I’ve got a little bit more on the Jamie Apody situation. As you know, she’s been off the air at Channel 6 since late October and is not speaking, nor is anybody at Action News, which is under a strict gag order from management. Jamie’s work email kicks back a message that confirms a “leave of absence,” but says little else about her five-month disappearance.

In speaking with a handful of sources, I was told about a point of contention going back several years now and centering on press credential abuse. That means going outside the boundaries of expected behavior while working in the field at local stadiums and arenas.

Among the issues, we were told that the Phillies public relations staff was not happy with Apody bringing her children to Citizens Bank Park. At one point, a source said, the kids were running around on the field, not during a game, but around the time that an Action News live shot was taking place. We were also told that some player requests were not television-related, and therefore seen as falling outside the scope of typical field work. The general theme, as explained to us, was that Apody was loose with media rules and took liberties while working, which continued despite warnings.

Admittedly, media credential rules can be vague, but you’re generally expected to focus on work when in the field. You’re there to do a job, so if you ask a player to sign a baseball for your charity event, or you walk around the concourse taking selfies with fans, those would be types of indiscretions. I’m not saying that’s what happened here, I’m just giving you examples to better understand the thought.

Unrelated, there was also the dispute with Nick Castellanos two seasons ago, in which Apody was criticized for posting an edited video clip of Castellanos arguing with Jim Salisbury, a portion of which was off the record. I did a big, long explainer of this situation and came to the conclusion that the Action News photographer was more at fault, since Apody was not in the locker room at the time of the argument. Regardless, it resulted in Castellanos not doing media with Action News this past year. Sources told us there was a lengthy meeting involving the various parties, and that WPVI photogs were asked to sit out locker room scrums with the Phillies outfielder.

The credential thing was explained to us as one possible reason for a fractured Action News/Apody relationship, but the sources we spoke to weren’t sure how much of a role it played. How much did it factor into Action News taking Apody off the air in October? I’m told there’s quite a bit to this story and that the field work stuff is only one part of it.

Naturally, the thing to do would be to ask Jamie for her side of the story, which we don’t have and may not get. What happened after she disappeared in October? Is the discipline warranted, or is it bullshit? If a lawsuit was filed, was it for age discrimination? Wrongful termination?

I’m serious when I tell you that people at Channel 6 are totally spooked. They are scared shitless and afraid of upsetting management. They won’t talk and she won’t talk, and the reality is that we may never have Jamie’s story. It could end in a non-disclosure agreement, a settlement of sorts, maybe a contract buyout where one of the stipulations is that you don’t speak now but also don’t speak in the future. Sometimes lawyers will put out a statement, but oftentimes we get absolutely nothing.

It wouldn’t be the first or last time something like that has happened (see Skversky: Jeff). We’ve reached out to Jamie multiple times and offered to speak on the record or on background, or place statements into these stories, but we know she can’t talk. That makes it difficult, because all we can report is what we’re being told from sources who are asking to remain anonymous. You don’t go into this with the intention of presenting one side, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

One interesting thing that I failed to mention in earlier stories is that Channel 6 is not a union shop, which is rare in Philadelphia. Most major news outlets are connected with SAG-AFTRA or The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, or similar. As such, there’s no organized labor path for grievance. There’s no collective bargaining agreement and no union rep who is going to go to bat for you, then possibly publicize that battle. In this situation, we’re talking about individual on-air talent contracts that only few people have access to. Instead of disputing a management decision via the union, you would probably just get a lawyer instead, which we’re 99.9999% sure is what happened here.

I do have reason to believe this goes a lot deeper than anybody originally thought, just based on cryptic clues I’ve been receiving, and the forcefulness of the “no comment” replies. In 17 years I’ve never seen people this scared before. You’d think we were investigating Area 51, or that the Action News building was erected on top of a Native American burial ground.

There’s also some amusing hypocrisy on display here, because Action News reporters will dig into stories, and work sources, and contact whistleblowers to obtain information of public interest. But when they themselves become the story, then everything that they stand for, every journalistic practice they employ on a daily basis now becomes an affront. Information is blocked while employees are squelched. How dare you ask questions of the question askers!

