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Michaelsen stepping away from WUSA

Gannettoid.com | news@gannettoid.com | Posted: Aug. 11, 2009 • Night report

Gannett's flagship television station, WUSA in Washington, D.C., is looking for its ninth news director in 14 years after Tuesday's announcement that Lane Michaelsen is leaving the job for a similar one with WTVJ-TV in Miami.

WTVJ is an NBC owned-and-operated station. WUSA is a CBS affiliate.

Allan Horlick, the station's sixth general manager the last 14 years, said in a memo to the staff, "this announcement likely comes as a surprise to many of you" and said Michaelsen and his family consider Florida their home.

Michaelsen was a corporate vice president from March 2004 until taking the WUSA job in September 2008, according to his LinkedIn page. In his corporate job, he travelled the country training newspaper reporters and some television personnel how to shoot and edit video for broadcast on the Web and television. Before that, he was news director at Gannett's WTSP in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Michaelsen replaced Mike Ward, who was fired after a 14-month tenure. Ward later suffered a stroke.

It was believed Michaelsen took the WUSA job with hopes it would lead to a job as a station general manager, but instead it's on to another job as news director. There has been speculation he took the WUSA job after learning his corporate job was going to be eliminated.

According to an announcement on TVNewsCheck.com from when Michaelsen took the WUSA job, he began his career as an award-winning news photojournalist, most notably at Gannett's KARE in Minneapolis. He then became news director at KTHV Little Rock, Ark. The announcement also said, "Michaelsen is the recipient of 12 regional Emmys including Best Newscast, two national and five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and 90 awards from the National Press Photographers Association."

Here is the memo:

From: Horlick, Allan
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 3:37 PM
To: WUSA-All
Subject: Important announcement

I’m writing this note to announce that Lane Michaelsen has advised me that he will be resigning as Vice President of the Information Center effective August 19, 2009 in order to assume a similar position at WTVJ/NBC in Miami. While this announcement likely comes as a surprise to many of you, for those of you who have had the opportunity to work closely with Lane and to really get to know him, I believe that you will understand and appreciate his thinking.

I know that this decision was a difficult one for Lane to make, but one that was made by him, his wife Pat, and the girls as a family. The Michaelsens consider Florida their home and see this move as a great opportunity for them. While I’d be kidding if I said I was pleased with his decision, I can say that I do respect him for it.

I am now moving forward with the search for Lane’s replacement. This search will be made easier by the foundation that we have all worked so hard to put into place ove rthe past few years, and by having a team with some outstanding players already in place. In that regard, I am pleased to announce that Jay Mishkin will serve as our Acting Director of the Information Center until a permanent successor to Lane has been selected.

I know that you will all join me in wishing Lane and his family all the best going forward, and I’ll close by thanking all of you for your fine work on behalf of the station and 9 News Now.


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