Saturday, February 27, 2016

"That's our opinion; we welcome yours." -- Former WCSH6 Editorial Director Fred Nutter

You've read my complaints about the passing of real news reporting during the past several years.  I'm sorry to write about one of the last real reporters I knew who did all he could to uphold the standards of equal and fair news coverage.

WCSH6 legend Fred Nutter passed away Friday night.  He was 82 years old.

I first met Fred in the early 1960s when we both worked for local radio station WPOR.  Fred was full time and I worked weekends.  During the week, however, I was able to put my journalism degree to work chasing local news stories and reporting from the scenes of many events.

Toward the middle of the 1960s, Fred was hired away from the station to become a city reporter for WCSH radio and television.  As you know, WCSH radio has long since been sold and the radio call letters are no longer in use.  But Fred had already become one of the best local reporters in any media and remained at WCSH TV. 

Fred hadn't missed my work ethic and in 1965 he recommended to the lead announcer at the WCSH radio station that I might make a contribution there.  After a lengthy interview, where I think I made an absolute fool of myself, not hard for me to do, I too was hired away from the first radio station.

I think it was Fred who told the then TV news director I would make a good part time addition to the news staff and his recommendation was accepted.  Fred later became news director of WCSH-TV and he continued the standards established by his predecessor of requiring equal and fair coverage of all news events. 

After WCSH radio was sold, he found a weekend spot for me along with my continuing to be a "chaser" for local news events during the week. 

The station's news department grew into Maine's number one source for News and even today boasts that more people get their news from WCSH6 than from any other news source.  Our reporters were simply not allowed to "editorialize" in news stories or let their own feelings become important in reporting.

That did leave a little void in our coverage, and station management filled it.  Fred Nutter became the Editorial Director and he presented frequent editorials on various subjects.  He even included invitations to newsmakers to have time to make their news known.

Like his name, his editorial closings became household:  "That's our opinion; we welcome yours."

I am proud to have had Fred Nutter as a friend, colleague, mentor, and leader during my broadcasting career.  He leaves behind three kids, several grandchildren, and a wife of 55 years.  Fred Nutter...May you rest in the peace your hard work and leadership earned.


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