Julie Tremmel: Reporter Says She Was Fired for On-Air Handstand (Video)

Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 03:49 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Julie Tremmel, a Providence, R.I., television news reporter, says she was fired without cause after performing a handstand during a report about "America's Got Talent" earlier this month and plans on filing a union grievance.

Tremmel told GoLocalProv.com last week that she plans on fighting the termination, which was first reported by the website on Feb. 14.

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"I was terminated without cause from WJAR and my union and I are fighting it through the grievance and arbitration process in our contract with the station," Tremmel told GoLocalProv.com. "That is all I'm prepared to say at this time."

On Feb. 2, Tremmel, a night reporter at WJAR-TV, performed a handstand on air to end her report on local auditions for "America's Got Talent," saying that her only talent was gymnastics. Ironically, the anchor commented after her report that "I think Julie better keep her night job."

Tremmel's humorous take last summer on how to avoid being attacked by a bear went viral on the Internet, but upset the station's investigative reporter Jim Taricani.

"Some (TV) reporters like to draw attention to themselves ... It's an insult to most of us trying to be professional," Taricani said in a Facebook post, according to GoLocalProv.com in reference to the Tremmel's bear attack report. He called her piece "a smudge on our station's reputation."

A Facebook page was started in support of Tremmel on Feb. 17 and had more than 1,000 likes as of Wednesday. Another 837 people have signed an online petition asking WJAR-TV to bring the reporter back.

"The Tremmel affair can be seen as mini-allegory of the travails of old-line news organizations as they struggle to navigate an era of digital disruption the likes of which news managers, owners, producers, and reporters have never seen in their lives," wrote Dean Starkman, GoLocalProv.com's editor-at-large. "Most terrifying of all is the demographic challenge as a new generation of audience members grow up having never read a printed newspaper and wondering why anyone would ever want to wait for 11 o’clock to hear the news — if they’re interested in news as it is traditionally presented in the first place."

WJAR-TV has not commented on Tremmel's dismissal or her grievance filing.

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