Swoope, Leftwich make debut as WMAR news anchors

Z ON TV

Longtime staffers' transition is smooth

reporter shortage shows

December 08, 2009|By David Zurawik | david.zurawik@baltsun.com | Sun TV Critic

WMAR introduced two longtime station staffers in new roles as weeknight anchors last night.

Kelly Swoope and Roosevelt Leftwich made their debut as replacements for Mary Beth Marsden and Terry Owens, who took buyout offers and left the station last week after 21 and 17 years, respectively.

Swoope will anchor at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weeknights replacing Marsden, while Leftwich will anchor the 5:30 p.m. news weekdays and 11 p.m. Sunday. He replaces Owens in the 5:30 p.m. weeknight slot.

Neither Swoope nor Leftwich is new to WMAR. Leftwich arrived in 2000 from WEWS in Cleveland, where he was a reporter. Swoope came to the station in 2003 as a medical reporter and weekend anchor from WFTS in Tampa- St. Petersburg, Fla. She had worked there since 1994.

Given that kind of experience, it was not surprising that both moved easily into their new roles. Swoope and Leftwich provided a solid on-air presence at 5 and 5:30, respectively.

Both newscasts Monday were fast-paced and mainly error-free. The look and presentation were professional.

The obvious problem with both was the lack of local reporters. I counted only one report featuring a WMAR staffer at 5:30.

The worst moment during the 5 p.m. newscast came when instead of a sports report, WMAR had Swoope reading copy over stock images of the Baltimore Ravens.

The brief segment also included still photographs of Ravens fans that they had sent back from Green Bay, Wis., where Monday night's game was about to be played.

WMAR no longer has a full-time, dedicated sports reporter or anchor, and it showed on a night when local anticipation was running sky-high for the Ravens game.

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