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: