As I wrote in July, the departure of Banister from WBAL-TV after 15 years of co-anchoring a team that always finished first or second in its time period raised big questions about the changing face of television news in Baltimore. In the last two years, several long-time anchors have signed off the local airwaves, including Sally Thorner at WJZ, and Mary Beth Marsden at WMAR. (Marsden's return to the daily airwaves at WBAL radio is a story in its own right.) "I want to make this clear: This is not my choice," Banister said in a Sun interview in July. "I'm not retiring. I'm not leaving to 'spend more time with my family.'" Banister's candor of that interview opened the door for a serious discussion in these pages of whether middle-aged women are being targeted when TV news operations are downsized. The downsizing of news and the role gender plays in that process are worth more than just second thoughts.
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