Election Section

News reporter fired after jokingly sprinkling powder

The Associated Press
Tuesday October 23, 2001

DES MOINES, Iowa — A television news reporter was fired after he jokingly sprinkled face powder around the newsroom in front of co-workers, his lawyer said. 

Steve Oswalt, 48, who worked at KCCI-TV for 15 years, sprinkled the powder Oct. 15, attorney George LaMarca said. 

The prank was clearly done in a joking manner in front of managers who knew there was no threat, LaMarca said. 

“I don’t know how any reasonable person could believe that Steve had anthrax,” LaMarca said. 

News director Dave Busiek said Oswalt was no longer an employee as of Oct. 19. He declined to comment further. 

LaMarca declined to comment about possible legal action. 

“I won’t get caught up in hysteria,” he said. “We’re assessing the matter in a calm and reasonable fashion.”