ABC 7 loses two key news executives

Janet Hundley

Janet Hundley

Janet Hundley resigned Friday after more than 12 years as assistant news director at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 to become news director of WTMJ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee.

“I am absolutely thrilled for Janet,” Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director of ABC 7, told staffers in a memo. “She’s wanted to run her own newsroom again for some time and she’s found a position that’s a great fit at a company with a long tradition of journalistic integrity and excellence.”

Hundley’s exit closely follows the resignation of Richard Maginn, executive producer of ABC 7’s 10 p.m. weekday newscast and a 19-year veteran of the station.

Both departures are effective at the end of the May ratings sweeps. No word on replacements for either, and no response yet on a request for comment from John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7.

Under Graves, Hundley has been managing and supervising daily editorial content at ABC 7 since she started as assistant news director in January 2002. She previously was news director at WTVG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio. Before that she was a producer, operations managers and photojournalist at WTVD-TV, the ABC-owned station in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Calling Hundley “a proven news leader with a reputation for journalistic excellence,” Joe Poss, vice president and general manager of WTMJ, said in a statement: “She understands and embraces the changing needs of our viewers in the Midwest and, most importantly, she exemplifies the strong values and integrity that are so critical in a newsroom. We are thrilled to have a journalist of Janet's caliber join the TODAY'S TMJ4 team.”

“It will be my distinct privilege to lead this newsroom and to serve the viewers of southeastern Wisconsin,” Hundley said in a statement. “It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly and I’m thrilled to get started.”

Here is the text of Graves’ memo to the ABC 7 staff:

It’s been more than 12 years since Janet Hundley joined me to lead ABC 7 Eyewitness News.  That’s why it’s with such mixed emotions that I let you know that Janet is leaving our newsroom to accept the News Director position at Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee.

I am absolutely thrilled for Janet.  She’s wanted to run her own newsroom again for some time and she’s found a position that’s a great fit at a company with a long tradition of journalistic integrity and excellence.  I cannot thank her enough for everything she’s done in the past 12 years.  Janet has worked tirelessly in our newsroom, helping craft our product to best serve our viewers. She’s led the special projects team, planned our coverage of numerous historic events and kept our day-to-day news gathering operation running smoothly.  But most of all, she’s been a friend and mentor to many.  She’s truly been my right hand, and I know we would not have enjoyed our many successes without Janet in the office next to mine. Janet’s been a dedicated and loyal member of the ABC/Disney team for 26 years, here at WLS, at WTVG-TV in Toledo and WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham.

As Janet said to me today, this isn’t goodbye.  Milwaukee is right up the road and I’m sure her path will cross with many of ours as we move ahead.  She’ll be in the newsroom for the next couple of weeks as we finish the May book.  We’ll plan the appropriate farewell in the coming days.

Let’s all wish Janet the best as she takes this exciting step in her career.

Here is the text of Hundley’s note to the ABC 7 staff:

It's been twelve years since I arrived in Chicago to work with all of you. The time has flown by, including a total of 26 years now that I have worked for ABC/Disney. So, it is both with a heavy heart and a sense of excitement that I bid you farewell. I am joining Journal Broadcasting's TMJ4 in Milwaukee as New Director.
You all have known my desire to run my own newsroom again. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards for that to happen with Disney/ABC right now. I'm thrilled I've found an opportunity with a like-minded company with a rich history of journalistic integrity.
I love ABC 7 and more importantly, I love and respect all of you. You know this. We've laughed together, cried together and worked exhaustively together covering some of the most historic Chicago, national and world events: wars, weather, popes, championships, celebration parades and the elections of Barack Obama. Together, we've developed our newscasts to meet the needs of our viewers, produced compelling content, expanded our newscasts and transitioned from tape, to digital, to social. My mission every day has been to guide you and to challenge you, but, most importantly, to get out of your way to let your skills shine. I've learned so much from the most exceptional news team in the country.
This is not goodbye! Milwaukee is not far away. I know our paths will cross again! I know each of you will continue to make a real difference. It's been my privilege to work alongside you.