Is Your TV News Talent Agent Negotiating the Best Deal?

TV news talent, including anchors, reporters, sports reporters, and meteorologists, are no strangers to having multiple offers from various stations.

So what to do?

Unfortunately, too many of these folks don’t have a reliable agent negotiating the best deal for them. Thus, their first order of business should be to hire an experienced TV news talent agent who has an intimate understanding of how the industry works.

Reasons to Hire a TV News Talent Agent

In a nutshell, an experienced TV news talent agent will have connections with station news directors and general managers that give him or her backdoor access to information that could affect your decision.

Furthermore, when a TV news talent agent recognizes true potential, he or she is willing to coach such individuals to help them find the best job for the most money. That said, having an agent will likely get you at least 15-20% more than you would get on your own.

Bottom line, with an agent, you have so many advantages that you just won’t don’t on your own. Because of their vast knowledge of the industry (and, more importantly, the people in it), they can help you home in on the best deal when you have multiple offers.

Common Mistakes Talent Make When Choosing a Job

So often, when a talented TV news personality is faced with several offers, they can become overwhelmed and tend to focus on the wrong things when considering which position to take. The following are just some examples:

  1. Going Where the Climate Suits Them

The first big mistake is choosing a job for its climate, which happens more than you would think. While it may be appealing to live in a place that’s warm and sunny all year, any good agent will tell you that this should not be the driving force behind deciding which offer to accept.

For example, many people are thrilled when offered a position in a city like San Diego. It’s one of the sunniest cities in the country. Yet, once they arrive, they’re befuddled as to why the pay isn’t consistent with the cost of living. That’s because management knows there are plenty of talented people willing to take the position and sacrifice the best deal for good weather.

  1. Not Knowing How Far to Push An Offer

When an offer comes, folks without an agent (or with an inexperienced one) are tempted to accept it flat out. Rarely, however, is the first offer the final offer.

A TV new talent agent has an implicit understanding of how far an offer can be pushed. They won’t automatically assume that hair, clothing, and makeup are part of the offer – as they often aren’t anymore. The same can be said for relocation costs. While companies may hedge on paying them, an agent knows how to negotiate to get them to shell out compensation for at least part of these expenses.

Finally, they’d advise most talent under the age of 30 to secure a deal that’s no longer than two years in duration. This is because by the time the third year comes around, the salary will no longer be enough – at which point, the agent would set up a renegotiation for more. An exception is for a frontline Anchor who is being offered significant money and terms.

  1. Allowing Their Agent to Accept a Deal on Their Behalf

Talent that’s somewhat inexperienced might be eager to allow their agent to accept a deal on their behalf without fully understanding all the tenets of the deal. This should never happen and a morally upstanding agent would not allow this. Every deal should be in writing before the agent AND the talent sign off on it.

What a TV News Talent Agent Negotiating the Best Deal Looks Like

At the end of the day, a TV news talent agent negotiating the best deal will come down to some important questions posed to the talent by the agent.

Among the considerations are whether the job will set them up well for the next job, what kind of environment has management created, and if it’s somewhere they’ll want to stay for a long time. And these are just a few.

So if you’re an anchor, reporter, sports reporter, or meteorologist trying to decide between multiple offers and your agent isn’t working hard on your behalf, contact us today. As long-standing professionals in the industry, we will ALWAYS have your back.

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TV News Talent Agents Who Thrive While Industry Falters

Times are tough in the media industry. There’s no denying it. If you’re seeking TV news jobs, this fact may be enough to discourage you from finding an agent.

After all, the stock prices of major firms are in free fall. And more than a handful of companies are buying people out, laying people off, and/or instituting hiring freezes.

How in the world, you think, will you ever find TV news talent agents who thrive while the industry is crumbling?

You Don’t Need to Look Far

The good news is, even in the midst of collapse, Mort Meisner Associates continues to perform and succeed in placing talent at a phenomenal rate.

