Winne watch 1.9.09

Secret Squirrel

Secret Squirrel

“Ashley Elder says she and fellow bartender and buddy John Henderson had just closed the Standard Food and Spirits on Memorial Drive shortly before four in the early morning darkness Wednesday when four or five masked men smashed their way in.”

WSB’s Mark Winne crammed a lot of words and several thoughts into that one sentence Friday.  His staccato delivery made the words emanate from the TV (actually,, where we saw it) like gunfire.  As broadcast writing goes, it cries out for a skilled editor.  But as crime stories go, Winne whupped ’em.  It’s what he does.

Friday, Atlanta police held an afternoon news conference on the murder of bartender John Henderson.  It was a high-interest story because of the cold-bloodedness of the killing.  The killers spared the life of another employee at the Standard, Ashley Elder.  While the other TV stations were working around the police news conference, Winne was getting the exclusive interview with Elder.  In fact, we suspect Winne timed the interview to coincide with the news conference, Secret Squirrel-style, knowing the other stations would be busy across town at police headquarters.  The man needs a hat with two eye holes in it.

Mark Winne, WSB

Wordy yet wiley: Mark Winne, WSB

For good measure, Winne also got fedora-wearing lead detective Anthony Gentile to do something rarely seen in a fresh investigation:  He gave Winne a sequential walking tour of the interior crime scene.  He showed where Henderson stood when the killers burst in.  He walked down the hallway where they led the victims, describing what happened.  Then Gentile showed the door which the killers shot through, fatally striking Henderson after they’d robbed him.

The information also happened to be new, debunking previous APD misinformation indicating that Henderson had been shot execution style.

Det. Gentile

One-time-only tour: Det. Gentile

WAGA stuck with the news conference.  The info at the news conference was also interesting enough.  But Winne’s 6pm scoop obviously got the attention of his competitor.  By 10pm, WAGA’s Tony Thomas had coaxed Gentile to talk to him on TV at the Standard.

But the detective (or more likely the Standard, which was serving patrons by nightfall) declined an encore performance of the walking tour.  That, and the interview with Elder, belonged solely to Winne.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Winne watch 1.9.09

  1. limmyjohn

    the way they got the story was unethical. Police staged a press conference while they delivered the witness to wsb studios. That’s NOT a get. That’s a back handed deal.

    A get is when you are truly out there competitively going for the story.

    Atlanta police have gotten grief form the other NDs about their move and how stations may look the other way when police ask for help.

  2. ShawnG


    Where’s the squirrel rating? Don’t you normally do a squirrel rating for all of Secret Squirrel’s stories?

    And can you give us the back story on why you love/hate Secret Squirrel Winne so much? You can’t possible do so many Squirrel postings if you didn’t have contempt, admiration, or a little of both…

  3. LBJ

    I’ve always wondered about Winne, in that his style is totally out of sync with anyone else at TV2. Does every story have to be read with such drama? Sounds like the Firesign Theater doing “Nick Danger – Third Eye”.

  4. Wanda and Nnaji McDaniel

    Mark Winnie this is Wanda McDaniel writing on the behalf of Nnaji McDainel from Chamblee High School we have transfered to Morgan County High School in Madison Ga 30650. My number is 404..455.9885. Nnaji said this is his last year and he has to play Football in which he scored at least 6 touchdown this year. Nnaji had an awesome year in Fotball and it has landed him at Tusculum Tenn. (we are grateful)
    Nnaji has made the paper Madision News weekly and is well known here.
    Basketball well they are number #1 in their Region My father and mother we speeaking of you today. We had to take picture for Nnaji MCDaniel signing day here in Madison. If any way possible could you call me and or come to the school / game to see Nnaji. I know you are a busy person but we would love to see you. Thanks

  5. Pingback: Winne Watch 1.23.12 « live apartment fire

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