello

Austin television reporters will be getting younger again. Two experienced and knowledgeable broadcast journalists will be leaving their respective stations in the coming days. Clara Tuma and Jenny Hoff are leaving Austin’s airways. That means new, probably younger replacements.

Friday, February 12, 2010 will be the last day at KVUE-TV (ABC) for award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor Clara Tuma. After eight and a half years at Austin’s #1 station, Tuma is leaving broadcasting to work for the Lower Colorado River Authority as a senior communications specialist handling media inquiries among other things, meaning that she may end up on the air, but not holding the microphone.

Tuma’s reporting will be missed and hard to replace. Before coming to KVUE, she worked for what was cable channel “Court TV”. She also worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas Lawyer and Court TV before moving to KVUE. Tuma used those legal experiences to great advantage in finding and covering legal stories at the local level. Landing in Austin was easy since she is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, and she also has family members here.

Leaving day-to-day journalism won’t be as easy. “I think I'll have constant news withdrawal for a while! The only job I've ever had is being a journalist, and I'm sad to be leaving it,” Tuma says. “At the same time, I'm tremendously excited about trying something new and entering the next phase of my life. Imagine a job where your next deadline isn't rightthisveryminute!

That longing for reporting will be easily assuaged. “In all these years, I've never had a job where I had nights, weekends and holidays off. I've never had Thanksgiving AND the day after Thanksgiving off (they're holidays, but I've always ended up working one of them), Tuma says. “I don't know what I'll do election night, but I'm really looking forward to the summer and not being out in this heat all the time.”

Hmmm. Did the LCRA tell Tuma about responding to the media during floods?

Jenny Hoff won’t be leaving KXAN-TV (NBC) until the end of April. Hoff learned recently that she has been awarded a Robert Bosch Fellowship landing her in Germany. Hoff has been KXAN’s political reporter and weekend anchor over the past five years.

“The Robert Bosch Fellowship aims to foster stronger transatlantic relationships between emerging American and German leaders in various fields. They selected 20 professionals from across the country who work in the areas of journalism, business, policy, and law to spend one year in Germany,” Hoff says.

The fellowship is a step toward a longtime goal. “Recently, I went home for my 10 year high school reunion and saw a poster on the wall that we had all written on while we were seniors,” Hoff says. “The question was, ‘What do you want to be doing in ten years?’ Well, I found my name and saw what I had written – ‘be an international correspondent for CNN.’ Ok, so it isn’t CNN, but it’s certainly a step closer to international reporting!”

“In addition to studying the language, I will work with a ministry in the German government to observe policy making as it relates to the rest of Europe and the United States,” Hoff says. “For the second phase I will work with Deutsche Welle Television which reports on European news in English. I might also get a chance to work with CNN Berlin. The fellowship will also bring us to various seminars in other countries to learn about the issues facing European businesses and governments.”

Leaving Austin is bitter sweet. “I have a great life here with a job I love as well as fantastic friends. Needless to say, I will miss the city the minute I leave it. However, it is because I started getting so comfortable that I decided it was time to try something new and I plan to come back often!!”

Hoff’s job is not yet posted on the KXAN web site.

KVUE-TV, a Belo-owned station, has been under a hiring freeze. Frank Volpicella, news director, says that he will be able to hire a replacement for Tuma. Further, another new reporter will be arriving next month. “I did hire a reporter from Waco, Jade Mingus, to fill an open position I had for about a year,” Volpicella says. Jade begins next month. She works at KCEN-TV (NBC) right now.

Prior to moving to Waco, Mingus was a reporter and anchor at KOMU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, MO. “There I covered everything from statewide political issues to the rebuilding of New Orleans,” she says on the KCEN web site. In Missouri she also worked in radio for KMOX in St. Louis and KBIA, the NPR affiliate in Columbia.
She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science.

One other post script: Former KXAN sports director Michael Coleman is now in New York. Earlier this month he was honored as a “Black Media Legend” sponsored by McDonald's, along with James Brown of CBS sports. Congratulations to Coleman who to New Yorkers is known as “Mike”.

© Jim McNabb, 2010


Judy said...

Congratulations to Clara and Jenny! I'm thrilled for them but sad for the Austin television market. These two are pros!

Anonymous said...

2 new reporters at KVUE? Looks like they're splitting Clara's decent salary and paying two newbies high 20s, low 30s.

NewsMcNabb said...

Editor's Note:
To "Anonymous": Actually, if you reread the post you'd see that KVUE hired a reporter postion that had been posted for a year, and they are planning to replace Clara Tuma.

True, you cannot replace Ms. Tuma's knowledge, contacts, experience, and goodwill, but the position will be filled.

So, your assessment is unfair.


Anonymous said...

They can spin it however they want. You are smarter than that, Jim.