Maybe you’re a TV news meteorologist or sports reporter looking to go from your first or second job to your second or third job. Or perhaps you’re a news reporter or anchor looking to make the leap to a major market. Whatever the case, Mort Meisner Associates has your back.

They’ve recently done deals for TV news anchors, reporters, and sports reporters in markets of all sizes. They’ve placed talent in major markets including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Charlotte, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, and Portland, Oregon. In addition, medium/smaller markets such as Tucson, Arizona; South Bend, Indiana; Springfield, Missouri; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina have benefitted from new talent they placed there.

Lean times in the media industry are simply not an issue for Mort Meisner Associates.

How Do TV News Agents Thrive When Times Are Tough?

You may still fail to see the value of a TV news talent agent. You might be thinking it makes more sense to just go to the internet and search for job postings. This route isn’t likely to give you access to the jobs you truly want because it all comes down to connections. Face-to-face human connections, that is.

Yes, anyone can check a website once a job is posted. Often though, the job is already taken. How come? Because TV news agents with connections are aware of job openings weeks or even months before they’re posted.

This is precisely why you want a TV news agent who has worked in the industry. Mort Meisner Associates agents have worked as news directors, managing editors, and in other management capacities. As such, they know (and more importantly are known by) vice presidents of news, news directors, executive producers, and general managers.

News management trusts these agents because they’ve come from the same side of the desk. As such, they continue to have the inside track. They not only know where the jobs are right now, but where they are going to be. And they know this before anyone else does.

Even now, as the industry struggles, Mort Meisner Associates has the inroads necessary to get you the placement you want.

Go With the Pros

Whether you’re a TV news anchor, sports anchor, meteorologist, or reporter, you need TV news agents who thrive when the going gets tough.

You’ll find them at Mort Meisner Associates.

So contact us today. We’ve got the connections to get YOU connected.

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Bidding a Happy Farewell to Noncompetes for News Talent

One of the struggles top TV news talent agents in the country face is helping their clients be more mobile in their existing markets where they often want to stay.

Part of what makes this such a challenge is the existence of noncompete agreements (NCAs).

So TV news talent agents (along with TV news anchors, reporters, meteorologists, and sportscasters) who see these noncompetes as hopelessly outdated are thrilled that the Federal Trade Commission opted to promote competition by banning noncompetes nationwide on April 23rd, 2024. While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is challenging it, the industry is holding out hope for the FTC’s ruling.

The Faulty View of Noncompetes for News Talent

The question of the efficacy and necessity of NCAs has been a hot-button topic in the media industry.

Some still feel that noncompetes for TV news jobs are crucial for stations and media companies to protect their investment in talent onboarding, training, and other professional development. They don’t want competitors to benefit from this.

Yet, when used effectively, rivalry can actually help stations retain their talent. When there is rivalry, employees are not eager to join ranks with “the enemy” or their enemies’ allies because they have a bond with their own station.

Another argument for keeping NCAs has been that employees who sign NCAs can negotiate higher raises in return for their loyalty. But researchers from the FTC, and Duke and Ohio State Universities say this isn’t the case. Those with NCAs typically have lower salaries. This is especially true for female and Black talent.

The elimination of NCAs would likely lead to needed salary readjustments.

Moving Away from NCAs Is a Good Thing

The FTC’s ruling on noncompetes is evidence that the media industry needs to prioritize talent development, as well as employee engagement.

Noncompete agreements have, in the past, been a means for fixing management shortcomings or holding onto employees in demanding work environments. Their restrictive nature, however, often leads TV news reporters, anchors, and meteorologists to believe there are better opportunities somewhere else.

The banning of NCAs would almost certainly reshape the dynamics of acquiring talent now. NCAs require stations to hire more inexperienced people or those with less relevant skills. Without NCAs, however, talent would have more mobility. And this is a boon for TV news talent agents as well.

