ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Station officials say longtime KOB-TV anchor Tom Joles and veteran reporter Stuart Dyson didn’t come to blows in the Channel 4 newsroom Monday just before the 6 p.m. newscast – disputing reports on the trade-related media websites FTVLive and NewsBlues.
But KOB’s vice president and general manager, Mike Burgess, did confirm Tuesday that there had been a “heated discussion” and that Joles will not be on the air during a temporary “cool-down period.” He did not say how long that might be.
“I think someone who heard about it secondhand posted it” to the two media websites, he said. “But I can tell you there was no fight, no MMA knockdown kind of thing.”
According to the websites, Joles traded F-bombs and punches with Dyson and photographer Joseph Lynch. Joles, who has been at KOB for more than 25 years, subsequently grabbed his personal belongings and left the building after meeting with KOB news director Michelle Donaldson.
She declined to comment and deferred further questions to Burgess.
Burgess said Lynch was not involved in the imbroglio.
“There definitely were some passionate words exchanged, but those two guys have been working together for 25 years and occasionally there are ‘discussions,’ ” he said.
“Most of our ‘discussions’ in the newsroom start out because people are passionate about what we do as journalists and about making stories better. You can disagree on how to tell a story better, and sometimes people get passionate about it.”
Burgess did not say what triggered the acrimonious exchange.
Both Joles and Dyson still were employed at the station Tuesday, Burgess said.
“Basically, it’s an internal personnel matter,” he said, “and there’s not much else I can say.”
Neither Joles nor Dyson could be reached for comment.