Local News

Reporter in Alcoa series no longer at UNC-TV

Posted August 18, 2010 12:47 p.m. EDT
Updated August 18, 2010 1:10 p.m. EDT

— The reporter behind a controversial UNC-TV series about Alcoa Inc. is no longer with the television company, said Gail Zimmerman, assistant general manager at the station.

Zimmerman said Wednesday that Eszter Vajda no longer works at UNC-TV. She would not elaborate on the circumstances, citing personnel matters.

Vajda's reports about the company, one of the world's largest producers of aluminum, have been the source of criticism and a legislative subpoena.

A Senate judiciary committee demanded data, records and footage from Vajda, then a senior legislative correspondent, gathered about Alcoa's activities in Stanly County. The committee was considering legislation that would create a public trust responsible for managing the Yadkin River and its dams.

Alcoa then asked “to inspect and copy all video footage as well as all unedited, edited and final versions, photographs, compilations, and related materials as well as all communications and/or correspondence sent or received by Eszter Vajda or any other employee or representative of UNC-TV since January 1, 2008” in connection with the production of the reports, a series the company says was “unfair.”

After the release of 5,800 pages of mostly redacted e-mails last week, Alcoa issued a statement saying, “It confirms what we suspected, that the stories were part of a carefully orchestrated plan to seize our assets and property.”