At the end of the day, if the FTC’s ruling stands, TV news stations and media companies will need to step up and invest in creating a more positive work environment that not only draws but retains top talent. This includes providing highly individualized incentives, opportunities for professional development, and promoting from within the company.

Once they do this, they will be able to more effectively rely on the loyalty of their top talent while also attracting previously NCA-trapped workers from other stations. This will give them an edge in the war on talent.

And yes, that IS a good thing.

It’s an Exciting Time for TV News Talent

Whether you’re a TV news reporter or anchor, a sportscaster or meteorologist, the banning of noncompetes for news talent will be good news for you. So if you’re not happy with your current position, it’s time to consider a move.

Additionally, if you’re not happy with your current agent – or you don’t yet have one – now is the ideal time to reach out to us. Our agents’ extensive and wide-spanning connections with news directors and station managers around the country will give you the competitive edge.

So let’s see what’s out there!

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Why You Need a TV News Agent With Connections

Are you a TV news anchor, reporter, or meteorologist seeking great representation? When you start vetting agents, it can be confusing and even overwhelming.

There is a wealth of people calling themselves agents and will happily flash their “qualifications” to get you on board. Many of them are not legitimate, however. So if you’re looking for TV news jobs in the industry, where do you begin?

One of the single most important qualifications you want is a TV news agent with connections.

It’s All About Experience

When you’re looking for an agent, you want someone who knows not only where the jobs are, but where they’re going to be and whether they’re appropriate for you. Any TV news personality is going to have the upper hand with an agent who knows people in the industry.

Unfortunately, the bulk of TV news agents are either attorneys with little to no television experience, or individuals that have an interest in the news (and perhaps even a little experience) but have never been in the trenches. They haven’t worked with the important people who can help you get the upper hand.

While searching for a TV news agent, you want someone who has worked in the industry – ideally someone who has served in management, such as a news director or managing editor. Someone who was in the industry in this way likely knows vice presidents of news, news directors, executive producers, and general managers in a way that others will not.

The Internet Doesn’t Cut It

You might be thinking you can just skip getting an agent. Why bother? Why not just go to the internet and search for job postings? They’re definitely out there.

The fact is, anyone could check a website once a job is posted. Often though, the job is already taken. This is because a well-connected TV news agent knows about job openings weeks or even months before they’re posted. And news management trusts these agents because they’ve come from the same side of the desk.

Thus, their clients get dibs.

When you rely solely on the internet to get TV news jobs, you’re going at it alone. Whether you’re a TV news sports reporter, anchor, or meteorologist, working with an experienced TV news agent with connections means you have a knowledgeable ally. It’s an actual human who has your best interest at heart and will tell you not what you want to hear, but what you NEED to hear to get to the next level.

It’s impossible to put a price on that.

Ready to Consult with a TV News Agent with Connections?

Whether you’re in the early or middle stages of your career, in a middle market looking for another middle market location, or in a middle market and looking to get to a major market or network, you need a TV news agent with connections.

Mort Meisner is that agent. Having worked his way up to the highest levels of TV news management from an entry-level position, he is BEYOND well-connected in the industry.

So if you’re ready to make this crucial step in your career, contact him today. Having him in your lane will be a true game-changer for your career.

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When Is It Time to Hire a TV News Agent?

If you’re a TV news anchor, reporter, or meteorologist, you may be pondering whether it’s time to hire a TV news agent.

This is a big decision and shouldn’t be made lightly.

There are many factors that you need to consider when setting out to boost your career with an experienced TV news agent. Ask yourself the following questions:

How Long Have I Been in TV News?

If you’re brand new to the industry and right out of school, chances are you don’t need an agent. This isn’t a given though.

An agent will happily take on brand new talent if they show real promise and are willing to do the work. In some cases, these newbies have heralded from a school with a broadcast journalism school that produced daily live and professional-looking newscasts so they have a solid reel. But even in cases where there isn’t a reel, agents can use their connections to help promising new talent build one.

