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NYSNYS NEWS INSIDE THE LCA: Susan Arbetter moves from radio to TV. Matt Ryan moves from TV to PR. David Klepper moves to fake news beat. New reporters move in.
NYSNYS News


NYSNYS NEWS INSIDE THE LCA: Susan Arbetter moves from radio to TV. Matt Ryan moves from TV to PR. David Klepper moves to fake news beat. New reporters move in.


By Kyle Hughes
NYSNYS News


ALBANY, N.Y. (October 9, 2019) -- Changes in store at the radio, TV programs that focus on Capitol coverage. The AP bureau chief departs. New reporters arrive.

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Arbetter leaves 'Capitol Pressroom'

After 10 years on "The Capitol Pressroom," the daily one hour radio show broadcast out of the LCA pressroom, host Susan Arbetter is leaving to return to TV.

Arbetter will start next month as host of "Capital Tonight" on Spectrum News, the daily cable TV news program focused on government and politics. She replaces Elizabeth Benjamin, who left after the 2019 session ended to join a lobbying and public relations firm called Marathon Strategies.

Initial media reports about the unexpected departures of Benjamin and her longtime producer indicated the show would be cancelled, but Spectrum had a change of plans. Carried on Spectrum's system upstate, it is the only daily TV show on New York government and politics. Spectrum has a robust news operation covering New York City on its flagship channel, NY1.

Arbetter is credited with building the "Capitol Pressroom" from scratch, continuing to man the mic in the LCA pressroom through a succession of producers and station management changes at WCNY public broadcasting.

Producer Tim Williams said the search continues for a new host, and the station remains committed to the high standards and independent hard news approach set by Arbetter. Before starting the radio show, Arbetter was a host on WMHT public TV and WAMC public radio, both based in the Capital Region.

Arbetter's last day on the radio is Friday, October 25. She'll start at Spectrum on Monday, November 4, the day before Election Day.

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Matt Ryan out at "NY Now"

Producer and host Matt Ryan is leaving WMHT's weekly public affairs TV show "NY Now" to join the public relations staff of Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. His final show is this week.

Ryan took over the helm of the program after Arbetter's departure. The show has been on in one form or another for decades, with a number of hosts. It is now produced with the help of the Times Union. The show has a potentially wide reach, since it is a broadcast rather than cable production. It is seen across the state, both on cable and over the air TV.

There's no word on Ryan's successor, but WMHT says the show will go on.

"New York NOW has an extensive history of public affairs journalism, with roots going back decades," the station says on its website. "Now, more than ever, WMHT recognizes the importance of this coverage and our commitment to our weekly program remains unchanged. The series provides critical information across the state through the participation of our partner public media stations and our local partner The Times Union."

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AP bureau chief leaves

After six years in Albany, AP LCA bureau chief David Klepper (@DavidKlepper) left in September for a new assignment with the news organization. His new job: "covering misinformation in the 2020 elections."

The AP announced the creation of five new teams to focus on 2020 political coverage, including the one Klepper joined. "Experts warn that misinformation may play an even greater role in the 2020 election than it did in 2016, with increases to both the volume and sophistication of so-called 'fake news' appearing in votersí social media feeds," the AP announced on its website October 3. "From how candidates are battling and using misinformation on a local level to a deep look at the groups most likely to be targeted by it to the rising industry supporting it, we are putting together a team of reporters to focus exclusively on this phenomenon."

Klepper will be based in Providence, R.I.

In Albany, the new AP reporter in the LCA is Marina Villeneuve (@ReporterMarina). Her Twitter bio: "Covering NY statehouse @ap. Data, docs, narratives. Beats: Health care, gov't accountability, higher ed, tribes. Colombiana."

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New reporters

New reporters in the LCA include Cayla Harris (@caylajharris) of the Times Union and Massarah Mikati (@MassarahMikati) of Columbia-Greene Media Corp.

Mikati's employer is the publisher of the Hudson Register Star, which has been published in Columbia County since 1785, and is the second oldest newspaper in America. The company is owned by Johnson Newspaper Corp., and also publishes the Daily Mail in Catskill. Johnson owns the Watertown Times and following some financial turmoil has rebranded its news there NNY360.com. Likewise, the Hudson operation is also known as HudsonValley360.com.

Mikati's Twitter bio: "NY immigration & state leg for Johnson News | Prev. @HoustonChron @timesunion | Travel & culture addict | Lebanese."

Cayla Harris graduated from college this year. Her Times Union bio: "Cayla Harris is based at the Capitol in Albany covering politics for the Times Union. She graduated in May from the George Washington University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. During her time in D.C., she interned for the Hearst Washington bureau." She takes the place of Rachel Silberstein, who has left the state beat to cover education.

Both reporters are part of the LCA's transition to a batch of new young reporters, many of whom have not followed the traditional journeymen newspaper reporter path as the business has sharply downsized.

Harris is taking things in stride. " 'Oh, they have such a young reporter!' - @SenSchumer, to me, after I told him I was with @timesunion," she posted on Twitter. "Asked me twice if I was a student. But still answered my Qs on Syria/sanctioning Turkey. So...... ya win some ya lose some"

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