Jim Tortora resigned this week as news director at WSYR-TV. Upon hearing the news, I worked myself into overdrive to find out what was happening at my former competitor.
According to a source close to the station that I talked to this week, “…there may have been some inner dealings with staff that may have compromised Tortora’s status as a manager. Tortora’s private and public dealings with his staff may have caught up with him and his resignation may have actually been in lieu of an outright firing by WSYR management for improper conduct.”
I worked with Tortora at WSTM from 1996 to 1997 and found him to be an up-and-coming star in the TV news world. He had worked there as Assignment Manager during my time at Channel 3. I almost went with Tortora to Channel 9 when he offered me a job there. I declined, as I has just started at Channel 3 a few months and wasn’t sure of the stability there at Channel 9.
The resignation of Tortora won’t hurt WSYR in the long run. The Syracuse ABC affiliate has been the defacto #1 TV news station in the Syracuse market for a number of years. My old employer, WSTM has, for all extensive purposes, surrendered the “white flag” to WSYR, as their commitment to news has been lacking due to short staffing, combining jobs and not investing in equipment. As a result of this, their on-air product has suffered, with WSYR grabbing double-digit ratings in the Syracuse market.
But I must admit that doing it during the important May sweeps period is rather “fishy”.
I wish Tortora well in his future endeavors.