WFTV news di­rec­tor an­nounces re­tire­ment

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Hal Boedeker [email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel.com @no look walk­ers

Matt Par­cell, who has been news di­rec­tor at WFTV-Chan­nel 9 since Au­gust 2012, an­nounced Wed­nes­day that he will re­tire.

Par­cell made his an­nounce­ment at a sta­tion meet­ing. The ABC af­fil­i­ate will seek a re­place­ment by post­ing the job, and Par­cell will stay un­til the new news di­rec­tor ar­rives. Par­cell es­ti­mated that he could leave in midJan­uary.

“Things just came to­gether on a num­ber of lev­els. It was a good time to step back af­ter a 35-year ca­reer,” Par­cell said in an in­ter­view. “I don’t have to do it any­more.”

Par­cell has been with WFTV since 1997. He had been No. 2 to news di­rec­tor Bob Jor­dan and took over the top job af­ter Jor­dan left to be­come news di­rec­tor at KIRO in Seat­tle. Staffers said Par­cell is widely re­spected.

“I’ve worked with Matt Par­cell for 21 years when he was ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer spe­cial projects, then as news di­rec­tor,” con­sumer re­porter Todd Ul­rich said. “For Matt, jour­nal­ism was a pas­sion, and he was a key driv­ing force in the sta­tion’s suc­cess. When our in­ves­ti­ga­tions where chal­lenged from out­side, I could count on his judg­ment and sup­port so we did the right thing. And that meant a fair story aired to make a dif­fer­ence for our com­mu­nity. His re­tire­ment is our great loss.”

Par­cell said he has no idea what he’ll do next. “I don’t live to work,” he said. “I hope to do some good in the com­mu­nity if there’s an op­por­tu­nity to give back.”

The sto­ries that stood out at

WFTV, he said, in­clude the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the Columbia shut­tle dis­as­ter, the hur­ri­canes of 2004 and the Pulse night­club shoot­ing.

“The thing that has been so great about be­ing here, you’ve got a sta­tion and com­pany that give the re­sources to cover a story when it comes to crunch time,” Par­cell said. (WFTV is owned by Cox Me­dia Group.) “It’s a busi­ness, but we’re here to serve. It’s been great to work at a place that al­lows us to do that.”

Par­cell’s an­nounce­ment was the talk of the WFTV staff. “No one saw it com­ing. But no one is sur­prised,” one staffer said. “It’s a hard job. You’re re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­thing.”

Many fac­tors are out of a news di­rec­tor’s con­trol, such as the way watch­ing tele­vi­sion has changed in re­cent years.

Par­cell has led the news depart­ment through some ma­jor changes, such as Martha Su­gal­ski’s ar­rival and Bob Op­sahl’s re­tire­ment. Mar­tie Salt will re­tire Dec. 13, and Jorge Estevez is leav­ing Dec. 20 to take a job at WSB in At­lanta. WFTV, WSB and KIRO are owned by Cox Me­dia Group.

There’s great un­cer­tainty about what’s ahead for the Cox sta­tions. The FCC in late Novem­ber sig­naled its ap­proval of the sale of Cox to Apollo Global Man­age­ment, a pri­vate eq­uity firm.

ticked be­cause peo­ple just don’t seem to value their own safety any­more. Time and time again I have seen peo­ple on streets and in shop­ping cen­ters walk right across the road with­out so much as looking to see if a car is com­ing. Yes, tech­ni­cally the pedes­trian has the right of way in most cases, but is your life worth tak­ing that chance? Be alert, look both ways be­fore cross­ing or bik­ing, even in a cross­walk.

health care providers and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies think­ing by us­ing pup­pets in their ir­ri­tat­ing com­mer­cials? Do they think we are a bunch of 5-year-olds? The end­less com­mer­cials are bor­ing and irk­some enough with­out be­ing treated like we are chil­dren. Dump what­ever ad com­pa­nies you use. They are worthless.

off that peo­ple in­ten­tion­ally abuse the re­cy­cling pickup by putting wood scraps in it and when the county re­fuses to pick up, they just cam­ou­flage it with card­board in­stead of re­mov­ing it from their re­cy­cling cart! Id­iots like this ruin the ef­forts of those of us who care about the planet!

off that Or­ange County deputies don’t work traf­fic crashes, only state troop­ers. Not enough troop­ers, so the wait time is un­bear­able. We pay a lot of taxes to OCSO. They should work crashes.

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