Tag Archives: WSB

I Spy Scandals In ATL Media

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There are two lovely, slaphappy, public office-related messes playing-out right now in Atlanta you won’t want to miss a moment of: the APS cheating scandal and Governor Deal’s trail of dubious dealings.

Thing is, the media attentions applied to both situations are so random and all-over-the-place it’s like Dick Cheney on a quail hunt; you never know where the shots are coming from, nor what they’re going to hit.

There is no clearinghouse of information, so you’re bound to miss something… if you’re not paying close attention.

Investigative journalism is an odd bird. Although news farms like to say they get their content from some pristine well of hard work, that’s not really the case.

Most get their news from the other news farm down the street. And most scandals erupt because people are gossipy tattletales and can’t keep a secret.

And sometimes people will even tell a journalist if they’re a hardcore whistleblower with stuff like paperwork to flaunt, and not just your common trash-talker over at Manuel’s.

But ultimately, it’s up to a near-solo, working journalist to keep the fires of an investigative situation burning… with loads of  seasoned skepticism and doubt mixed-in with better-than-yours sources.

Says longtime, Atlanta investigative reporter, Jim Walls of Atlanta Unfiltered and the AJC :

The trick is to know your topic thoroughly, keep asking questions when things don’t add up, and sometimes even when they seem to. Focus on what people have done, not what they say they’ve done. And do not assume that the most likely explanation is correct, or at least 100% correct. There are nuances to everything.

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Atlanta TV News Snowcoverage 2011

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Never one to be left behind when it comes to self-promotion, WSB-TV goes for a high school yearbook approach. (See pic.) Oh please don’t let them slap that on a billboard!

I had to drag my friend/neighbor Jenna away from the TV news Snowpocalypse coverage so we could take the kids to our neighborhood Willy’s for tacos last night. I really needed to get out of the house, but I needed a Willy’s margarita even more. But I know it’s hard to tear yourself away even for cocktails, as local news has been some of the most compelling TV going this snowbound week of non-stop coverage.

There’s my fave, Mark Winne, who’s been pulled-off the crime beat to go chat-up DeKalb County snow plow drivers now stuck in drifts alongside the road. Drink when Winne blurts *crime doesn’t take a day off* because he will inevitably say that, for your entertainment purposes.

And there’s top shelf material, WSB-TV’s Richard Belcher, finally catching-up with someone possessing half-a-brain from GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation). If anything needs a top-to-bottom media overhaul it’d be GDOT, eh?

Then there’s Hullinger over at WXIA chasing GDOT’s Vance Smith all the way down to the Gold Dome basement. Snort! And Wizbee’s (what industry insiders call WSB-TV) pol-gal Lori Geary talking poll results from pollster Matt Towery about who out there stuck inside (with a land line) thinks GDOT is doing a heck of a job, Brownie. (Only the old folk, of course).

Local TV news in Atlanta during this wild winter storm of January ’11 is a wacky ride of knowledgeable, experienced reporting combined with can’t-go-wrong images that even an ancient, union cameraman can halfheartedly point and shoot in a general direction and still get great snow-covered video.

Like the Catholic Church’s ad campaign to get folk back despite a pedophilia problem, now’s the time to come home to local TV news. It may not get this good until the next big *snow event*…. what Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed calls this icy mess we hope will melt away by King Day.

Local TV News Directors Speak to the Atlanta Press Club

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Local TV News Directors Ellen Crooke, WXIA; Budd McEntee, WAGA; Marian Pittman, WSB and Steve Schwaid, WGCL spoke at an Atlanta Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon on June 9, 2009.

The Anatomy of Yet Another Unnecessary Murder: How the Justice System Failed Eugenia Calle and Is Failing Us All

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From Tina Trent’s Crime Victims Media Report. Background: Eugenia Calle was murdered in her midtown Atlanta condo on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. Shamal Thompson is charged with her murder. This is Trent’s research on the criminal record of Thompson.

The Anatomy of Yet Another Unnecessary Murder: How the Justice System Failed Eugenia Calle and Is Failing Us All

Introduction

What follows is a preliminary effort to piece together Shamal (aka Jamal) Thompson’s long and troubling journey through Georgia’s broken criminal justice system prior to February 17, 2009, the day he murdered* an innocent cancer researcher named Eugenia Calle.  Ten months earlier, a DeKalb County Superior Court Judge named Cynthia J. Becker let Thompson walk free from what should have been a ten-year sentence for burglary.  She did so on the grounds that he was a first-time offender.

He was not.

I gathered the records of Thompson’s many other criminal charges and pleas merely through Internet searches and a few phone calls to court clerks in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties in Georgia.  These counties and jurisdictions vary quite significantly in their commitment to making public safety information available to the public.  Fulton County’s public records system is almost uniquely shameful in comparison to similar courts throughout the country, while DeKalb County’s records are impressively detailed and easy to access on-line.

This information is preliminary, based only on a few phone calls and web searches.  If you choose to reproduce or quote this article, please understand that I am unable to guarantee its absolute accuracy at this point.  Court records themselves often contain errors, and I can only reproduce what is entered on-line by the courts.  However, I include the public records case numbers for every case I cite, and if anyone involved in the justice system (or not) wishes to offer corrections or add to this account, please contact me through this website.

Why Didn’t Judge Cynthia Becker Do What I Did?

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Lack of Social Media Awareness and Tools Has Local TV News Failing Consumers In A Crisis

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A complete failure to keep up with technological advances and the needs of the citizenry via social media tools and citizen journalism applications is making Atlanta TV stations look like media dino imbeciles… at a time when they could be serving the community in a real-time way.

Bless their heart, WXIA is trying to let people know, via a map on TV and on their website, WHERE available gas is in the city, but when I checked it, the citizens’ posts located under the map appear to have been last updated yesterday. And not everyone looking at the site might not know to click-on the green or red arrows to see when info at that particular arrow/place was last updated.

Besides, when you do click on a green arrow for a particular station, you see that it/the info was, in some cases, last updated 20 hours ago! Or was presented/updated to show NO gas about 2-hours ago, yet the arrow remains green in color. (For “Go” presumably.) But hey, bad information is better than NO information? In this particular case, I think not.

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