I understand that you need to keep things quiet when dealing with sensitive contract and/or legal matters, but it still makes you laugh, doesn’t it? Investigative reporting for me, but not for thee! Nobody is naive here. But what I’ve learned in chasing this story is that WPVI is incredibly cut-throat behind the scenes, and they do a great job of making things go away without much fanfare, if any.


Conspiracy theories and viewer questions

After we did Apody update #3, I got about 75 emails and 20+ text messages and phone calls (shout out to all of the middle-aged white women out there). I want to share some tidbits from those, with the caveat that we’re going a little bit off the path and scratching out some tangential/conspiracy theory type of stuff with the goal of at least steering people in the right direction:

1) I had a couple of people ask me if social media posts about the Israel/Hamas conflict had anything to do with this. Apody is Jewish, and family members are Holocaust survivors. For what it’s worth, not a single person I’ve spoken two in five months brought this up, though I’ll share some examples here:

The Hamas/Israel war began on October 7th, and Jamie was off the air a short time later, so I think some viewers looked at the timeline there and thought there may be something to it. Personally, I’ve got no reason to believe that this has anything to do with it, and while I wouldn’t rule anything out, I’ll reiterate that not one person mentioned it to me while pursuing this story.

Oddly enough, I stumbled into an adjacent tale while asking around. Action News had a slight kerfuffle when Tamala Edwards was scheduled to do a November fireside chat with Al Franken at Main Line Reform, a synagogue in Wynnewood. Edwards, we’re told, ended up not doing the appearance at the very last minute, though we got conflicting information on whether it was her decision to withdraw or a WPVI management decision. This was a few weeks after the October 7th attacks, and so, as one person explained to me, “the optics of the withdrawal weren’t great, no matter the reason.” Regardless, longtime Eyewitness News anchor Pat Ciarrocchi was brought in as a last-minute replacement, and the event went off without a hitch.

All of that said, I’m not aware of any kind of conflict that had anything to do with Apody’s faith. Obviously the Israel/Hamas thing was a sensitive matter back then, and continues to be now. (See: Pennsylvania, University of). 

2) Some people asked me if the goofy live shot from the Phillies playoff run had anything do with this situation:

@angrystonedleftist Philly gonna Philly 🤷🏻‍♂️ #phillies #Philly #philadelphia #6abc #wet #oops #mlb #playoffs #news ♬ original sound – Jack The Adult

Same thing with this one. I haven’t had anybody bring this up to me in any conversation. It seems like just a quirky TV moment and nothing more.

3) Two people asked me if Jamie was ever under consideration to be sports director when Ducis Rodgers was hired in 2012. That’s a great question. I honestly have no clue. Back then, Keith Russell left to take a news job in Washington, and while he had been at Action News longer than Apody, and also Jeff Skversky, I don’t ever remember him having the title of “sports director.” The last person to hold that title before Ducis was the late, great Gary Papa. Regardless, ABC could have promoted one of Jamie or Jeff, but brought in Rodgers as an external hire, who was plenty qualified, and had spent his previous years at ESPN, WCBS, and two other stations in the south.

4) “Who gives a shit?” said a few folks. Well, a lot of people apparently, because Jamie Apody Mystery Employment Status Update #3 was the most-read story on Crossing Broad for the month of March. Both sides should be happy about that, because people care about Action News and Jamie obviously has a lot of loyal fans.

5) There’s always the possibility that a lawsuit could incorporate various past grievances. We’ve certainly seen that happen before in these types of situations. “Here’s example X, Y, and Z of you treating me like shit over the years!” You put your gripes into the figurative dossier and file them away, then pull it out when you feel like you’ve been wronged. This generic thought was common in viewer emails and social media comments.

Again, I want to stress that these are just conspiracy theories and rhetorical questions on the back-end. But the press credential thing was corroborated by multiple sources from various places.

Considering how long this thing has gone on, and knowing that the six-month mark is around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re close to a resolution. Nothing scientific to back that up, just a hunch.

Until then, we’ll continue to work this story like Dana Scully. The truth is out there!