Cheapskate chic

"If I'm gonna pay ten bucks for a suit, then I'm going to show it off!"

A blogger's moment of reflection: "If I'm gonna pay ten bucks for a suit, then I'm gonna to show it off!"

By Trevor Pettiford

A news director once told me, “In news, we give people what they want and occasionally, we give them what they need”. That axiom seemed to be in play Wednesday night during  WXIA-TV’s 11:00  newscast.  After the obligatory murder, crash and “you’re gonna die” stories of the night, the folks at 11Alive  turned their attentions and 20 minutes of semi-commercial free time over to “Ways to Save”, a special how-to series of reports and interviews to help us all make the most with less.

I have to say though, I had to chuckle at the special’s opening shot of 11Alive’s anchorless HD desk, hearing Brenda Wood and Ted Hall exclaim it was empty because there was “work to be done”.  (Hmm… what’s being done when they are sitting at that desk?) But regardless of where they sat, stood or aimlessly walked, I have to tip my press hat to their work in putting together 20 minutes of true news you could use.  From  making your bills lower to  being a smarter shopper,  there were so many tips and ideas, Clark Howard  had to be taking a few notes.

Valerie Hoff, a.k.a. “The Coupon Queen” should’ve been carrying a pair of scissors instead of a mic with the way she was cutting through the details of being a coupon clipper.  Bill Liss  offered up some bargain vacation ideas and Sports Director Fred Kalil had a few “stay-cation” tips (vacations you take at home) for cheaper tickets to local sporting events.  And while we’re on the subject of new econo-phrases, Doug Richards coined a new one… Chic-skate.  Cheap is the new chic, he explained in his story about how you can raid the Last Chance Thrift Store for designer clothes for the price of a latte. (note to Doug: reporter involvement is great, but you don’t have to actually wear clothes on-air that you purchased from those places) 😉

In all, if you were keeping score… and I was… there were 51 tips and 27 websites offered up  to viewers in 20 minutes.  I didn’t  included among those sites the 15 times “” was mentioned or plastered in Hi Def on my screen… shameless, but expected.

So much important and useful information, in such a short period of time,  didn’t newscasts used to be like that? If news gave people more of what they need, maybe they would no longer want what they’ve been getting.

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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.

26 thoughts on “Cheapskate chic

  1. beth

    Oh, now you’re making me miss you.
    Great. Now I feel sad.
    I loved the way the story was shot… and paced… and told.
    Hollis rocks. You rock.
    Come back.

  2. 2video1

    Nice piece Doug!! I think I know who shot it,but please tell me so I may tell them next time I see them. The only thing is I can’t remember the last time I shot a piece that was over 2 minutes long! My station has an average of 1:15 to 1:30 for a story. But again nice job kudos to you and your mystery photog. Unfortunately photgs never get the recognition they deserve!

  3. Steve

    Great job, Doug.

    Now, we need you to get over to the end of this police chase… and make sure you ask for dashcam video! Also ask everyone at the scene if they happened to get the end of the chase on cell phone video. Stills will work too.

    Are you there yet? We need you live two minutes from now.

  4. Jolly Roger

    I think the writer means sports director Fred Kalil, not Fred Hall (Ted Hall’s long lost twin?)

    [[ Somehow I overlooked that. I’ve corrected the post. Thanks for pointing it out – LAF ]]

  5. live apt fire Post author

    Kenny Hamilton shot and edited the piece. My day at WXIA could have been very awkward. He was foremost among the many folks there who smoothed it out for me and minimized the trippiness of the flashback to TV news. My thanks to Kenny and to ND Ellen Crooke.

    But where’s the abuse, LAF commenters? I know you’ve got it in you. Bring it.

    1. Mr. Bear


      Why abuse you for doing a good job? You want abuse, run for elected office. Or become the CEO of any company that took money from the Federal government.

  6. Rod

    Doug…watched your piece. Nice should stay out of the business! Actually, nice story telling by you. I can’t make it through an Atlanta A-Block any more. Awful shows these days..disheartening, predictable, boring with a small market talent look and feel.

  7. josephine

    hmmmm…. do I smell a bias to wxia because they helped you out with a story?

    oh, i forgot, this is a blog.

    If the info was so valuable why make me wait until 11 pm? Why not do it in their 7 pm show or take over a half hour at 7:30.

    Strictly a ratings stunt.

  8. Man from Atlanta

    “If news gave people more of what they need, maybe they would no longer want what they’ve been getting.”

    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave applied to TV news! I like it!

  9. Dale Russell

    That was like watching Tom Glavine in a Mets uniform.

    After taking a closer look, I’d give it an ……. A.
    Damn, I didn’t want to do that, but I had to be fair and balanced.

    But, 2:18? And they call us time sucking weasels.

    Now, we know. This blog was created to get you back into the business.

