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Media Forum With Marselis Parsons At NWPL: Thursday

February 27, 2013

in News,Woodstock

Marselis ParsonsFormer Anchorman Marselis Parsons Misses Newsroom
By Gwen Stanley, Standard Staff
For longtime news director and WCAX-TV anchor Marselis Parsons, known as “Div” to his friends and colleagues, retirement has its ups and downs.
“There are days when it’s great and days when it’s not so great,” said Parsons, who retired from WCAX-TV in 2009 after a 42-year career in journalism.
On the not-so-great days, he said, he misses being in the newsroom.
“I miss that collegial working environment,” he said.
Parsons will be in Woodstock for the second session of the Meet Your Local Media Forum at the Norman Williams Public Library, which runs four Thursdays — Feb. 21 and 28 and March 7 and March 14 at 6 p.m.
“That collaborative effort to get to the story is lots of fun. I had an office at the end of the newsroom, but my door was always open, so I could hear everything from the noise on the scanner to just the idle newsroom talk,” he said.
Parsons, who lives in Shelburne and Lyme, N.H., has been reporting the occasional story for WCAX, taking obvious pleasure in doing so. He said he’s enjoying the serendipity and leisure of coming across good stories.
“I was out one day near Christmas of 2011 and I came across a woman who was a violin teacher, with her students, small kids and they were just wrapping up,” he said.
“I said to her, ‘I’m sorry I missed this,’ and she said ‘Well, what you really missed was they performed for Itzahk Perlman.’”
The master violinist had been visiting Stowe Performing Arts Center and working closely with the children to hone their talent. There was a Vermont connection there: “His wife was the daughter of a Burlington rabbi with 12 children.”
“We weren’t able to interview him, and it was one of the first times that I didn’t mind that we that we weren’t able to interview someone. He said to me ‘I’m here for the children,’ and he said ‘I’ll talk to you at 5:30,’ and I said ‘Fine, but if I talk to you at 5:30, the piece won’t get on the air at 6,’ so we got lots of footage with interaction between him and the. Kids and it was a nice sort of per-Christmas story,” Parsons said.
Parsons recounted a Woodstock story that he said the Valley News missed but WCAX caught.
“Years ago, when Nixon was president, we did a story on the Bilderberg conference, which was held one year at the Woodstock Inn,” he said, referring to the annual invitation-only gathering of people of note in finance, labor and education.
“There’s nothing secret about it; Prince Bernhard has been running the Bilderberg conference since what, the 1950s?” he said.
At this conference, Parsons said, “Kissinger sort of snuck out the back door of the Inn, and we got a picture of him. Then, then-Secretary General of NATO, who actually was a colleague and friend of my father’s, engaged the protesters who were standing in front of the Inn and said ‘Look, we all get together, we don’t make any secret about it. We want to talk to each other about various things and we don’t want all of you shouting in the background.’ Of course, Kissinger always travels with as much security as he possibly can.”
At WCAX, Parsons said, he had essentially two jobs.
“One was to read the news at six o’clock, but the more important job was to run the news division — there were 44 employees in the division.”
“One of the things that I was glad happened when I was News Director was that we opened a bureau in West Leb — first with a woman named Kate Duffy who had worked for Channel 5, and then after that Nicole Oliverio, and now Adam Sullivan,” Parsons said. “It was easier to put (the bureau) there than in White River simply because of paths and microwaves for the station.”
Parsons reflected on the changes in journalism over the last few decades.
“I think a reporter’s life is more difficult now,” he said. “There’s so much demand to Tweet and put something up on Facebook and less time to actually look at something developing.”
Parson said he’s looking forward to the panel on Feb. 28 and hopes to engender some discussion on the subject of old and new media.
“Words are more than just words,” he said. “They’re the most important part of all news — television news, print news, any news. The words we’ve used for so many years in the industry, words like ‘column’ and ‘inch’ and ‘lede’ are disappearing and now the words are ‘post’ and ‘Tweet’ and ‘page views.’ The vocabulary of journalism is changing dramatically.”


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