Reporter On Alcoa Stories Out At UNC-TV
A public television reporter who produced a series of stories critical of Alcoa's operations on the Yadkin Rivers has lost her job. The management at UNC-TV confirms Eszter Vajda is no longer working for the Raleigh-based public station, but won't say why. Vajda's agent and researcher Martin Sansone told WFAE this week he expected the reporter would be fired for her ongoing work to expose issues surrounding Alcoa's smelter operations in Stanly County. Vajda has been under scrutiny since raw footage from her stories was subpoenaed by state lawmakers who oppose Alcoa's operations on the Yadkin River. UNC-TV quickly rushed to air Vajda's stories, without the traditional review a reporter typically gets from an editor. The resulting three-part series has been widely criticized as biased. That prompted Alcoa to file a public records request for Vajda's research and documents. Some of those emails cast further light on Vajda's credibility: they show she arranged for an outspoken opponent of Alcoa to pay her researcher $3,000 for his work on the stories. Vajda previously told WFAE her goal with the series was to shed light on the truth of Alcoa's misdeeds. She could not be reached for comment about her departure from UNC-TV.