So Long, Furnell


It's hard to believe that KNBC reporter Furnell Chatman's retirement, announced last week in L.A. Observed, merited so little comment. There was nothing in the L.A. Times and, while Chatman may not have enjoyed the national stature of Tim Russert or the longevity of Hal Fishman, he certainly earned at least a fraction of the blather lavished on that pair of self-anointed commentators.

Channel 4's Chatman lent a much-needed gravitas to local television news which, over the years, has descended into a psychedelic circus of lost-pet stories, mugging anchors and sexy weather girls. Chatman's trademark frown not only announced he meant business but it momentarily wiped the smirk off the faces of any "happy news" actors who might be on the set with him. I witnessed him cover trials and other stories with an exemplary, no-nonsense professionalism. I was surprised by how, in person, Chatman was not as tall as his stern presence behind his anchor's desk suggested -- another testament to the authority he projected. Today the L.A. Sentinel's Yussuf Simmonds has a nice appreciation of the man.

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