Feder: WTTW fires news director Hugo Balta after staff erupts over social media

  • Hugo Balta

    Hugo Balta

Updated 2/17/2021 6:15 AM

Hugo Balta was forced out Tuesday as news director of WTTW-Channel 11 and executive producer of "Chicago Tonight" following a staff uprising over his use of social media to express personal views, Robert Feder writes.

"I am writing to let you know that Hugo Balta is no longer with the organization," Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO of Window to the World Communications, told employees in an email.


Notably absent from Micek's message were any of the usual good wishes for the senior executive she'd called "uniquely qualified" to lead WTTW News when she hired Balta one year ago.

Jay Smith, a seasoned 30-year veteran of the public television station and senior supervising producer of "Chicago Tonight," will serve as acting executive producer. He'll also oversee the newsroom on an interim basis. A spokesperson for the company declined further comment.

Balta, 50, was put on administrative leave last week after three "Chicago Tonight" anchors -- Phil Ponce, Brandis Friedman and Paris Schutz -- took their concerns about Balta's social media posts to Micek.

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

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