Ode to Joy

Dateline: Mon 06 Feb 2012

A blog reader notes that Joy Dumandan of WISH TV went off the air with no explanation in January. Here is what the reader says:

"I have noticed recently that WISH management put out a story that Joy Dumandan was on vacation. However, her bio is missing from their website and I noticed Sunday in the Star, a lower banner ad with the new am anchor. Their management refuses to comment, and maybe after 12 years there, Ms Dumandan deserves more or a farewell."

I took the Indianapolis Recorder with me to Chicago this past weekend, where I read this in Amos Brown's always interesting and often provocative Feb. 2 column:

"....there was another loss for minorities as Joy Dumandan, Indy's first Asian-American TV anchor left WISH-TV/Channel 8.

"Dumandan vanished from Channel 8's morning newscasts first of the year. Station officials told trade media, Dumandan was on vacation, but late last week, all traces of Dumandan were removed from Channel 8's website.

"Joy Dumandan had been at Channel 8 for more than 10 years, first at 5:30 p.m., then later moved to the increasingly critical morning TV news shift.

"Dumandan was a very visual representation of Indy's small, but growing Asian community. Her departure from the airwaves is distressing for minority representation in our city's media."

Brown also brought us up to speed on other movement in TVland:

"At first," he writes, "I was upset over WRTV/Channel 6's recent anchor assignments. Since September's departure of Trisha Shepherd, Erika Flye has been the station's solo female lead anchor.

"Then last week, Channel 6 breathlessly said Flye had been "promoted" to anchoring the station's 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. But they also announced a white female, Jenna Kooi, would anchor prime time 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

"Flye has far more experience as a reporter and anchor than Kooi, yet didn't receive any prime time newscast assignments.

"But, while perturbed at Channel 6 management, several days later I get the announcement that Terri Cope Walton, the station's community affairs director has been promoted to assistant news director. According to the station, recently acquired by Scripps, lauded Walton's "seasoned news judgment."

"To my knowledge, Walton becomes the only African-American in news management in Indianapolis television. (If I'm not correct, I'm sure I'll get a correcting e-mail)."

Anyone know the whereabouts of Joy Dumandan? Thanks to my reader who brought this to my attention and to Brown for doing his homework, as always.


Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Funny, I was just telling my wife last night that Indianapolis media seems to be losing minority representation with anchors and reporters.

The trend on local TV news now seems to be: (1). White, 20-something women who look like models; (2). Are basically airheads, (3). Need to reduce their energy drink consumption drastically and/or (4). May need treatment for Bipolar Disorder.

What worries me the most about this is that there must be a market for it.

2012-02-06 23:15:46

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth. Don't know how that comment got doubled. Is there a "bug" (as in computer virus) in the works or something?
Just wanted to let you know I didn't send it twice.

2012-02-06 23:21:05

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

Whitebeard, I'm surprised about your comment that lumps all pretty female reporters into the "blondes are airheads and have mental disorders" stereotype.

Many are thoughtful, dogged reporters. They happen to be pretty. Doesn't make 'em airheads.

2012-02-07 09:59:25

hendy [Member] said:

Delivering the news about the murders with a big cheery smile seems inappropriate. I don't care if they're pretty or not, the delivery in modern news set orchestration leaves me cold.

But the caveat here is that I see about two newscasts in a year. I listen to Democracy Now and sometimes, NPR. Contrasting the two, Democracy Now makes NPR look like goofballs.

In my waxing years, I've found that there is no good way to make news "fluffy". Formulaic news is even worse, because it has to fit time segments, commercials, and the perception that viewers have limited attention spans. Some do, but many of us are left with that strange aftertaste that one gets reading USA Today. Like zero calories, and zero protein.

2012-02-07 12:10:43

Lucy Fench [unverified] said:

Is Amos Brown implying that race was a factor in WRTV's anchor assignments, or is he just lamenting the lack of minorities in prime-time news slots? If it's the former, he's jumping to conclusions and, without sourcing, lazily suggesting racism. Perhaps Flye declined the 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. slots. Who knows? There are numerous possible circumstances that might have nothing to do with race.

2012-02-07 13:13:17

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"They happen to be pretty. Doesn't make 'em airheads."

I agree, Indykjsharp, that the stereotypes don't always fit. But I'm like the folks who report about an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster - just telling you what I saw (see).

Local (and national) TV news management people seem to think that women who aren't physical knock-outs aren't good to be in front of their cameras.

This is stereotyping at its worst. And really, sexism - the concept that a woman's REAL value is in her physical appearance.

Hendy, I try to avoid watching TV news as well. I just had a weak moment over the weekend and was curious about what was going on downtown the night before the Super Bowl.

I think now I need to be de-toxed.

2012-02-07 14:02:06

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I hate the prevailing chatty, interupting, unprofessional, colloquial news deliveries that have become the norm. I am not interested in seeing teams of TV newsreaders yack with one another, often over one another. I turn to the Beeb for nightly news. Ch13 is the least offensive of the local lot. Jon Stewart, bless him, puts things in proper perspective.

