Daily Archives: February 20, 2009

First blood

Timing is everything, the cliche goes.  This cliche has a measure of truth, at least regarding the story of DeKalb police chief Terrell Bolton.  Unlikely to survive his current contretemps with his new boss, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Bolton may be inclined to blame WAGA’s Dale Russell for digging up information leading to his demise.  If so, he’d be overlooking (as we’ve done, until now) the reporter who (it appears) actually broke this story more than a year ago:  Joanna Massee at WGCL.

Massee’s piece posted on WGCL’s web site on February 4, 2008.  Russell’s I-Team investigation, which contained mostly the same material, posted on November 24, 2008.  But Russell’s work aired shortly after Burrell Ellis was elected CEO.  Ellis was already suspicious of Bolton, whose appointment was force-fed by Ellis’s predecessor, Vernon Jones.  Russell’s story gave Ellis a fresh reason for a hard look at the chief.  Ellis’s investigation gave Russell’s story legs that Massee’s story lacked.

Massee’s story is worth viewing because it shows her effort to pin down Jones on the comp time story.  On-camera, Jones tells Massee he’ll be happy to talk to her later about Bolton’s comp time.  Not surprisingly, the always-slippery Jones never did so.

Unfortunately for Massee, Russell’s story also had greater clout because WAGA has more clout than WGCL.   And Russell’s I-team had the resources to devote three nights to the Bolton story, plus numerous follow-ups.  Jones probably blew off Massee’s interview request because he figured nobody would notice.  WGCL deserves more respect.  It’ll earn it when it gets more viewers.

H/T to DeKalb Officers Speak

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