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Petition launched against WDAZ format change

GRAND FORKS – An online petition to bring the local 5 p.m. newscast back to WDAZ-TV here has attracted more than 780 supporters.

Last week, the station’s 5 p.m. newscast began being anchored by WDAY-TV in Fargo, though it contains news from the entire Red River Valley.

“Let’s send a message to WDAZ that we, the people of Grand Forks, have spoken and we want our Dullum back!” the petition on says, referring to longtime 5 p.m. anchor Terry Dullum.

It was posted by Grand Forks resident Nancy Hennen.

As of Saturday evening, the petition had more than 780 signatures.

The 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts are still anchored at WDAZ in Grand Forks.

Mari Ossenfort, general manager of WDAY and WDAZ, said she’s received some positive reaction to the format change in its first week.

Ossenfort says the change gives reporters more time to generate stories.

“Instead of spending our time on producing shows, we’d like to produce content that can air in the (6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts),” she said.

The 5 p.m. newscast will have a more regional focus, she said, while the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. will focus on local stories. The two cities have had shared weekend newscasts for a while now.

Both WDAZ and WDAY are owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns The Forum and The Grand Forks Herald.

Ossenfort said WDAZ is interviewing for two open reporter positions, and the station is getting some physical updates.

“We are investing in the station,” she said.

“I’m just bowled over by the support the community has shown,” said Dullum, who still works at WDAZ.

For years, Valley News Live has broadcast all of its newscasts in the Grand Forks market from its Fargo offices.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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