E.W. Scripps news company owns KRIS 6 News, KAJA Telemundo, and KZTV Action 10 News and is one of the most dangerous broadcasting companies in South Texas. KRIS 6 News top management employees have under-the-radar ties to the Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge and residents are becoming increasingly concerned. Most residents don’t know this connection exists.
KRIS 6 News main anchor, Katia Uriarte, introduced five “fluff piece” segments in July, praising the Port of Corpus Christi and focussing on Sean Strawbridge working to buy influence in the region, but that is just the beginning. KRIS 6 News’ size and political ties with Port CEO Sean Strawbridge are starting to attract more attention.
What’s alarming to the Crónica? After a phone call to the KRIS 6 News front desk, it was indicated that the two-time, Emmy Award winning journalist, Matthew Stevens, has been fired from his position as Chief Investigative Journalist. He was fired after requesting Port CEO Sean Strawbridge’s credit card expenditures for the entire year through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
E.W. Scripps fires investigative journalist and news director
In July 2021, KRIS 6 chief investigator Matthew Stevens wrote a hard-hitting news story against the Port of Corpus Christi that featured an interview with Mayor Cathy Skurow of Portland, calling out the Port over their bullying tactics and “hostage clauses” in negotiations over the fishing attraction, Indian Point Pier.
Furthermore, an inside source, known as a “whistle blower” reported that a KRIS 6 news staffer caught KRIS 6 news director, Mark Silberstein, on tape having a conversation with Port CEO Sean Strawbridge to get his approval to run a “Port Story,” The E.W. Scripps news company was forced to fire KRIS 6 news director Mark Silberstein or face industry wide embarrassment for being a government controlled news network. The confidential source also said that news director Mark Silberstein and Scripps Vice-President Ramon Pineda were well aware at the time that Sean Strawbridge was being investigated by KRIS 6 for Corruption. They also knew of an ethical breech that violated standards of journalism. But interim news director, Chris Seper, continued to air the shelved Katia Uriarte and Sean Strawbridge “puff piece” stories.
KRIS 6 News scrubs Port story
According to another confidential source that fears retaliation, it was Katia Uriarte who told Sean Strawbridge about the upcoming Matthew Steven’s KRIS 6 News story about the Port. The next thing you know, after an almost year long impasse, Mayor Cathy Skurow received a new contract from Sean Strawbridge, on the very same day the story was set to be published–KRIS 6 killed the story before it even aired.The story went up as “Breaking News” on social media and suddenly was deleted several hours later, never appearing on the nightly broadcast.
Another cause for concern for citizens is the iron-clad control of billion dollar entities E.W. Scripps company (KRIS 6) and the state of Texas sub-political entity, the Port of Corpus Christi, has called into question their mutual financial interests. According to receipts labeled “Port Stories,” obtained by the Crónica, CEO Sean Strawbridge has been taking Vice-President of Scripps, Ramon Pineda, and News Director Mark Silberstein out to $200 lunch dates at the pricey Vietnam Restaurant on Water Street in Downtown Corpus Christi. It was a clear violation of journalistic ethics for KRIS 6 Management to fire their two time Emmy Award winning journalist for investigating Sean Strawbridge’s credit card expenditures, while they were being treated to $200 Port lunches by Sean Strawbridge. A government controlled entity, the Port of Corpus Christi, appears to be controlling KRIS 6 News, making Scripps news network a danger to democracy.
Is KRIS 6 News journalism controlled by the government?
The figures that looms large behind KRIS 6 News is Katia Uriarte and her husband Johnny Philepello, the Buccaneer Day’s President. They have close connections with one of Philepello’s bosses, who is Sean Strawbridge. Now, Sean Strawbridge will only give interviews to Katia Uriarte and information on Strawbridge has been scrubbed from the internet. In the end, Katia Uriarte ran five straight “puff pieces” on Sean Strawbridge and despite her known conflicts of interests, Anchor Katia Uriarte was not terminated from KRIS 6 News.
The spider’s web of local corruption must be shown the light of day. We wondered why none of the local media broke the story that the Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales’ “common law” husband Doug Allison is poised to make a million dollars off the Port of Corpus Christi, a board she appoints too? We wondered why the media didn’t run a story on Port Chairman Charlie Zahn’s client getting a contract revision from Judge Barbara Canales, while he is her “common law” husband’s employer? Or why didn’t the local media run a story on the fact that Doug Allison represents a client before the North Beach Tax Increment District when Barbara Canales created the District clearly to benefit her “common law” husband’s client? No media story on any of these breaking news items? Is it because the public Port of Corpus Christi, that accepts our tax dollars is paying off the local media?
In addition, inside sources tell us that Sean Strawbridge has resigned from the Buccaneer Commission board, yet his photo is still on their website. Our calls to the Buccaneer Commission have gone unanswered. Our confidential source also told the Crónica that Port CEO Sean Strawbridge threatened to pull all Port funding from KRIS 6 TV causing them “financial ruin.” The Crónica wants Sean Strawbridge and Omar Garcia to admit to the public, exactly how much has the Port of Corpus Christi paid KRIS 6 TV?
What this all means is more local residents will be hearing from the most dangerous broadcasting company in South Texas– whether they know it or not.