Alex DeMetrick in his final report for WJZ on Thursday night. Still via WJZ-TV.

After more than four decades in the news business, most of them spent with WJZ-TV here in Baltimore, Alex DeMetrick has left the building.

Literally. We tried to reach him Thursday afternoon, but he’d already left for the day, and when we called again this morning on his final day, an assignment desk staffer said he stopped by around 5 a.m. to get his things: “He’s already gone.”

Anchors Denise Koch and Linh Bui shared some kind parting words for DeMetrick over the last day.

After 45 years in TV News, Alex Demetrick retires today. We will miss his sharp wit and excellent writing!!

— Linh Bui WJZ (@LinhBuiWJZ) June 28, 2019

This guy! @ADemetrickWJZ Desk buddies, work buddies for 3 decades Honestly one of the finest reporters in the business Wish him chilled martinis and great adventures as he strolls into retirement

— Denise Koch WJZ (@DeniseWJZ) June 27, 2019

Staffers threw him a farewell party this week. Koch, who started at WJZ around the same time as DeMetrick and shared a desk right next to his, said “he was a little chagrined” about the celebration because he wanted to go out with little fanfare. “He had made specific orders, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing… he’s always been about the work, always.”

Koch gushed about her former colleague, lauding the longtime TV reporter’s writing acumen–“he just as easily could have been a phenomenal print journalist”–and complimenting his ability to cover stories for broadcasts without infusing them with his personality. “He was calm and even-tempered, always showed up and did his work, never made a big fuss about it–really just a kind and unassuming guy with a lot of talent.”

DeMetrick left viewers with a cautionary pre-Fourth of July report Thursday night about the dangers of illegal fireworks–a seasonal bit that could easily come off as drab, but which he made interesting with shots of exploding melons and fake extremities.

He got his start reporting in California, where he grew up and attended Cal State University and San Jose State University. He arrived at WJZ in September 1984, and has been a regular fixture there since as a general assignment reporter. According to a brief station bio, he’s received awards from United Press International, the Associated Press and Lincoln University.

Station vice president and general manager Audra Swain did not respond to multiple messages requesting comment or details on DeMetrick’s retirement.

Koch said he plans to stay in the area and that viewers can expect to see him around.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...