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‘Demotion’ irks news anchor

August 12, 1983

KHQ’s Nancy Goodspeed may become ‘senior correspondent’

By Alice Feinstein
The Spokesman-Review

Veteran Spokane news anchor Nancy Goodspeed may be removed from her position at KHQ and made “senior correspondent” for the television station.

Goodspeed sees the move as a “demotion,” while her boss, KHQ News Director Dean Mell, said the move would be a promotion for Goodspeed and at the same time clear the way for the possible hiring of a woman anchor from a major market.

Mell explained that he has an opportunity to hire a top-notch woman anchor from a “major market” television station who has moved to Spokane with her husband. He said she is seeking employment with both KHQ and the station’s “competition.”

Although Mell refused to reveal the woman’s name, The Spokesman-Review has learned that she is Kim Gilbert, who left Portland’s KATU-TV in July. She is the sister of Debbie Gilbert Wilde, KHQ’s weather reporter. Kim Gilbert did not return a reporter’s call.

Mell said he is negotiating with the anchorwoman but that she has not yet been hired. If he does not here her, he said, he fears that “the competition” will.

Goodspeed said Wednesday that she is being taken off the air as anchor and that the switch is “imminent.”

Although her termination as anchor was presented to her as a promotion, Goodspeed said, she is not buying that. She said she has not yet decided what form her fight to keep her job will take.

Asked if she would take the legal route chosen by 38-year-old Christine Craft – awarded $500,000 Monday in an age- and sex-discrimination dispute with a Kansas City television station – Goodspeed said, “I won’t rule it out.”

“It’s a funeral. It’s a demise. They’re handing me my head,” Goodspeed said.

“TV news, the early news, is the prime spot. It’s the prime time. It’s when the largest audience is. It’s where they put their most money. It’s the place to work.

“So this quote, unquote, promotion would involve first of all being taken of the air, next of all being called a senior correspondent, which essentially the job description was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s a new position that Q has never had.”

Mell, however, said Thursday that over dinner Monday he offered Goodspeed the senior correspondent position as a promotion and told her to think about it.

Nothing is definite yet, he said, adding that no date has been set for Goodspeed’s switch and that she would not, in any case, be taken off the air. Instead of anchoring the news, she would continue to be a familiar face doing in-depth journalism pieces on a regular basis, he said.

“If we don’t put this thing together, for whatever reasons, it won’t happen, obviously,” Mell said. “And nothing has changed.”

He maintained that Goodspeed’s removal from her position would be a positive thing for her, a chance to move into a management-track position.

It would not be, as Goodspeed called it, “a funeral,” he said, because for there to be a funeral, there would have to be a body, and there is none.

“All of this I consider a demotion, I really do,” said Goodspeed, who has been with KHQ eight years, including four years as co-anchor. Throughout that time, KHQ’s news remained No. 1 in the ratings.

“I guess at this point I’m really perplexed and stunned and we’ll see what happens from here,” Goodspeed said. “I do not intend just being placed on a shelf at KHQ and being dusted off occasionally. I won’t allow that to happen to me…

“I think that in the past, and when I was hired at Q, I was mainly perceived as being a country bumpkin and a little church mouse. No more church mouse. I have a reputation to protect.”

Goodspeed expressed amazement that the station would remove her as anchor in light of the news program’s top rating and her popularity in the Inland Empire.

Asked if she thought the move had anything to do with her age or appearance (both elements in the Christine Craft case), Goodspeed, who is 34, replied that she thought both things might be factors.

Mell said there is no Christine Craft parallel in this case because Goodspeed is not being fired, but promoted. He did not, however, indicate that she would be given a chance to turn down the move and remain in her anchor position.

Friday, August 12, 1983

From → KHQ

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