Daily Archives: July 21, 2008

Traffic wreck coverage kills WTOC reporter

Steven Shoob worked the overnight shift at WTOC in Savannah. Shoob had been employed there twenty years. He covered news in the field overnight. Then he reported to the newsroom and produced and anchored local cut-in segments that appeared during the national morning newscasts. He wore many hats; he held the title of managing editor.

Shoob was covering a traffic accident on I-95 at 5:30 this morning. According to the Savannah Morning News, a police sergeant had told him the accident was minor. Shoob turned to leave, and a vehicle fatally struck him. From the newspaper web site:

“As great as he was as a journalist, he was an even better person,” (WTOC news director Larry) Silbermann said. “He was a compassionate, caring person.”

WTOC’s web site showed photos of Shoob, a one-man-band, covering a traffic accident in 2002. One-man-band coverage is commonplace in smaller markets like Savannah. Shoob’s willingness to do it for 20 years for Savannah’s notoriously low wages showed Shoob’s remarkable devotion to the news biz. WTOC’s site is loaded with tributes to Shoob from co-workers and public safety folk.

It’s no secret that covering traffic accidents is both humdrum and dangerous work, especially on interstate highways. Some Atlanta stations have forbidden live trucks from raising masts on the shoulders of limited access highways. There’s no question that the added spectacle of a TV truck on a roadside can distract motorists. It’s not known how the Savannah accident happened.

We offer our condolences to Shoob’s family, friends and colleagues.

h/t Peach Pundit.

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Oh, wait. I don’t have a PhD. Oops.

What a great way to end a lousy week at the AJC. Saturday’s AJC piece about Grady interim CEO Pam Stephenson was Exhibit A in why this newspaper is worth saving, and why it’s still the most relevant news outlet in town.

The article by Heather Vogell hilariously chronicled Stephenson’s evasions against mounting evidence that she’d puffed / falsified her education. When she was unable to provide documentation of her curriculum vitae, she instead issued a statement moaning about “daily harassment” by the AJC. It reeked of a scoundrel caught in the act.

The details are remarkable. Stephenson claims two law degrees and a PhD. The newspaper found evidence only of a single Masters degree. Stephenson blamed some of the discrepancy on a “word processing error” caused by Grady’s PR staff. The hospital’s PR crew has got to top the list of those who can’t wait to see her leave.

We’re amazed at the schadenfreude shown among a small handful of LAF readers rooting for the demise of this newspaper. If it weren’t for the AJC, Stephenson’s absurd $600,000 buyout might still be secret. Its expose of the possible falsification of her resume may be grounds to nullify her contract and save a nice handful of public money.