2008 Emmys

Saturday was a good day for a TV reporter named John Le. He’s a feature reporter at WLOS in Asheville NC. Saturday, Le won three Southeast Regional Emmy awards. Le single-handedly captured more Emmys than the entire staff of WGCL or WXIA.

It was also a good day for Tony Thomas, a general assignment reporter for WAGA. Thomas also bagged three Emmys, two for weather coverage.

(Btw, next time you see WGCL’s Wendy Saltzman, offer her a hug. She was nominated in three categories but got skunked.)

For many, the big story at this year’s Emmys was the improbable victory of WGCL in the final category of the awards program: Best Newscast. The awards committee selects a date at random and compares the newscasts of all the stations in the Atlanta market. WGCL had a good day that day. It proves that when WGCL peels away its silliest tendencies and lets its people do their jobs, this station has the potential to find an audience.

But to us, the bigger story was about guys like John Le, and stations like WLOS and WYFF, both in the Greenville / Spartanburg / Asheville market. Those smaller market stations took home a bunch of Emmys that the Atlanta stations should have been able to get:

  • News photographer, WYFF
  • News editor, WLOS
  • News writer, WLOS (John Le)
  • Sports story, WLOS (John Le)
  • Breaking news, WSPA
  • Investigative reporting, WYFF
  • Health / Science news, WLOS (John Le)
  • News Feature, WLOS
  • On camera reporter, WLOS
  • Weather anchor, WYFF
  • Weather, WLOS (tied with WAGA)

Download the entire 34 page document of Emmy nominees and winners here.

It’s worth noting that WYFF won the investigative reporting Emmy over two entries from WAGA’s vaunted I-Team. (But the I-team made up for it with Emmys in two other categories.)

It’s also worth noting that zero Atlanta stations had an entry in the Feature reporting category. It speaks volumes about the market’s disinterest in telling stories that lack a hard news edge. Quoting from John Le’s bio on WLOS’s web site: “John Le‘s mission is pretty simple: to find the most memorable story of the day.”

Not the middling breaking news. Not the “get.” Not the “can it be a lead?” exclusive. Those are the stories that drive the competitive fires of news directors and consultants, and drive audiences away from local TV news.

The “memorable” stories? Tune in to WLOS. We found this John Le piece on Youtube:

This entry was posted in emmys, John Le, WAGA, WGCL, WLOS, WYFF on by .

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.

16 thoughts on “2008 Emmys

  1. My bf works for WGCL

    haha, my bf reads this blog religiously and now Im hooked!
    Isn’t it sad how WGCL has SOOO MUCH potential that goes untapped. The way my bf describes it, everyone there is jaded and negative and every has a problem with dagmar…
    maybe it’s b/c I’m 26 and young, but I kina like seeing her…..

  2. locutus of borg

    As someone who travels to Asheville every few weeks on business, I have watched WLOS news quite often, and while I like to refrain from criticism, it is almost unwatchable (at least by an Atlanta news junkie like me). The staff is so good at feature stories because four-fifths of their newscast is features (and beside John Le and Russ Bowen’s work, most of it is not good). I don’t mean this as a slam on Le (who is very good at what he does), but his light-hearted sometimes slapstick stories (while perfect for small markets) simply wouldn’t fly here in Atlanta. And one more thing to make Atlanta TV veterans feel better: Emmys are for watchable and entertaining TV not for journalistc integrity. Atlanta TV news should put more value in Murrow awards than Emmys.

  3. Photog

    “John Le and Russ Bowen’s work, most of it is not good”, you obviously don’t watch WLOS that much. First of all, don’t compare an Atlanta newscast to an Asheville newscast. The Producers in Asheville are VERY limited in what they can do in terms of ENG AND Production. But if you want to compare stories, whether it’s SPOT NEWS OR FEATURE or General News, I’ll put my money on these two Asheville reporters and their photogs to bring back the best story anyday. Peace OUT!

