Miletich back on the Illinois Capitol beat
DECATUR, Ill. — Less than a month after being fired from WGEM-TV for a remark he made during a live shot, Mike Miletich is back covering state government.
WAND-TV reporter Doug Wolfe announced on Twitter that Miletich would be the new Illinois Statehouse reporter for the Decatur station.
On January 18, in a live shot from Effingham during WGEM’s six p.m. newscast, Miletich commented about a loud car by saying, “and of course cars are driving past right now because we are in Downstate Illinois where they hate the media.”
WGEM, owned by Gray Television since Aug. 2021, issued a quick, self-serving, CYA apology.
If you were watching our Wednesday WGEM News at Six report on the Illinois assault weapons ban lawsuit filed by attorney Tom DeVore, we owe you an apology.
Reporter Mike Miletich ad-libbed while reporting live from Effingham to say in part, ‘…we are in downstate Illinois where they hate the media.’ That is not a fact. The facts show we have many loyal viewers who are very supportive of this television station.
Mike chose to express his opinion, which is not acceptable for a journalist working for this news organization. Our news division is disappointed by what was said, and our leadership team is addressing the matter.
The next day, according to the Illinois Broadcasters Association, WGEM general manager Ben Van Ness said the station doesn’t comment on personnel matters. But when asked about Miletich’s bio being removed from the station’s website, he said “You can draw your own conclusions as to what that means.”
My friends and colleagues who had dealt with Miletich always found him fair and even-handed, but a remark like that, even given during the frustration of trying to do your job in the rain while people heckle you, must be too much for some people to assume it will be used against them down the road.
Glad WAND-TV, owned by Block Communications, decided to give a guy a break.
J. Robert Gough is the publisher/general manager of Muddy River News.
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