Posted in Breaking News, Journalist, Multimedia

Always assume the microphone is on! North Dakota anchor fired after cursing on-air

Anytime I see a camera or a microphone, I assume they are on.  I ALWAYS assume they are on.

Even when I was waiting to do a live shot and I knew I was not on the air yet, I never said anything while I had a microphone on.  You just never know what can accidentally come out of your mouth.

Today, A.J.Clemente knows what I’m talking about. His first day on the job as an anchor at KFYR-TV in North Dakota was also his last day. Here’s why–his first words on the air were (excuse my language) “fuckin’ shit.”  The video has gone viral.

I get the feeling that A.J. was just nervous and it happened. But there’s another lesson here. If you are in the habit of using curse words, it’s time to clean up your language and break yourself of such a habit, especially if you want to be in radio and television news.

A.J. did apologize on Twitter and let everyone know he was let go.

Today A.J. has more Twitter followers, and is fielding interview requests from radio and television programs from around the country. But as I told him on Twitter:

“This is your 15 minutes of fame, use them wisely. We all make mistakes. Be humble, send a strong message and move on.”

My hope is that A.J.’s ego doesn’t get lost in this attention and that in the end someone gives him another chance. He made a mistake, but hopefully he’ll use it to teach other journalists not to make the same one.

Update: (Tuesday afternoon) A.J. has been booked on The Today Show for Wednesday morning. He posted information on his Twitter page.



Journalism is my life. I've been a reporter for 36 years. My office is the world. During my career I have been honored with 50 journalism awards and nominations. I'm also an Emmy-nominated TV commentator. I'm currently the VP of Programs for SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. I'm also the former VP of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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