Julie Wolfe was on TV three times during her night shift Wednesday at WXIA. George Franco, same thing at WAGA. Both may have gone home with a bit of whiplash, a chronic condition among local TV reporters.
Wolfe began with a drive to Peachtree City, where the “backpack journalist” shot and reported an enterprise story about graffiti problems. Still in her twenties, the UGA grad has gained a reputation in Atlanta as a pretty good photographer. Her video in the graffiti piece was impressive. Her storytelling was good, too.
Like Wolfe, George Franco’s night shift began on a high note. Franco located a victim in a Doraville abduction-and-robbery case targeting Hispanics. (WGCL had done the same story Friday but couldn’t produce a victim.) Franco’s story, about robbers posing as federal agents, was compelling but seemed abruptly cut short. Turns out there was a reason.
At 9pm Wednesday, fire broke out at a DeKalb County apartment complex. Wolfe and Franco had probably just finished the scripts for their stories. They voiced their scripts, then hauled butt to the apartment fire.
Wolfe got there first, ably producing live shots for the A-blocks of WXIA/WATL’s 10pm news, and WXIA’s 11. Franco’s crew was unable to get him on TV until about 10:20pm. There was, no doubt, much consternation in WAGA’s newsroom when they saw Wolfe on TV while Franco’s crew was still trying to establish a live shot.
As for the apartment fire? Garden-variety. WSB’s Eric Philips gave it his all, telling viewers firefighters at first believed “two souls (were) trapped inside;” the apartment buildings, “totally destroyed because of those roaring flames that whipped through there like a very strong wind.”
Thankfully, Wolfe and Franco avoided the overly dramatic language. No doubt, Wolfe’s UGA professors taught her that “totally destroyed” is a top-shelf redundancy.
Turned out, nobody was trapped. Nobody was hurt. A few folks were displaced. Another evening’s work was somewhat upended by the great Atlanta TV news cliche.