2012-02-07 16:18:32

SunsetSam [unverified] said:

I fully agree with Lucy...sounds like Amos wants to cry "racism" when there is no substantiation for it, which in and of itself is racist (to me, anyway).

Note that the fairly-new Eva Pilgrim has been both a very good anchor and on-the-scene reporter for Fox59, and she is of half-Korean descent. Fox59 also grabbed Fanchon Stinger from Detroit (not without her own controversy there, though....google it!) about a year or so ago. Both very present on the newscasts during prime-time, and both very good at what they do.

2012-02-07 19:11:10

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2012-02-07 20:46:35

Christopher Lloyd [unverified] said:

True story: When I was in j-school I did the internship program in D.C. They divided the newsroom in half between print and broadcast. One afternoon was set aside for twin seminars: We learned how to file a Freedom of Information Act appeal, while they were taught how to apply makeup in the field.

2012-02-07 20:59:31

citizen x [Member] said:

Having worked in the tv news business for over 20 years, a few observations:

Most of the people you see are good people. However, emphasis is more on looks than on reportorial competence.

The anchors tend to just read copy written by others and only do any "reporting" during ratings.

TV news has evolved, in my opinion, from story driven to personality driven as a medium.

2012-02-08 05:03:53

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Citizen X; with all due respect, and with a few good friends in the TV news business, this town wouldn't know good TV news if it smacked us upside the head.

The news judgment is faulty. It is mostly "if we send a camera crew it has to lead." Here's a hint, news directors: sometimes, a story turns out not to be a story. Ask any print journalist who knocks around some facts and can't piece together a story.

It's been this way for decades. Compared to major media markets, we're milque-toast. We depended on the print media to keep it all honest but hell, that's gone to hell in a handbasket, so....

And if we're depending on the Amos Brown types to keep it honest: nothing to see here, keep it moving. He's good, but he plays the race card so often it's meaningless. Who even knows if he has a point any more? When he;s good, he's brilliant: he called out Mayor Ballard correctly and accurately twice last year. To all Indy media: THAT was what an aggressive media town does 24/7/365.

I have long since given up on most media (not all, but most) in this town, and virtually all electronic media, knowing enough about their stories to be in-depth or accurate. They swoop down, report what they see at the minute, watch the newsmakers fawn over them, the crowd oooh and ahhhh, and fly off. The Charlie White case is a perfect example. That case has multiple moving furry parts, and it's complicated. I have yet to see one single electronic media report that was complete.

Print journalists, for the most part, don't have the oooh and ahhhh problem.

The lesson here is, perhaps we need to go back to beat reporters, who cover one solid area, and nothinkg else. There's a little of it, but not much. It's too expensive.

It's McNews everywhere. Damn it.

2012-02-08 07:33:42

citizen x [Member] said:


I agree with you. I was just trying to be as nice and non-judgemental as I could be. TV news content is largely driven by producers who have little or no journalistic/reporting experience. They stack the stories and write some copy. Most news content is driven by consultants, which is why tv news across the country looks the same.

For many reporters, being on camera is paramount. Content is secondary. TV news is much like regional theater anymore.

Because of time constraints and lack of experience, substantive news is ignored in favor of bullets, babies and boobies (as they are wont to say).

2012-02-08 08:37:48

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Amen X. Last week I heard a well-known TV reporter say this on camera:

"The Right to Work Union protestors lost their battle in the Statehouse, and they're going to appeal this law to Congress."

I kid you not.

This is what passes for reportorial knowledge.

2012-02-08 08:51:08

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Very interesting and informative perspectives by all who have commented.

I'm probably going to be "rode out on a rail" for saying this, but I don't understand why there didn't seem to be ANY TV news or Star coverage of anything that didn't smack of "the Super Bowl is absolutely, positively perfect, wonderful and super dooper!!!!!"

Do you think there were some "issues" that came up during the week that could have been covered? For example, someone I know went downtown to the SB village with a small child and she said the place was so overloaded to the gills that she was afraid the child was going to be trampled. She said she feared for everyone's safety that night.

Was it really a good and safe idea to pack that much into such a small area? Wasn't that at least worth the media taking an objective look?

I would have been interested in what people living in the inner city neighborhoods - primary lower socioe-conomic folks - had to say about the SB. The more attractive events were geared for the rich and famous and carried big admission pricetags. I think it was Dan Carpenter who wrote that average folks would be witnessing most of the glitter and glamor with noses pressed to the glass, on the outside looking in.

Maybe many of the inner city folks would have agreed that it was all just wonderful, but still I would have liked to have heard their opinions, perspectives.

Hammer at NUVO is fast becoming my favorite Indianapolis media person. He had the guts to ask some of these questions in a column and was getting blasted in the reader comments - though many people did agree with him and applauded his courage.

2012-02-08 14:29:21

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

IndyGo had free buses all weekend, and I rode one downtown. The driver said the buses were full all weekend. Dawn to midnight.

