WRAL anchor and reporter Gina Benitez confirms that she plans to leave the station in early March 2018.
Benitez, who started at WRAL in January, said in an email that she is leaving to pursue other opportunities and hopes to announce future plans soon.
Benitez and WRAL news director Rick Gall both affirm that Benitez is leaving the station under positive terms. Her primary job has been anchoring the weekend morning news with Bryan Mims.
Benitez is a Florida State University graduate and came to WRAL from WOFL Fox 35 in Orlando, where she covered the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016. Benitez says on her WRAL page that she was one of the first reporters on the scene that day, and that nothing could have prepared her for what she saw there.
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“Then there were times when I was just trying to keep it together long enough to make it through another live shot,” she wrote. “But there were other moments when I was able to provide insight, answers, a comforting word or a hug. And moments like that, along with witnessing the unbelievable resilience and compassion of the community – those are the times I’m reminded why I do what I do.”
Other recent WRAL departures
▪ Longtime anchor Lynda Loveland left WRAL in early December, after announcing in September that she was taking a job with Farm Bureau that would allow her more time with her two children. She was replaced by Kathryn Brown, who anchors alongside Gerald Owens on the 4 and 5:30 p.m. newscasts on WRAL and the 10 p.m. newscast on Fox 50.
▪ Lead anchor David Crabtree also announced in September that he is retiring in November 2018. Crabtree has been the station’s lead anchor since 1994.
▪ Anchor Bill Leslie announced in October that he will retire in June 2018. Last week, WRAL announced the hiring of Jeff Hogan, an anchor from Columbus, Ohio, who will eventually take over Leslie’s spot. Hogan begins his time at WRAL in January.
▪ Reporter Julia Sims left in November to take a communications job with the city of Raleigh.
▪ Meteorologist Nate Johnson also left in November to be the director of weather operations with NBCUniversal.