  4. live apt fire Post author

    Photog: You missed the word “beside” in Locutus’s post, eg: “beside John Le and Russ Bowen’s work, most of it is not good.” He was complimenting Le and Bowen.

    Btw Locutus– get an icon.

  5. JasonC

    Comparing ATL with GVL/ASH/SPA is pretty crazy, it really is, to borrow the cliche, apples to oranges. As Photog mentioned, ATL has much more capabilities and assets in the way of live trucks, helicopters, staff, etc. Second, ATL is so much more of a run-and-gun market. WSB sets the pace and everyone else keeps up or tries to. And while locutus may be a “news junkie”, I get a little tired of the doldrums of what person got shot in SW ATL or the “breaking news” of a house fire that the chopper hovers just about daily, but to each his own. There are good journalist that work in both markets. And there are and have recently been reporters in GVL/ASH/SPA that could easily hold their own with just about any reporter in ATL. Furthermore, I think it is a bit childish to imply that “the awards we aren’t winning don’t matter.”

  6. locutus of borg

    I am, as always, humbled by any responses to my criticisms (which is why I generally hesitate to give it). To LAF: thanks for the clarification to Photog and I have no clue where to get an icon (sorry). To Photog and JasonC: this is all just my opinion and worth absolutely nothing else. I have no doubt that many WLOS reporters are very capable (there’s one with the first name of Charu(forgive me for not knowing her full name since I am not in Asheville fulltime) who seems to know her stuff. Its just that to an “Atlanta news junkie” like me, Asheville news seem so very low key, too low key for my personal taste. And as for Emmys, I know they are important, but I feel the Murrows, AP’s and the Green Eyeshades should be considered on equal footing. I regret any offense I may have caused. I assure you none was meant. Emmy Award winners should be rightfully proud of their work.

  7. Photog

    WLOS this past year has won 6 AP’s 7 Emmy’s, A 2nd pace National Headliner and NPPA awards. Not a bad year.

  8. TravisBickle

    Here’s the problem.
    I’m sure all of us ATL tv journalists have previously worked in markets where we did features and got to really sink our teeth into a story that would win some awards. I did. I also was making about as much as a Home Depot cashier. I think its just a choice: get low pay for more freedom and opportunity in storytelling or use those stories to get you a job in the big market where all you get to do is “real news”. But you also are able to support a family-and occasionally get to do that winning story.

  9. Photog

    ” I think its just a choice: get low pay for more freedom and opportunity in storytelling or use those stories to get you a job in the big market where all you get to do is “real news”.

    This in my opinion is the problem with the Atlanta Market. YOU GUYS CALL IT “Real News”. Does KARE 11 out of MN do real news? Does KUSA out of Denver do real news? Storytelling can thrive in big markets. Is running and gunning real news to you? Why can’t Atlanta reporters take “real news” and make it interesting? Everytime I’m in Atlanta, I see a reporter telling me the news. Essentially they are no different than the anchor pitching to them. Give the viewer more Atlanta! Give them a story with a character that has a beginning, middle, and end. Trust me, I know what it’s like to edit a PKG in 5 minutes then run to the next story to be live, If you think that’s real news, Keep Dreaming!

  10. TravisBickle

    You don’t have to quote the NPPA creed, I lived it for a long time.And still love it.And it will take you a long way, don’t lose it But kudos to you for keeping the fight. I didn’t want to bring up the KUSA’s and KARE’s and WXIA’s even. But there are not many of them left and if you take a look at KSTP, fewer and fewer. It’s tough. I’m not running and gunning anymore. But yes, you can still do the NPPA in the big markets but it will take a lot of strength to fight not becoming cynical

  11. Scott Hedeen

    Emmys are judged by people who say “yes … is there going to be free pizza”? It’s not a great process.

    there is no emmy for shooting exclusive footage… getting the fact straight… and and getting it live at noon.

    I always had a problem with the eliteness that is attached to the statue.


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