Shelton to leave KHON July 6
Reporter Tina Shelton, who has been in Hawaii broadcast news for nearly 30 years, announced yesterday she is leaving KHON-TV to become communications director for the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine.
"If I didn't get this opportunity, I would have stayed," Shelton said. "It's just too good. It's just too perfect a fit."
In May, Shelton signed a two-year contract with KHON, but will be released from it because the new position is not with a competitor. She said the station's management has been supportive and generous, but that she couldn't pass up the opportunity. Her last day will be July 6.
The veteran newswoman, who loves science and medicine, is "awed" to have the opportunity.
And it'll be "the first real job since Kalihi Jack in The Box" -- outside news, she said.
Shelton said KITV-4 reporter Daryl Huff told her yesterday, "You are the longest continuing TV news employee on the air," and he might be right.
Shelton was hired in 1980 by Hawaii news anchor Bob Sevey at KGMB-TV, where she worked until 1985. She then worked at KITV-4 from 1985 to 1999, and began reporting for KHON-TV in 1999.
A military brat born in North Carolina, Shelton arrived in Hawaii as a high-schooler, attended Kapiolani Community College and graduated with a journalism degree from UH-Manoa, in the days before broadcast journalism was taught there.
"Print journalism -- that's what we learned," she said. "The key is writing and reporting. That's how Channel 9 was run under Bob Sevey.
"It's never been about being on TV."
While a student at KCC, she got her start in broadcast news in 1977 at KHET (PBS Hawaii), did news radio on KHVH in 1978, and did a stint at Oceanic Cable Television from 1978 to 1981.
Shelton, known for her investigative reporting and coverage of courts and local politics, has also filled in as anchor for Joe Moore and Leslie Wilcox, and anchored at KITV-4.
KHON-TV's Web site says Shelton has won numerous local reporting awards.
Shelton is proud of making a TV news beat out of federal court, which wasn't being covered on television because cameras aren't allowed in federal courtrooms.
That allowed her to cover stories involving FBI corruption and constitutional law cases. She found covering government fascinating, and enjoyed meeting a variety of people as a reporter. "People open up to you and they're so nice."
She said she will miss KHON-TV, including anchorman Moore, whom she describes as a "stand-up kind of guy."
But she eagerly awaits the start of her new job. Shelton said public information officers are becoming more important than ever since newsrooms are smaller.
As for returning to TV news, Shelton said: "I don't know if I'll have a longing to return to television, but I'll never say never."