Laurel Erickson has been a familiar face on Los Angeles television for three decades, most recently as a rotating co-host of KNBC's "Newsconference" and holding down an anchor chair on the station's digital offering NewsRaw. In the media pack at news events, Erickson has been notable for posing argumentative questions and sometimes getting into it with her subjects, like with Mayor Jim Hahn here in 2004, and again in '05 and with then-candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. It was Erickson who asked point-blank about an affair when Villaraigosa held that weird press conference in 2007 to explain why his marriage broke up, surrounded by his siblings and friends and without mentioning Mirthala Salinas. KNBC's statement:
Laurel Erickson, a KNBC reporter for 33 years and a host of "Newsconference," has announced her retirement. She is best known as a specialist on California politics and a journalist who relentlessly pursued the facts on behalf of ordinary citizens caught up in the machinations of the powerful. Among her awards is a 1988 Peabody for her touching and powerful portrait of life and death in an AIDS hospice. Ms. Erickson has not announced her plans. KNBC wishes her success in her future endeavors.
If that seems a bit terse — and it does compared to the station's plaudits for the retiring Furnell Chatman — it may be due to the recent backstory. Erickson has been off the air for a few weeks after blowing up on camera and having what KNBC sources call an angry encounter with a news intern while Erickson was hosting NewsRaw. Her bio has already been scrubbed from the Channel 4 website.