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Former TV reporter Glenn Selig among 22 killed in Kabul hotel attack

Glenn Selig was in Afghanistan working on a project about counter extremism when he was killed in an attack on a hotel. [Times file (2010)]
Published Jan. 25, 2018

Former WTVT-Ch. 13 reporter and anchor Glenn Selig, a well-known figure in the Tampa public relations scene and Jewish community, was among 22 people killed in an attack Sunday in a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"Unfortunately, we have received confirmation Glenn Selig was killed during the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel," his company, Selig Multimedia, said in a statement.

"Glenn was a tireless professional, loyal friend and pillar of the community, but most importantly he was a loving husband and wonderful father," the statement said. "The loss for his family and friends cannot be measured nor conveyed strongly enough, but we thank everyone for the outpouring of support we have received."

Selig, 50, left behind his wife, Charyn, and two children, Drew and Josh, according to the website for Congregation Mekor Shalom, the conservative Tampa synagogue where he served as president.

He was in Kabul to explore a potential counter-extremism project, said company project manager Zack Wright.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Bad image? Tampa publicist Glenn Selig steps in (2009)

He said the project was for a government agency and that several of Selig's colleagues working on the project with him were injured in the blast.

The 13-hour weekend siege started Saturday when Taliban militants in suicide vests stormed the hotel. It ended Sunday. An Afghan interior ministry official has said 14 victims were foreigners and eight were Afghans. More than 150 people were rescued or escaped the attack.

Selig was an award-winning former TV news anchor and investigative reporter who spent 20 years in the news business.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to the Selig family," said John Hoffman, vice president of news at Fox 13. "Staff members who worked with Glenn remember him as a diligent and hardworking reporter."

Former WFLA-Ch. 8 reporter Samara Sodos remembers working at crime scenes with Selig. She recalled his the empathy he showed toward those involved in whatever tragedy they were reporting on.

"Glenn very quickly revealed himself to be just a wonderful, compassionate, incredible human being," she said. "For me it was a privilege to be out in the field with him."

And Selig had a sense of humor. Sodos said she, Selig and a reporter from another news station, when all three were covering the same story, would agree on an obscure word they'd all have to use in their reports.

"Mercurial" and "laconic" were two of the words Sodos remembered. Then all three would watch each other's stories to ensure they abided by the rules.

Eric Seidel, the former consumer lawyer for Fox 13 who worked alongside Selig for a decade, called him "enthusiastic" and "determined" and that he had a "big heart."

He also had a social personality. Selig once hosted a Gaspiralla party in his Bayshore Boulevard high-rise apartment.

"Afterward, he had to foot quite the cleaning bill," Seidel laughed. "He didn't mind. He figured he'd forfeit the security deposit."

He left the station in 2007 and that same year started his firm, The Publicity Agency, according to his company biography.

Since then, Selig and his agency have engaged in crisis management in several incidents and conducted national public relations campaigns.

He has represented the likes of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested on federal corruption charges in 2008, accused of trying to sell political offices such as the U.S. Senate seat once held by former President Barack Obama. Blagojevich was impeached and later sent to prison.

Selig also advised the defense team of Casey Anthony, a young Orlando mother put on trial for murder in 2011 for the death of her missing 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Anthony was acquitted in a case that drew intense media interest.

More recently, Selig was hired last year by former top Trump campaign operative Richard Gates after he was indicted on federal charges in connection with the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

Sodos, now the director of public relations at Port Tampa Bay, called Selig "brave" for starting his own business, and said he helped her ease into her own public relations career.

"When he made the leap to P.R. and I was thinking about it myself, he went out of his way to help me learn about it," she said. "He took so much time to not only bring me in the P.R. fold, but to help me make that transition, which is a hard transition to make."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Contact Howard Altman at haltman@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.

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