Average-Joes got to see the free Village stuff, and celebrity-gawk. Plenty of free stuff. That's all I did too, in four separate visits--from the Village People to Miss Thing herself, Patti LaBelle. I paid for nothing, as a personal protest to the glitz. Not that the organizers noticed my absence of $$.

And there was ample coverage of the Legacy project on the near-eastside.

This was always a glamor event. Probably one of the top 2-3 glamor events worldwide each year. It was never going to be about the average joes.

I think this organizing committee did a spectacular job trying to tie in those less-privileged. But I do have one outrage to report:

I park in the Circle Centre garage every time I go downtown. It was a developer's genius that led to 3 hours for $1.50, mostly to shop. I use it for downtown business because our tax dollars paid for that garage. And sometimes I shop. The original develpment agreement allowed the parking garage operators to up prices for single-day events, like Pacer games and Colts games. No biggee.

But these clowns upped their prices ten days prior to the Super Bowl. $20 minimum.

In a garage we bought and paid for. The operators are part-owners of the new crazy downtown meter system. All big Republican donors. On a no-bid contract for those meters, of course.

So these clowns got six times the normal parking rate for casual parkers for ten days. Just because.

It was ridiculous.

I wouldn't have minded game day price-gouging. That's been their practice for 16 years.

2012-02-08 15:18:52

hendy [Member] said:

Taking public transportation was necessary. I drove into Indy to do some errands on Saturday last, and BroadRipple, SoBro, all kinds of places were crazy with people, thousands of them. I stayed away from downtown. But I'm not a fan, and not the target market.

That there were free events is laudable. There ought to be a crush of people. YeGawds, there were 1.1M EXTRA people in town. Is $20 too much for a public garage? This time, and this time only, TTT-- I have to say you're a piker. To paraphrase Heinlein: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and parking prices are either fair or market, depending on whose side of the balance sheet you're on.

I say: make some money from the tourists. It's a time-honored ritual. But the NFL and the whole Capital Improvement Board mess isn't for me. I left and traveled down to The Peoples Republic of Monroe County Indiana, where we elect only sane people (kind of) and grow our hair into ponytails. Is there lunacy here? Sure. There's lunacy everywhere. Just a bit less when you get out of town (as in Indy).

2012-02-08 17:26:57

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well, Hendy, if it weren't $1.50 all year, and that we'd subsidized that garage from the first day earth was turned I'd be with ya. But $20 min. for each of the preceding ten days. Just pure unadulterated greed.

My opinion is colored by the fact that these unholy shits also own a portion of the new parking meter management contract. Which was perhaps one of the worst deals in city history.

They did it because they could. And they didn't even pay to build the damned garage. We did.

2012-02-08 18:33:47

Jason [unverified] said:

On the topic of news media, I'm going to speak ONLY from my personal experience (you'll understand as you read on.)

I've had the benefit/misfortune of being privy to a dozen or so stories over the years that have been covered in some detail in local news media. In every one of those stories, basic facts of what happened were incorrectly reported. Whether we're talking 6, 8, 13, 59, the Star, any local blogger extraordinare, or cable network news, it doesn't matter. Every single one of them, in my experience, does an extremely poor job of fact-checking sources and/or following up on additional leads. In many cases it's blatantly obvious whoever was in the field simply made things up to embellish the story, in others there's such a slant to it I wonder why the person left the office in the first place (obviously knowing everything before they even showed up.)

You can throw Nuvo and Amos Brown in there if you want, but they're op-ed and don't even pretend to be news types IMHO.

I'm not meaning to condemn the whole entire establishment, I'm only speaking from what I've witnessed first-hand. Nonetheless, that's why I don't trust anything I read in the paper or see on TV. If this is in any way an accurate portrayal of how stories get covered on a daily basis, well, that explains why nobody knows what in the heck is going on...

2012-02-09 03:15:24

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Jason is too correct, I'm afraid.

It's a result of under-paying and under-valuing true beat reporters, who can dig-in to their subject matter and learn something. For decades. It warps our collective news judgment. We honor slip-shod reporters, and that becomes the new normal.

Reminds me of a flat rock skipping over a river.

There are good ones, to be sure. Just too damned few of them.

And Jason's post's description of reporters and he wonders "why they ever left the office." That's a perfect description of columnists like Tully, who writes one good piece in 20. And when he writes something likke the Manual stuff, what his editors and public ought to be saying is:

"See what happens when you bust a sweat? This is what we want every damned time."


2012-02-09 05:21:27

Write Man [Member] said:

Well said Jason, well said (sadly). The best reporter in town, IMHO, is Kathleen McLaughlin at the IBJ. Very hard-nosed, not afraid to ask difficult questions and completely dogged. Tony Rehagen at the Monthly was also excellent, and a superb writer, but he left town for Atlanta if I'm not mistaken.

2012-02-09 19:52:13

Jake [unverified] said:

Like Dr. King, I oppose racism. The race or ethnicity of an employee is immaterial.

2012-02-10 08:45:06

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