Furthermore, when a TV news agent recognizes genuine talent, they are willing to coach such individuals to help them find the best first job for the most money, while also helping them help themselves so they can attain a great second job.

Meanwhile, candidates who have already gotten their feet wet working their first TV news job should definitely consider an agent. S/he can offer you so many advantages that you just won’t find out there on your own – regardless of how well you navigate the internet.

What Is My Life Plan?

Wow. That’s a heavy question! But what we’re referring to here is whether you want to work for a large network vs. the local level.

Many young up-and-coming TV news reporters or anchors are shooting for the big time. They envision themselves on the larger networks and want the lifestyle that goes with that.

Then there are those who know they want to stick closer to home. They may be starting a family and have a significant other who is rooted in his/her job, family, and friends in their current location. Plus, there is power in local news.

Obviously, for those who are aiming for major market 0&0s, affiliates, or network destinations and are willing to go wherever they need to go to get that, an agent is indispensable. They are well-connected and will be eager to send your tape all over the country to give you the best shot at a new job.

Yet, there is a myth that agents won’t want to work with those seeking local work. And that’s just not true. If you’re already at a local station that’s also in a major market, you’ll want an agent to negotiate your next deal at that station. S/he can also get you a meeting at another station across town if needed.

This leads us to the most important question:

So Where Can I Find a Great TV News Agent?

Sure, it might seem easy enough to resort to job searches on the internet to find work. And you can do that.

But consider this. An experienced TV news agent who has connections with station news directors and general managers is going to have backdoor access to information that no website will ever have. Plus, by the time curious applicants see job postings on the internet, they’re typically already taken. A TV news agent can share your info and reel long before that happens.

So once you feel you have some chops in the industry and are ready to explore hiring an agent, you can ask other TV news reporters or anchors for recommendations. In addition, attend conferences and take advantage of networking. Meeting your prospective agent face-to-face will give you a good feel for whether he or she is right for you.

Feeling Ready to Hire a TV News Agent?

Whether you’re a TV news meteorologist, reporter, or anchor, deciding to hire a TV news agent could be the biggest game changer in your career.

So if the above questions have left you feeling ready to take this next important step, contact us today.

With over 30 years of experience in broadcast news, TV news agents Mort Meisner and Steve Koles know the people and players that fuel this industry. We make the connections that will get you in the game.

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Mort Meisner Associates Welcomes Steve Koles

Steve KolesSteve Koles has joined Mort Meisner Associates as an agent.  Steve has deep experience as a News Executive and News Director for more than two decades and has previously served at the CBS Affiliates in both Columbus and Rochester.

Steve will be responsible for recruiting and representing new clients to the long-time, established agency for tv and news talent.

While Mort Meisner Associates is based in suburban Detroit, Steve will be based in upstate New York and will utilize his 25 years in the news industry to assist in the growth of the agency.

About Mort Meisner Associates

Mort Meisner has decades of experience as a top news executive and decision maker at legendary stations such as ABC Owned and Operated WLS in Chicago, CBS Owned and Operated WBBM in Chicago, FOX Owned and Operated WJBK in Detroit, ABC Owned and Operated WXYZ in Detroit, and NBC affiliate KSDK in St. Louis.  Mort Meisner Associates is the premier agency in the United States for tv news talent.  Mort’s team has more than 30 years of experience in one of the most difficult industries and has a reputation that is second-to-none.

To learn more please visit

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Allegations of Sexism and Racism At CBS

One of the most interesting aspects of Mort Meisner’s new memoir Enough to Be Dangerous is looking back at how sexism and racism thrived in the news industry in the 1980s.

It’s also one of the saddest.

First, because treating women and people of color as second class citizens was acceptable behavior. This always bothered Mort and he would not tolerate it in his newsroom.

