The Insider

On the Dateline broadcast, reporter Dennis Murphy singled out Conway as "one of the most damaging and embarrassing witnesses" to KTRK's defense. The broadcast quoted several jurors who cited Conway's testimony as establishing Dolcefino's "reckless disregard for the truth."

Fueling the station management's anger was the belief that Conway had changed her story as the Turner case moved along. But management felt it could do nothing, since any action taken against the reporter could be interpreted as retaliation against a whistle blower.

Now, apparently, the station's management no longer feels that constraint. Conway cleaned out her desk and departed the station shortly before New Year's after a mediation effort conducted by former Judge David West failed to produce an agreement between her and the station. A KTRK source says the station offered Conway a new contract but refused to let her return to her former niche as medical reporter. (Reporter Christi Myers now prowls the medical beat.) Conway rejected the offer, and as of now, there is no litigation or settlement between the parties. Technically, she remains on the station's staff, though her body has moved on.

West declined comment, citing the confidentiality of mediation efforts. Conway's former attorney, Janet Hansen of the Jamail & Kolius firm, also refused to discuss the mediation. "This is a sticky, emotionally charged situation with hurt feelings all around," she said. Asked whether litigation could result, Hansen replied only that "litigation in these cases is always a possibility." She also declined to explain why she no longer represents the reporter.

Contacted through an intermediary, Conway said she appreciates the interest in her situation but has nothing to say at this time. She did, however, emphasize she has not resigned from the KTRK staff. ABC's attorney in the mediation, New York-based Tanya Menton, was unavailable for comment -- as was KTRK's general manager, Henry Florsheim.

"The station just wants this to go away," says one staffer of the legal radiation lingering from the Turner stories. But with ABC's legal appeal moving forward and Conway's status unresolved, that prospect seems years in the future.

Remember to turn your dial to The Insider when you have news to report. Contact him at (713) 624-1483; (713) 624-1496 (fax); or by e-mail at Insider@houstonpress.com.

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