Media Watch

KGUN Weatherman Leaves After Vehicular Commotion

A little communication can be helpful, even in the communications biz, as KGUN Channel 9 staffers learned during a recent incident.

According to sources, Bill Harris, KGUN's No. 2 weather personality, decided he could borrow a news vehicle as part of the company's benefit package. Problem is, he didn't tell anyone. Furthermore, the news vehicle was filled with photography equipment and was needed for--get this--a news story.

After some investigating, KGUN management discovered who was in possession of the missing car, called Harris and demanded he return the vehicle. According to sources, Harris said he'd bring it back once he got his own car towed. Management demanded an immediate return and a face-to-face once he got back to the office. Harris returned the car a few hours later and simply left.

Harris worked with KOLD Channel 13 prior to his stint with KGUN, where in addition to weather, he handled a series of light feature material, including the segment "Dirt Cheap Deals."

KGUN has posted a job opening for a meteorologist on its Web site. In the meantime, April Madison will handle the bulk of Harris' responsibilities.


Tucson Citizen head librarian Charlotte Kenan and assistant librarian Jeannie Jett have worked in the same place for 35 years, and they've decided to leave at the same time.

After earning a master's degree in library science, Kenan joined the Citizen as head librarian in 1972--when Jett had already been on the job for more than six years.

Since Kenan and Jett started their jobs, the information-gathering center obviously went through a series of changes. For many years, it was called the morgue, the term used for the place old papers and information was stored. It later became known as the library and now is referred to as the data desk.

"The major changes from the manual archive occurred in 1993, when we went to electronic archiving," said Kenan. "We've been through four software systems since, and we just installed the latest this month."

It was the decision to see that install through that kept Kenan and Jett on a bit longer than expected. Jett had plans to retire in January, on the anniversary of her 41st year with the paper.

"For the first 28 years I was there, we clipped the stories out of the newspaper and filed them in hard-copy files, and that's what reporters used for research," said Jett. "Technology progresses, and this newest (system) we had installed earlier this month is just great. We leave the library with great new technology. It will be good for anyone who follows after us."

Kenan's 35 years in the Old Pueblo pales in comparison to the 56 years logged by Jett, whose family made the move from West Virginia.

"I really do know a lot about Tucson history, just because I grew up here and went to Amphi. In those days, it was the only high school. I went to school with legislators and judges," said Jett, who started as a part-time typist, splitting time between that and transcribing letters for W.C. Fields' secretary, before accepting a full-time position with the Citizen at $70 a week. "I just really watched Tucson grow. I was one of the kids that went to the Fox (Theatre) on Saturday mornings and watched cartoons. I'm really excited about seeing downtown come back to life and be developed. That, to me, is really exciting. I grew up downtown."

Jett's experience has been invaluable to the numerous reporters who needed story assistance.

"She's marvelous. She's Tucson's memory," Kenan said. "She knows the people here and events that have occurred in her tenure and longer. It's her town. She's above and beyond a librarian: She's a newspaper person. She provides story ideas for the reporters and really helps them dig into the background to get all the information to make the stories better. I've been very fortunate to have her by my side all these years."

Said Jett: "It's a great place to work, and it's been a great job. I wanted to be a teacher. I took a lot of classes at the UA, but I just kept working, because I loved my job. You know what journalism is like: It just gets in your blood. You want to know what's going on. It's been really, really interesting.

"I worked with everybody. The library is the one department that works with everyone. I work with sports writers, reporters; the copy desk will come and check facts. A lot of people like to say we're the heart of the newspaper. We know everybody there."

They've also experienced the changing nature of personalities in the industry.

"Journalism is more businesslike these days, but, boy, when I came here in '72, there was still some old-fashioned journalism going on," Kenan said. "Of course, they were still pecking away at typewriters and using carbon paper. My goodness, Micheline Keating--she was the Tucson Citizen movie and drama critic for years and years and years, and she had her grounding in journalism in the early part of the 20th century in New York City: all those tabloids and many, many papers competing with each other.

"I miss Corky Simpson," Kenan said about the recent retiree who continues to write a column for the Citizen. "He's a renaissance man who loved libraries. Most people just saw him as a sports columnist, but he's a great reader and loved libraries. The librarian is the one who is supposed to recommend reading material, but it was Corky who could recommend the best books. He was a great supporter of the library."

Kenan now hopes to engage in more travel opportunities, while Jett plans to devote more time to her antiques and collectibles business.

"We've been a great team," Jett said. "We were saying the other day, we could complete each other's sentences. We know each other's families really well. ... We keep each other informed as to what's going on all the time. I feel like I've had the privilege of working with so many talented and creative people. Charlotte and I reminisce about all the publishers and editors we've known who have maybe gone on to write books and just do many, many great things.

"(Charlotte and I) will definitely get together. I will miss her the most."

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