Vermont's revolving door between the media and the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas took another turn today, this time with a top official leaving the public service ranks to join a news organization.
Gov. Douglas is usually one to hire members of the media away from their jobs. It doesn't usually work the other way around. More on that in a minute.
Veteran WCAX-TV news director and nightly anchor Marselis Parsons is stepping aside this month as news director. He'll remain in the 6 p.m. news anchor through the summer. After that, he will be replaced on the 6 p.m. news by Darren Perron.
As news director he'll be succeeded by Anson Tebbetts, the deputy secretary of agriculture, and a former radio and TV reporter. In fact, Tebbetts was once the Statehouse reporter for WCAX-TV.
“It has been a privilege to be the news director of this station for almost 25 years," said Parsons in a statement. Parsons has been news director since 1984, and with Channel 3 since 1967. "I am confident Anson will continue the traditions of WCAX established by those who hired me. ... I am proud to say I hired all three and I have watched Anson, Kristin and Darren develop into award-winning broadcasters."
Tebbetts has served as the deputy secretary of agriculture since early 2007. He joined WCAX-TV as a Rutland correspondent in 1994, moving to Montpelier in 1995 to cover state government and the legislature.
Douglas wished Parsons well in his retirement, and said he would miss Tebbetts as part of his "team".
“Over my years in public service, I’ve known Marselis to be a fair anddedicated journalist of the first order,” said Douglas. “As areporter, then anchor and news director, he has shaped Vermont historywith intelligent coverage and piercing insight. His love of Vermont andpassion for telling a good story shines through in each evening'sbroadcast. Div will be truly missed.”
Regarding Tebbetts, Douglas said, “Anson has been aninvaluable member of my team,” said Douglas. “His knowledge, enthusiasmand commitment to Vermont agriculture will be sorely missed. I wishAnson well in his new endeavor.”
And, it never hurts to have one of your own running Vermont's only statewide TV channel, eh?
Douglas still has three former reporters on staff — Sabina Haskell, David Mace andJohn Zicconi.
Mace is the spokesmen forthe Agency of Commerce and Community Development while Zicconi is spokesman for the Agency ofTransportation. He recently received a title change and $14,000 pay raise; he's now the Director of VTrans’ Division of Planning, Outreach and Community Affairs. Both Mace and Zicconi had worked for the Vermont Press Bureau, the Montpelier news team for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus.
Haskell is the spokesperson for the Agency of Natural Resources. Haskell left the Brattleboro Reformer to take over for Darren Allen, another former journalist. Allen had also worked at the Vermont Press Bureau.
Among journalists, Tebbetts will join the ranks of a select few who have left the media, worked for a politician and then returned to journalism. Sue Allen, currently the editor of the Times Argus, left the Associated Press to work as a spokeswoman for Gov. Howard Dean. She later left Dean's presidential campaign to join the Burlington Free Press as an editorial writer.
In assuming his new position, Tebbetts, a Cabot native, said in a statement, "I look forward to building on the strong tradition of story telling and fairness that's been part of the Channel 3 newsroom for decades."
Perron began his broadcast career in 1994 as an intern at WCAX and joined the news division as a full-time reporter in1995. He was promoted to senior reporter in 2004 and anchors weekend broadcasts. He is a native of Barton.