But second, the latest news of allegations of sexism and racism at CBS shows that things hadn’t changed everywhere as much as we’d hoped they had. However, the quick response to it has.

The Dawn of a New Day?

For many of us, we felt a collective weight lifted from our shoulders in the last seven days. This past week instilled new hope and put at least a little of that proverbial skip back into our steps.

And in the midst of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements back in 2018, it looked like CBS was ready to start cleaning up its act when they invited employees to report “sexual harassment, retaliation or the unfair treatment of women.”

But looks can be deceiving.

A year earlier, Margaret Cronan had walked away from a prestigious and high-paying position she loved at a CBS station in Philadelphia because she could no longer stomach the rampant sexism and racism. Especially coming from the President Peter Dunn and a top lieutenant who went to great lengths to bully female managers and block efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.

She stepped up to the plate to offer what she’d experienced. And when others offered allegations of serious misconduct, she was relieved that they would finally be exposed.

But it took until January 24th, 2021, to see justice served.

Some Positive Changes at CBS

CBS can’t be accused of being completely in the dark ages.

Sure, Charlie Rose was fired three years ago amid allegations of sexual misconduct. CBS also gave other bigwigs the boot for abusive behavior. Furthermore, they now offer programs that prominently feature Black characters and have brought Black men and women into the folds as managers, news directors, and even executives.

Yet, despite the allegations, Dunn continued to run a chain of 28 CBS-owned TV stations that employ 2,800 workers. He ran a tight ship; with final say over which local anchors and reporters appeared on CBS. And you can bet that women and people of color were the vast minority.

One station of particular interest in these allegations has been KYW in Philadelphia. The station made a major move when they brought on Ukee Washington as lead evening anchor. He’d been with KYW for over 30 years and was Black. And his expertise and professionalism are what inspired Cronan to return to TV news.

Yet in a 2016 meeting, when Dunn asked about Washington’s transition to lead anchor, he said, “He’s not doing that ‘jive talking’ anymore? Sometimes, he’s just not speaking my language.”

Cronan was shocked.

As they set out to retool their morning lineup, Cronan remembers Dunn asking of a potential host if he was “too gay for Philadelphia.”

How could this possibly be happening in 2016? Why were these two men permitted to keep their job?

Allegations of Sexism and Racism At CBS Put Nail in the Coffin

Finally, after a revealing article from the Los Angeles Times exposed both Dunn and senior vice president David Friend and the long line of allegations against them, they were required to take administrative leave.

It was much too long a time coming though.

During her time as news director, Cronan witnessed racism and experience verbal assaults – even being called a fucking idiot.

Cronan finally left her job as news director at KYW in 2017. “I no longer could tolerate a culture in which I was expected to defend corporate decisions that I found offensive,” Cronan told The Times.

And she wasn’t the only one.

Unfortunately for them, KYW has lost several prominent Black journalists. In 2015, Steve Patterson hit the bricks and headed over to the more receptive NBC News. In 2016, the stations’ only Black male reporter Justin Finch, also left to head over to NBC.

And Rahel Solomon is now at CNBC after leaving as KYW’s morning co-anchor. Dunn wouldn’t extend her contract. During a two-hour-plus phone call to discuss the matter, one of the objections he raised was that, “I hate her face.”

It’s vile, disgusting, appalling, and so incredibly shameful that this was allowed to happen for as long as it did. And despite the fact that these two key figures were finally relieved of their duties, Mort Meisner was heartbroken by it all.

Still, he can’t help but to feel that his continued fight against sexism and racism is making a difference. So he’ll continue to fight the good fight into 2021… and beyond.

Insisting on Higher Standards

That these allegations of sexism and racism at these specific stations is definitely disappointing. But we HAVE made progress since Mort’s days in the 1980s newsrooms.

To get a glimpse the ways Mort fought sexism and racism and refused to accept them as “business as usual,” grab a copy of Enough to Be Dangerous.

