Old School

Bloggers can be awfully self-righteous, present company included. Many see the “new media” as superior to the old. And when they break a story, bloggers can beat their chests as strenuously as any ladder-climbing TV news guy. So it’s been with the Soulja Girl story. The video of a disturbed young woman’s too-long verbal abuse of an elderly passenger on a MARTA train went viral on youtube. The major Atlanta media overlooked it mostly. Some elements of the blogosphere went kinda nutso. It accused the media of ignoring a “critical” story. It demanded a MARTA response.

But the story was never really about MARTA. It was about the disturbed woman, and the curiously sanguine reaction of the other passengers. Although Ryan Cameron’s radio show got the first hint of the inside story, it finally took WSB’s Monica Pearson to nail it. Pearson interviewed the offensive woman’s mom, revealing that she’s bipolar and isn’t consistently medicated. Pearson also chatted by phone with the son of the elderly victim, who said she immediately recognized the woman was mentally disturbed. She simply sat and waited for the outburst to end. And she didn’t want to add to her grief by pressing charges or talking on TV. Good call.

Pearson was transparent about her method: She got an e-mail from the mom, obviously a fan of the longtime anchorwoman. The mom agreed to submit to Pearson’s tender mercies on-camera. Pearson got an exclusive, and the anguished mom got to explain, to a friendly face, her daughter’s now-famous erratic behavior.

It wasn’t rocket science, but Pearson has the experience to avoid fumbling a handoff. And Pearson, who is as old-media as it gets, became the source for the next round of Soulja Girl blogging.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

13 thoughts on “Old School

  1. Austin Rhodes

    Why did it take so long for anyone on that train to defend the old lady? Has the world really become nothing more than a bunch of hapless sheep who shrink at the bellowing of a lunatic? What a damn shame. Peer pressure and public shame used to keep a lot of folks straight.

  2. spaceyg

    You are simply wrong here, Doug. And I’m going to go a little nutso and call BS on you:

    The blogger, Sandra Rose.com, had all of the above information on Friday, excluding Pearson’s on-cam interview with the elderly victim. CL blogged what they could over the weekend too. As did I. Sandra’s blog post have consistently refected the mental health issues implicit in this situation.

    Big Atlanta Media simply took the weekend off, as did MARTA and DeKalb County. The blogosphere did not. They weren’t “kinda nutso.” Rather, they were just working through the weekend, a blackhole of news coverage, when Big Media in Atlanta just shuts completely down.

    Other than WSB, no other Big Atlanta Media has reported at ALL on this critical story. In any of the myriad of ways one could be doing so. The AJC ran a short, unenlightening story yesterday, after Sandra Rose took them to task.

    Bloggers have been working this story very hard since last week, breaking plenty of news about it. Big Media has utterly failed its civic responsibility by completely ignoring this story!

    It’s incredulous that you feel this story has been sufficiently worked-over by Monica Kaufman Pearson alone. She didn’t lift a finger or move a muscle to get that interview, and you know it. As she said, the woman e-mailed her! Obviously the mother was eager to get on TV and talk to the great Monica Kaufman, to get asked a few softball questions in nice lighting.

    Monica Kaufman doesnt’ “report” or find a damn thing, and you know it. She sits on her fat ass in the newsroom, booking charity event appearances, when she even deigns to show up there, and waits for other people to tell her what to say on the air. Oh yeah, and she gets a nice paycheck once a week too.

    Also, it’s inexcusable that Atlanta media lets MARTA get away with the kinds of ridiculous statements they made about launching a “major investigation” to find this troubled young lady. That’s utter BS. She was likely very well known to them, and right in their own data base. A family member called authorities and turned the crazy girl in, for chrissake.

    MARATA, like Monica, sat on their ass all weekend, (See my post, “MARTA to SpaceyG, Have A Good Weekend.”)

    And again, see Sandra Rose.com for a complete discussion of the mental health issues implicit in his issues (Rose happens to also be an RN),and for a history of the girl’s criminal life.

    The blogosphere and alt media hasn’t gone “nutso.” We were just doing Big Media’s work FOR them. Without the credit I might add.

    But funny how that blogospere tail is now sure wagging the BIg Media dog. No one would have reported on this mess at all had someone not posted it to YouTube in the first place! Or for that matter, felt it worthy enough to roll their (citizen’s) camera on.

    And by the way, the video first appeared on MySpace, not YouTube. I wonder if Monica Kaufman even realizes such a thing exists. But no worry, someone will surely tell her how to click it on.

  3. spaceyg

    Excuse me, I meant to say, in the 2nd graph, Pearson’s interview with the crazy girl’s mother, NOT the elderly victim.

  4. liveapartmentfire Post author

    Thanks for the abuse, SG. I won’t dispute any of it, except this: In paragraph four, you describe this story as “critical.” What makes it critical? If there’s no video, there’s no story. With the video, it’s an isolated incident involving a disturbed woman who ultimately did no real harm.

  5. Eugene

    >Bloggers can be awfully self-righteous…. bloggers can beat their chests as strenuously as any ladder-climbing TV news guy.

    I think I’m beginning to see what you mean! And the condescension in the preceding comments is being laid on (layed on?)so thick it’s, well, it’s INCREDULOUS!

  6. spaceyg

    Hmmm… “critical” might not have been the best choice of word, I agree. “Crucial” is more to the point, as the passionate and often heated conversations, droves of comments and video responses, etc. the video “generated” on the InterTubes and on “urban” radio did surely give off a whiff of the “crucial.”

    But hey, that was just the “urban” community in Atlanta. Nothing to report there, eh? Just move along folks.

  7. Fence Sitter

    Alright spaceyg, let’s try this again. In what way was the incident “crucial”?

    It was not crucial simply because of the chatter it produced. Sensational perhaps, but not crucial. If the amount of chatter produced on the internet or morning radio determined what was truly crucial, then Amber Nicole Smith’s death would be considered the most important event in human history.

  8. Eugene

    Fence Sitter, you are soooo nutso if you cannot grasp what an incredulous blogger SpaceyG is! Man, you shouldn’t even be allowed on the Internets.

    I’ll have to film it and put it on the youtubes. Maybe someone will show you how to click on it.

    Don’t you get it?

  9. photog1601

    ok,enough….how about this….SpaceyG? What is the story? The youtube video bounced around the StarShip several days before you bloggers picked up on it. We just could not figure out the Story. Nutso woman goes wacko on the Marta train…and Marta needs to respond how? its their fault how? The Battle-Star kicked into
    time warp once Marta falls to so-called blog pressure.
    She turned herself(or her family did-great family how about med help instead the hooskow) Give it a rest. The blog world is not banana-pudding for the electronic generation. We old farts in the old school due at least try to be balanced and not infect our rants with onesided views. Come down from the mountain before you get a nose bleed.
    (the cool thing about my job…most people watch
    history on the boob tube…I get to live it!)

  10. Insider

    Some “big media” had the whole story a week ago, including information that the woman was mentally ill, and chose not to cover it.

    Mentally ill woman goes on a rant on a MARTA train. This is news? There is not a security issue here. How is MARTA to tell if someone riding public transportation is sane? There is not a mental health issue. Take your meds or this could be you? It’s an unfortunate incident that happened to be captured on camera. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

    Doing this story is simply an excuse to exploit the woman’s condition by playing the video.

  11. chance

    Geez. Have you people EVER taken a ride on Marta? Stuff like this happens from time to time. Just doesn’t get caught on video and posted on the internet. Come out of the suburbs for a moment. Better yet: take a ride on the subway in NYC. You’ll think this is normal.


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