Updated 10:50pm -- SYRACUSE -- No confirmation directly from management, but CNYTVNews.com has obtained a copy of an email memo stating reporter Jennifer Lewke has resigned from ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV). Earlier today, Lewke's photo disappeared from the talent list on the station's website.
CNYTVNews.com did contact GM Theresa Underwood earlier today for verification and further comment. We haven't heard back yet, but an anonymous reader has since forwarded us an email Underwood issued to staff this morning, announcing Lewke's resignation. Short and sweet, it went like this:
Please be advised that I have accepted the resignation of Jennifer Lewke. We wish Jennifer the best of luck in the future.
Earlier today, Lewke's photo disappeared from the "News Team Bios" page at 9wsyr.com. Over on the website's "Real Deal" page, where many of Lewke's consumer-issue stories are posted, a credit card logo that featured her picture has been replaced with a credit card that just says "9WSYR.com" across the front.
Lewke's exit from the station comes the day after the May 2011 Nielsen sweeps period ended. It also comes a little over two weeks following the resignation of longtime news director Jim Tortora.
An anonymous reader tells us Underwood issued another memo to staff late this evening. An excerpt:
I would like to thank you all again for your continued focus and attention as we work through the transition of our management team. For the sake of clarification, the “mega department” is no longer a part of the station structure and each manager reports directly to me.
That "mega department" is a reference to the fact Tortora's supervision of the news department eventually grew to include certain related departments (including production) under his official title, Director of News and Content.
During the roughly six years Lewke worked at the station, she won several awards for her work as the station's "consumer investigator." One series of reports focused on a local auctioneer who failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to customers after he sold their items. Another series focused on a local memorial company that took payments for headstones, but failed to deliver on the orders.
According to the job openings listed on NewsChannel 9's website, the station has already been accepting applications for a news reporter since late April. We presume the same announcement will now be used to replace Lewke's empty seat in the newsroom as well.
Thanks to the anonymous CNYTVNews.com reader who helped verify this story. Anytime you've got news tips to share, but you don't want us to know who you are, just use the Contact Form, where there are spaces for your name and email address, but you can leave them blank. We'll also take plain ol' email to firstname.lastname@example.org -- just specify that you wish to remain anonymous and we will respect that request.