It’s an inspirational read during a time when things are finally looking up.

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Writing a Memoir; Growing a Friendship

When Mort Meisner set out to write his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, he had no idea he’d gain a friend along the path.

Mort had some reservations about the first writer he commissioned to help him with the project. When the writer decided to depart to a foreign country with no explanation, those reservations were confirmed.

Feeling slighted, and justifiably so, he wasn’t in any rush to find someone new.

And as is so often the case, he would find what he was looking for when he wasn’t actually searching.

A Chance Encounter

One morning, Mort went to his usual café to grab a coffee before work. A small group of friends was sitting on the patio; a group he nodded to and smiled at every morning. Being the quintessential “people person” that Mort is, he finally introduced himself.

They were warm and receptive and welcomed him to join them.

Among them was a former drug counselor, a musician, and… a writer. He felt he’d stumbled upon something really good. And he had. Not only would he cull some amazing bonds and friendships within the group, but he’d unwittingly stumbled upon the writer who would help him pen his memoir.

Making the Connection

Mort was quick to form a connection with the writer, Stephanie Ruopp. He needed someone to write posts for both his agent business and cannabis marketing business blogs. She was happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, he joined the group each morning before work for coffee. And as his professional relationship and personal friendship with Steph continued to grow, it dawned on him that she could be the one to help him with his story.

He asked if that would be something of interest and she was open to the opportunity. They decided upon a trial run to see if they “clicked” well during the writing process.

They did.

Writing a Memoir Takes Courage

Steph soon discovered that Mort had a wealth of amazing stories about his life in the news industry and as a rock and roll promoter. They were stories that would wow people at parties. And they would certainly be a great part of the book.

But there had to be more than just those.

Steph noticed that Mort also talked frequently about the “funny” things his father said to him as a child about being lazy or generally worthless. Except they weren’t funny at all. They were cruel.

From the memoir:

My dad was clearly depressed. I see it now. But as a child and teenager, he just seemed crazy and out of control. Even in later years after we left Detroit to live in the suburbs, he sometimes got very dark and headed to the attic. First he pulled down the creaky stairs, then he began to heft his heavy body up them.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m going up to the attic to hang myself,” he responded. “Do you want to come?”

I always laughed. But it wasn’t funny.

There was also physical abuse. And though the relationship with his mother was marginally better, there was verbal abuse on her part as well. All of this, while growing up in poor Detroit neighborhoods in the racially tense 1960s.

These were the stories that also needed to be in the book. But it was tough.

As Mort began to convey more of these stories to Steph, those old feelings from childhood crept back in and surfaced. It was as if he were experiencing the trauma all over again. And to some extent, he was.

Deciding What to Disclose

Obviously, Mort found it difficult to share the stories about his parents and the abuse he suffered during childhood. Yet Steph kept gently encouraging him to explore those stories and include them in the memoir. After all, they were an inherent part of Mort’s life story and pivotal in making him the person he became.

He had to agree.

There was another aspect of his life he wasn’t sure he was ready to share, however. In fact, he didn’t know that he ever wanted to share it. And that was his cocaine use.

It was something he hadn’t yet disclosed to his adult children.

Meanwhile, as the months wore on, Steph and Mort continued to grow their friendship – meeting with the group every morning for coffee. He continued to support her and connect her with others who needed her writing services, and she, in turn, used her training as a life coach and yoga instructor to offer ways for Mort to cope with his dark past so they could keep forging ahead.

They trusted each other implicitly. And this made their collaboration all the easier.

Eventually, Mort told his children about his cocaine use and included it in the book. It was agonizing at times and he struggled with the usual feelings of shame and regret. But as is often the case with such admissions, it was also incredibly liberating.

A Bond That Can’t Be Broken

Mort and Steph had no idea what to expect as they embarked on the journey to write Mort’s memoir nearly two years ago. And there have certainly been plenty of other valuable players along the way that were essential in making the book a reality.

