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.

This entry was posted in wtoc 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.

14 thoughts on “Traffic wreck coverage kills WTOC reporter

  1. Scott Hedeen


    reality is a hard pill to swallow. I often thought “is this story worth becoming a statistic over”? I often felt like I was “pushed” to stretch my own boundaries of safety in getting “the shot that made a VO worthwile”. I took alot of chances during my career as a news cameraman… i regret NONE of them…. but… I kiss my daughter that much harder realizing that I couldve been an article on a blog someday.

    “Scott Hedeen… got a great shot that never aired… was killed today on 285… now here’s the weather.” a bit crass… but a reality in the world of TV news that wouldve been my final moments… a reader before the break into weather. ugh.

  2. Austin Rhodes

    This tragedy harkens back to the death of former Augusta reporter/anchor Michelle Lima, who died in a similar accident in San Antonio. Very sad indeed. Prayers for Shoob’s family and colleagues.

  3. bigear

    Forgive that this is slightly off-topic: I read something earlier this year about journlist working along a highway must wear reflective vests. Anyone know anything about that?

  4. Scott Hedeen

    “about journlist working along a highway must wear reflective vests.”

    you know how planning goes in newsrooms… the photog will leave the vest in his/hers car… and not bring it into the live truck.

    this has always been a reality that alot of stations have narrowly missed. A dead employee because they were sent on a assignment that involved “unpredictable” elements. I know for a fact that “I don’t feel this is safe.” works on producers and assignment desk people. You look “lazy”.

    Police SOTS or VO’s of smashed cars …atleast in Atlanta… are not that exciting. really.

  5. Hate The Game

    It really is a damn shame when truly great JOURNALISTS go far too early, while ABSOLUTE ROBOTS like Jennifer Mayerle will probably continue to plague us for all of our years! Just AWFUL!!!

  6. live apt fire Post author

    @ hate the game: I don’t know Mayerle, but I’ve seen her do some fine work. Your comment is ruled out of order. Please release your fingers from the exclamation mark and CAPS keys, and please visit again after your breathing has returned to normal.

  7. Hate The Blog


    (I’m allowing this comment because this upstanding citizen is limiting his ad hominem attack to your truly– LAF)

  8. Scott Hedeen

    what does the above comments have to do with Steve Shoob? This is a tasty little back and forth. En Garde!

  9. bigear

    Scott: I trust my guys in the field. If someone says that it is unsafe, it is unsafe and we will have to try to cover it another way. Nothing is worth your life. I hope that came across when you and I work together.

  10. scott hedeen

    heh. my last statement (see above) was a bit confused.. what i meant was “i don’t think this is safe” was NOT a good thing to say to assignment editors or news managers.

    in theory … i would like to think …no manager would want his or her employee to get hurt.however risking the chance that the other station getting better footage and us not having that same footage…. was worth the chance.

    Atlanta wasnt that bad for me. Baltimore was. In atlanta … the rush to report sometimes overtook the reasonable behavior. I took chances… i got got some pretty killer video sometimes… but sitting here now at my house in the north georgia mts…(read: i’m a grumpy news hermit)… i’m glad i’m still here to play pundit.

    (pardon… lower text… misspellings… and bad grammar… i’m using my tv news skills!)


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