Following an internal investigation, Telemundo President Don Browne has suspended KVEA-TV (Ch. 52) Los Angeles anchor Mirthala Salinas for two months for violating the conflict-of-interest policies of the NBC Universal company. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has acknowledged having an affair with Salinas (7/9/07 TVBR #132).
"First, let me emphasize that while the content and accuracy of KVEA's newscasts were not compromised, our news policy standards with respect to conflict of interest were clearly violated," Browne said in a memo to employees that was also made public. He noted that KVEA had taken Salinas off the City Hall news beat at the end of 2006 because of her "friendship" with the Mayor and she was assigned duties that did not involve covering him. "In April 2007, she was given the role of temporary news anchor and read lead-ins and other materials involving stories on the Mayor and politics. This decision conflicted with our guidelines and with management's prior decision. Subsequent to this, her reading of copy during newscasts on June 8 and June 11 regarding the Mayor's separation from his wife was a flagrant violation of these guidelines. The failure to respond appropriately in the following weeks further compounded these errors," Browne said.
Following the internal investigation, with assistance from faculty of the Poynter Institute regarding journalistic ethics, Browne suspended Salinas and KVEA News Director Al Corral each for two months without pay. KVEA President and General Manager Manuel Abud has been reassigned and Ibra Morales, President of the Telemundo Television Stations Division, has been reprimanded.