But at the end of the day, working together to tell Mort’s story enabled them to forge a solid and enduring friendship. Even now, in the freezing cold of winter in the middle of this pandemic, it’s not unusual to find that same small group, bundled up, seated six feet apart, and drinking coffee in a tent.

And central among them are Mort and Steph – forever grateful for their bond that can never be broken.

Mort Meisner Has Lived a Rich Life

If you’re interested in reading the fruits of Mort’s and Steph’s labor of love, pick up a copy of Enough to Be Dangerous today.

You can purchase it from independent sellers such as Paper Trail Books in Royal Oak or Book Beat in Oak Park. You can also purchase it on Amazon.

It’s the perfect read for over the holidays!

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Mort Meisner to Appear on Extra This Month

When Mort Meisner set out to write his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, he never dreamed he’d one day be interviewed on television’s Extra about it.

It makes sense though.

His memoir tackles the timely issues of racism and sexism that thrived for the decades he worked in the news industry. In his interview, Mort discusses how disgusted he was by these and what he did to change antiquated policies and ways of thinking.

But this is just part of what he highlights in his new memoir.

Enough to Be Dangerous Draws Attention

It was Mort’s memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, that caught the attention of producers in Hollywood at Extra. They were impressed by the depth of his life and its many facets.  

For example, the second chapter is entitled “Plenty of Crazy to Go Around.” And it sets the stage for the harsh childhood Mort would face:

Although white residents would say that Detroit experienced its glory days during the 1950s and early 1960s, the neighborhoods where I grew up were far from glorious. Even though they were predominantly white, they were not reaping the rewards of post-war prosperity.

And it was becoming ever more clear that racial intolerance bred by ignorance in these neighborhoods lent itself seamlessly to religious intolerances as well. Hatred toward Black people was incomprehensible to me; they’d done nothing wrong to me or my family. Instead, I began to see the enemy as white “greasers,” like the four teenagers who attacked my mother.

Sadly, the dangerous neighborhood had nothing on what I’d come to call the House of Horrors – our home, the place where a child should feel safe.

It’s hard to reconcile that the confident and successful man that is Mort Meisner today could have come from such a dismal background. It was one that would drive him to drug use later in his life.

Yet in some ways, the insecurity, abuse, and unpredictability he experienced as a child would also help prepare him for the often ruthless and unforgiving news industry.

And one that was more than peppered with racism and sexism.

A Timely Book

Over the course of the two years Mort spent working on his memoir, the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements picked up tremendous speed.

So it seemed all too appropriate that he highlight what he did to battle racism and sexism in the book. Chapter 10 is entitled, “A Racist Label: The Garbage Men,” and it goes into detail the practice of rooting out Black men in TV news and giving them only the bottom-of-the-barrel stories.

While the sexism was usually a bit more covert than that, it was alive and well in many aspects of the industry as well. Throughout the memoir, Mort recalls all of these situations with disgust and a drive to enact change.

Upon reading his stories, you’ll see that in many cases, he was tremendously successful.

Not a High Profile Celebrity

The exciting thing about Mort’s appearance on Extra – besides having the opportunity to share his amazing story with a wider audience – is that he’s not a celebrity, per se.

While he was well known in the world of news broadcasting, his story basically profiles how a “regular” guy can experience the same ups and downs as a celebrity.

From his wild music days and struggle with a cocaine addiction, to raising a family at home while raising hell at work, his is a story that entertains the entire way through.

And it was all of these factors that landed him on Extra.

Don’t Miss the Interview!

As of now, Mort is scheduled to appear on Extra on December 10th, 12th, and 13th. This could change, however, if something happens in the celebrity world and his interview gets bumped.

So be sure to check with their website to get the full details on times, dates, and which affiliate stations in your area will be broadcasting it.

If you want to grab a copy of the book before the interview, you can do so by clicking here.

