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July 10, 2006
Stephanie Nishikawa signs off

Another day, another departure at Channel 13, where the ratings are going up at the same rate that the staff is departing....

On the heels of last week’s firing of reporter Jason Howe and the resignation of weekend anchor Patti Lee comes word that longtime KOVR reporter Stephanie Nishikawa has resigned.

For those counting at home, that leaves only four reporters left at the station who were working there at this time last year, when Steve Charlier became vice president of news.

One, consumer reporter Kurtis Ming, has thrived. But the other three - reporters John Iander and Charlotte Fadipe and weatherman/reporter Dennis Shanahan - are on shaky ground, we hear.

As for Nishikawa, who had worked at Channel 13 for eight years, her departure had more to do with her personal life than any dissatisfaction with the station, she tells us. She has just signed a lease with the Town & Country shopping center in Sacramento to open a boutique called The Paper Garden, where she will sell her handmade cards, plus teach people how to make their own personalized invitations.

NISHIKAWA ALBUM.JPG “I’ll bring my son to work at the store and be able to spend more time with him,” Nishikawa says. “There were some long days working at the station. I’d come home at 8 o’clock and my son would go to bed at 9.”

Charlier says Nishikawa’s resignation “caught us a little off-guard.” When asked about the newsroom overhaul, he adds: “Obviously, we’ve gone through a lot this year, and we’re constantly improving the program. We’re asking all of our reporters to try to be unique and different in the quality of their reporting. Some have thrived and some haven’t.”

It was no secret in the Channel 13 newsroom that Nishikawa was not happy with the new regime after she returned from maternity leave last October. Her specialty had been general assignment and feature reporting, but she was placed on the crime beat.

“I like doing feel-good stories and the occasional feature story,” she says. “But now, it changed to all hard news, hard news, hard news. Maybe I don’t belong in the business, because I like doing rewarding stories. I don’t mind a murder story every once in a while, but every day was too much.”

Speaking of termination, here’s a list of the 14 on-air types who have either resigned or been fired from Channel 13 and sister station Channel 31 in the past year:

Paul Joncich, Jennifer Whitney, Marcy Valenzuela, Patti Lee, Eric Alvarez, Jon Baird, Rebecca Somach, Jennifer Krier, Kristine Hanson, Tom Loffman, Abbott Dutton, Jason Howe, Craig Prosser and Stephanie Nishikawa.

-- Sam McManis

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