    Maybe you and Mike and Sally and Bill can start your own on-line TV station, the way all the ex-AJC staffers are starting their own on line newspapers!!

  10. scott hedeen

    “Maybe you and Mike and Sally and Bill can start your own on-line TV station, the way all the ex-AJC staffers are starting their own on line newspapers!!”

    add me to that list… no reason you can’t shoot and edit.. and deliver stories like that over the web on a daily basis…(other than that whole… $$$ thing)

    it was a good story… what were the ratings like for this special? also… i wonder if this is an across the board Gannett project?

  11. Jimbo

    Very nice piece, you definitely still have it. I’d like to add my thanks to the ND at xia for letting you in the house.

    Can’t really rip it to shreds, Kenny shot what needed shot, you said what needed to be said-and it all came together well. Last time I checked, that was one of the goals.

  12. Don B

    Oooooo come on guys….A good apartmentfiremurderassultrapecarchasetruckfireplanecrashchildmolestationcopgonebadteacherarrestedgangshootingdrugarrestmethbustwinniespecial on channel 2 would be better any day….Ha Ha ha

  13. Kay Flowers

    I liked it…alot. Maybe it’s only because Kenny shot it. Oh, did I type that out loud? No, obviously well written. And who else but Hollis to know about cheap-chic or whatever… she’s a rock star from way back. Anyway… very cool, Doug!

  14. daryll

    The tire and rim guy takes me back to your Alabama hubcap king story. I suspect someone still has the itch for storytelling at 6 and 11.

  15. Andy Funk

    Great piece, Doug — nothing to criticize, other than those who drove you out of the biz. You’ve always been one of those best able to use video as a great storytelling tool. If I were an Atlanta ND I’d try to convince you to do at least one piece a week for me.

  16. live apt fire Post author

    WXIA says the ratings for Wednesday’s 11pm newscast actually increased during the second half / special report portion.
    – Yeah, the standup was a bit of a shout-out to the Hubcap King.
    – I would say it’s more like Glenn Hubbard playing for the Oakland A’s.
    – Plato’s cave – ? Damn. Didn’t know you could embed youtube in comments.

    – Thanks for the kindness. I figured I’d get more “how ya gonna clobber WXIA on LAF now that you’re in bed with ’em?” kind of abuse. It’s a question I’m still pondering.

    1. Mr. Bear

      “I figured I’d get more “how ya gonna clobber WXIA on LAF now that you’re in bed with ‘em?” kind of abuse.”

      A lot of lines of demarcation have become blurry; consider the notion of copyright and “fair use”, or music sampling. You said that WXIA was going to try something different (“TV News Stinks”), so maybe this is it. Everybody’s got to have a place to sleep, so I don’t see an issue here. At the rate we’re going, we’re all going to be independent contractors or government employees. I like contracting, and if it means that you go over to West Peachtree for a little stand-up, so be it.

  17. mike daly

    – Doug’s been wanting to interview that rim guy for years, but too many apartment fires got in the way.
    – Any Photog in town knew that Kenny shot that piece as soon as it aired. Not because Kenny uses a particular style over and over, he uses all the styles of shooting to perfection. He executes and brings out all the personality he can find in a story. And with Doug, it was a combo that couldn’t miss.
    – So, Doug, as you walked out the door to do the story, did you get any nasty stares from the other reporters for taking Kenny?
    – Did you take Kenny to the Our Way Cafe after your visit to the Last Chance?
    – Kenny, tell Doug not to slouch. He didn’t do it much in this story, but I know he will. And when are they going to build a wide angle lens for wide screen that doesn’t show up around the edges?
    – Great piece.

  18. scott hedeen


    really? all this kenny love? hell…i moved to atlanta to shoot with kenny hamilton… but with all respect, WXIA’s staff is much more deeper than the man with beard… here’s some names… Crabbe. Reilly. Thomas. Samuels. Zakel. Johnson (my beloved JJJ!). Jones. Brooks. i could keep going… when i joined the WXIA staff in 1997 … i was blown away by the skills of everyone on the staff. That respect made me a better news photgrapher everday i picked up the camera.

    WXIA has a staff that couldve delivered a piece that good on a daily basis. so… not to discredit kenny hamilton…. a great cameraman in his own right… but… given time and the subject matter …(and credit to the blog owner…Doug Richards)that story HAD to be a slam dunk. (not to single out Richards… hell… Carnes.. Leslie… Pickard… Rowson… Shirek… Crawley…Dixon… Whitney..all amazing story tellers)… i can say i’ve won NPPA awards with all members of the XIA reporting staff. (and… um… made slot too… always my number one priority)

    so doug if yr reading? find a story… i’ll shoot it pro bono. just so i can get some street cred back.

    Daly if yr reading…. Boston Terriers are the cutest dogs ever… that said… don’t sell yrself short… Mike Daly has the skills. i’ve seen it.


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