And to keep up to date on all of the events surrounding Enough to Be Dangerous, be sure to subscribe to our blog.

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The Power of Local News

Last week on 60 Minutes, former President Barack Obama spoke with wisdom and insight so many of us have come to miss.

He spoke of the disturbing fact that 71 million people voted for a man with whom he feels he has absolutely nothing in common. But he made an important point:

“The voters are divided. It has now become a contest where issues, facts, policies per se don’t matter as much as identity and wanting to beat the other guy. You know, that’s taken priority. I do think the current media environment adds to that greatly. This democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have an informed citizenry.”

In his new memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort Meisner talks extensively about the responsibility media has in educating the public – at both the national and local level.

And doing so with FACTS.

The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Debacle

In Mort’s book, he recalls one of the biggest stories he would cover.

In terms of notoriety, the biggest story of my career was the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan attack. The story made international and national headlines.

It’s what came later that made this story so unbelievable, so crazy, so bizarre that Tanya Harding’s gang of cretins had actually plotted to whack Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the knees with a baton during a competition at Detroit’s Cobo Hall in January of 1994.

At the time, Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon remained Mort’s source on every aspect of the story. With McKinnon’s intelligence and the mad skills of investigative reporter Scott Lewis, Mort’s CBS affiliate station in Detroit was uncovering the whole twisted plot while national and international media circles couldn’t figure out how they were getting the story before everyone else.

In fact, they were breaking news on the case before every station and network in the country. It got to the point that when the CBS network questioned the veracity of the crazy story and asked Mort for his sources, he refused.

They threatened to not broadcast the story, to which Mort simply responded, “Fine. Don’t use the story.” When CBS turned it down, Mort gave it to NBC instead. Even though they were the competition, he knew it was crucial the information got out there.

So being able to get right into the thick of it at the local level gave them a distinct advantage. And they were able to uncover the true story.

Air Canada Flight – 1983

Ike McKinnon, a social warrior himself, was only one among Mort’s many connections that helped him get to the bottom of a story.

While working at ABC in Chicago, a fire started in the lavatory of an Air Canada flight that spread between the outer skin and inner panels of the plane. It was required to make an emergency landing.

From the book:

Ninety seconds after the plane landed, the doors were opened. The heat of the fire in combination with the fresh oxygen from the open exit doors created dangerous flashover conditions. The plane’s interior was immediately engulfed in flames – killing 23 passengers who had not yet been evacuated.

Mort had a source at the Federal Aviation Administration who provided him with these horrifying facts. Yet, the national newscasts were reporting there were few or no injuries.

But our local news was reporting otherwise with the data we had. In other words, we were reporting the facts and not fake news. This underscores the importance of having impeccable sources. Especially now, when a lot of bad information is getting rolled out as factual.

All of it gives one pause to wonder how much of what we’re hearing is actually true.

Media and Democracy

Mort’s objective was to always uncover the facts and present them with integrity and truth. Unfortunately, not every person in the media sees it this way.

In the hopeful words of President Obama from 60 Minutes:

“I think we’re gonna have to work with the media… to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to– bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction. I think that we have to work at a local level.

When you start getting to the local level, mayors– county commissioners, et cetera, they’ve actually gotta make real decisions. It’s not abstractions. It’s like, “We need to fix this road. We need to get this snow plowed. We need to make sure our kids have a safe playground to– to– to play in.”

And at that level, I don’t think people have that kind of– visceral hatred. And that’s where we have to start in terms of rebuilding the social trust we need for democracy to work.”

Mort couldn’t agree more.

Find out More in Enough to Be Dangerous

Has Mort’s story piqued your interest? Then be sure to pick up a copy of his memoir. You’ll be entertained, inspired, and even a little bit aghast at times.

It’s an interesting ride, to be sure.

You can purchase the book and support a small and local establishment by clicking here. Or if you’d rather, order on Amazon.

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