WGN lures investigative producer from Fox Chicago

August 24, 2010

Marsha Bartel, a top investigative producer at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, has been hired as special projects producer at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, where she'll work on stories for broadcast, print and online.

Greg Caputo, news director of Channel 9, announced Bartel's hiring, effective Sept. 7, in a memo to staffers Monday. "In addition to producing stories for TV, Marsha will also work closely with reporters from the Chicago Tribune to help create multi-platform stories for us, the paper, and our websites," Caputo said.

The move will reunite Bartel with Mark Suppelsa, principal news anchor at Channel 9. Suppelsa was responsible for bringing her to Channel 32 when he was news anchor there. The two worked together on investigative stories, as they are expected to do again.

Before joining Fox Chicago in 2007, Bartel spent 21 award-winning years at NBC, including 10 years with WMAQ-Channel 5's Unit 5 investigative team. She went on to become a Chicago-based producer for NBC News, assigned to its "Dateline" series.

Bartel made headlines in May 2007 when she sued NBC over alleged ethical lapses involving "To Catch a Predator," a series reporting on sting operations that target men who believe they arranged for sexual liaisons with minors online. Her breach of contract suit claimed she had been fired after blowing the whistle on the show for violating journalistic ethical standards and NBC's own policies and guidelines.

A federal court sided with NBC, which claimed Bartel's firing was a cost-cutting move unrelated to her objections to the show. The ruling against her was reaffirmed on appeal.

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