Victoria Lim Leaves WFLA-Ch. 8 Friday
Stranger still, she's leaving a gig she describes as the best job in her newsroom: serving as a consumer reporter/multimedia journalist/newspaper columnist for WFLA-Ch. 8, TBO.com and the Tampa Tribune.
But come 5 p.m. on Friday, Victoria Lim will walk away from all of it, ending more than a decade working at Newschannel 8. And she doesn't have much of an explanation ready.
"I've been lucky enough to spend the last 20 years in a newsroom...but I've given up a lot of myself," said Lim, who started working part-time in newsrooms right out of high school. "I'd like to take al ittle breather. Instead of living for work, I'd like to work to live."
It's no secret that times have been tough for folks at WFLA, recently. A year which began with the suicide death of meteorologist John Winter also brought changes in technology which resulted in layoffs among the technical crews and an October announcement from owner Media General that Third Quarter broadcast revenue would drop 26 percent compared to the previous year.
Still, while other on air reporters have grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities to anchor -- WFLA has the longest-tenured anchors in the market -- Lim said she had the only job she ever wanted, cranking out stories for WFLA, a weekly consumer column for the Tribune and occasional multimedia stories for TBO.com. A non-compete clause in her contract will keep her from working for any other TV station for one year.
WFLA News Director Don North said efforts to convince Lim to stay went all the way up to the company's headquarters in Richmond, Va. Even now, he notes, if she called him at 11:59 on Sunday -- her contract expires at midnight -- he would take her back.
"I'm not sure if she's even exactly sure why she's leaving," he said. "Maybe it's just gotten to the point where she wants to try something new."
Lim nearly left the station five years ago, when she and then-news director Forrest Carr had difficulty during contract negotiations and word leaked to local TV news web sites. Now, the station is losing its only on air Asian American personality, as others complain the station has done little to hire new journalists of color.
The reporter says she's looking forward to finishing the semester teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa and University of South Florida -- actually spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's with her family for the first time.
"I still love journalism and I still love the beat," said Lim, a stone sports fan who notes her other dream job would be working for HBO's Real Sports investigative series. "But it's about life. I'd like to see what that's like, now."