Graveyard shift

Ask Anissa Centers about the glamor of TV news. Saturday, Centers showed up for the 3am shift at WSB. Her job: To slog through WSB’s three hours of morning news, which airs from 6-9am Saturday. Do any real people anybody actually watch this program? The answer is: Just enough, and just enough for WXIA and WAGA to run their own local news blocks in roughly the same time period.

We’ve never met Centers, but we assume that her career began with much promise. She probably got into journalism for all the right reasons. She probably chose TV because research has shown most folks depend on it for news. And TV liked her enough to advance her career into a top ten market, Atlanta.

And now she’s on the graveyard of all graveyard shifts, doing the wee-hours on the weekend.

(Her story may only be exceeded by Catherine Kim. Kim worked WXIA’s version of the same shift Saturday. But unlike Centers, Kim is a “backpack journalist,” WXIA’s unfortunate labor-saving experiment. So even when Kim works a normal shift, she has to shoot and edit her own material, as well as report and drive to her stories.)

Centers and Kim are playing dues-paying, low-man-on-the-totem-pole roles. If the graveyard shift has sapped Centers’ spirit, she doesn’t show it on TV. Saturday, she performed six live shots about a gambling raid that had taken place the previous day (and apparently covered by another WSB reporter) at a DeKalb game room. She energetically delivered each report, despite the obvious tedium of her assignment.

Channel Two Action News Saturday AM, by the numbers:

  • Three hours on the air, from 6am to 9am.
  • Three on-air talent for the entire broadcast: Centers, anchor Amanda Rosseter, and weather guy Brad Nitz.
  • Sixteen weather teases or weather reports.
  • Sixteen recycled reporter packages from previous newscasts.
  • Six live shots by Centers.
  • Six times Rosseter used variations of the phrase “only channel two cameras were rolling” while teasing or pitching to Centers’ live shots.
  • Two times Centers used the phrase “officers say this is where they hit the jackpot” during a live shot on the gambling raid, showing, we thought, remarkable restraint.

18 thoughts on “Graveyard shift

  1. News Junkie

    I really like Anissa Centers and look forward to seeing her on other newscasts. I just started noticing her on the Saturday newscasts a few months ago and each time have been impressed with her storytelling and the restraint in her delivery. I also thought Carol Sbarge did an amazing job on the weekend newcasts for years, and she was recently rewarded with a promotion to weekday mornings, so I hope Centers’ career follows a similar path. But you’re right about the Saturday newscasts — it’s ridiculous programming, and borderlines disrespectful of viewers by suggesting that is contains three hours worth of “news.” For crying out loud, don’t the folks at WSB have a heart for kids? I know they show “That’s So Raven” and “Zack & Cody,” but whatever happened to early Saturday morning cartoons?

  2. Edward

    The Saturday morning cartoons stopped being cartoons and became simply marketing promotions for the latest action figure or movie or video game. That, and the political-correctness police saying that Bugs Bunny was too violent or racist or whatever the PC buzzword of the day might be.

  3. chance

    Cartoons on network tv are a thing of the past because of Disney, various Nick channels and Atlanta’s own Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Kids can have cartoons/kids programing 24/7 now. No need to get up early on Saturday morning to get their animation fix. But, WAGA, WXIA, WSB and GCL would be better off showing something else other than news.

  4. locutus of borg

    The reason stations put on so much news is that it’s so inexpensive to put on. Even with big anchor salaries (and smaller reporter/producer/production staff salaries) it’s still cheaper to put on news than it is to buy programming. That programming is very expensive. Also remember that reporters/producers/anchor/etc. are on salary. They don’t get paid per show. So the more news you put on, the cheaper that expense becomes.

  5. TravisBickle

    Good breakdown of a typical weekend morning show. Of course, you’ll find a carbon copy on all the other news channels (LAF: yes, even WAGA!). or I might suggest the others may not even have one that rises to this level of “quality”

  6. bsteve76

    Re graveyard shift and sapped spirits: Centers gets paid. I can think of a lot of jobless journalists who gladly would trade places with her.

  7. LBJ

    I, for one, work late and don’t see any local evening news. For many years I’ve and watched the Saturday morning news and have been able to see the stories I missed during the week. And, of course, over that time I came to appreciate Carol Sbarge. She has no pretense at all and I could just stare at her all day.

  8. tyson

    After watching Anissa Centers on WSB, I did asearch for her bio. She was a main anchor in Mobile. AL. and Waco, Tx. , What happened? She seems to good for that shift, not calling any names, but she is better than at least most on all of the stations. It makes you wonder why she would have accepted such a thankless job. My guess is that wanted to be in a top 10 market bad enough to do anything. I wish someone would post Anissa’s real story.

  9. Erica

    Her husband received a better job offer in Georgia. She was an outstanding news anchor in Mobile, AL. But she had to do what she had to do for her and her family.

  10. KIM COX

    I am from the Mobile area and we miss Anissa. She brought alot of life and a little humor to our evening news. I hope her husband realizes that we all sacraficed something for his new job.

  11. Kimberly Westmoreland

    Yes, we do miss Anissa in Mobile. She brought class and humor to the local news and that combination isn’t easy to find. She was the evening anchor, but when you relocate you have to start over.

  12. Del Smith

    Anissa Centers is from Texas. She did 11 years in Mobile Alabama, and she was the “franchise” player out there. Now, in a bigger market she is paying her dues. She is easy on the eyes, and on her way up.

      1. Tyler

        She is now at KLTV in Tyler Texas. First time tonight. She is on the 6 and i would guess 10pm slots. I like her deliery. Certainly better that the others.

  13. Dennis

    Anissa Centers is out of her league in a top 10 market. She was fine for Mobile, but her strained delivery and pauses in the middle of sentences aren’t top 10 market quality. Typical of Cox – hire from small markets and save money. Jaquitta Williams and Marjorie Coley Davis are other examples of WSB reporters that weren’t ready for this market.

    1. Debbie

      Not ready for the market? Are you aware of the years that Marjorie Coley and Jaquitta Williams have worked in the industry? The news reporters had solid careers, I don’t believe the “market” was ready for such intelligent women.

      You failed to mention the station where you work?

  14. Dorothy Browning

    Yeah, that is sooo great to hear. I was wondering what happened to Anissa. I remember her while my husband and I were stationed in Pensacola and I guess you could say we both transferred to Atlanta. I missed seeing her on the weekends. I am very happy to know that her career is still on track. She always reminds me of Sanaa Lathan. I wish you the very best Aniss and God Bless.


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