Burying the lede

That sound you hear in the distance is a blogger crying “uncle!”

The blogger, having spent twenty-five months eking out mortgage payments as an entrepreneur, is taking a job with the Man.  The job will return the blogger to a line of work for which he has a great deal of affection, in an industry that has never been sketchier.

I become a regularly-scheduled part-time WXIA reporter on August 10.

Where the magic happens:  LAF World HQ, Decatur GA

Where the magic happens: LAF World HQ, Decatur GA

Why return?  Because TV news is the one trade in which I have any measure of real expertise.  Although I’d dallied in the printed word since my departure from WAGA in June 2007, printed words are making money for very few writers.   TV news is hurting economically, but it appears to be the only mainstream media source still liked by the public and still employing journalists somewhat reliably.

Why return?  Because WXIA very kindly asked me to do so, with the mutual goal of telling cool TV stories.  WXIA’s roster of reporters consists of top-notch storytellers.  It’s humbling to to be in their midst.

WXIA asked me to do so while knowing quite well, as you probably do, my mixed feelings toward local TV news.  In many settings, that would make me damaged goods.  WXIA hired me in spite of my recent history as a crabby media blogger.  As you know, the woman hiring me has famously said “TV news stinks.”  Ellen Crooke and I agree about a lot of things, and I’m a fan of hers.  I’m sure we’ll also disagree a time or two.

Will I cover an apartment fire, ever?  Quite probably.  I’m OK with it.  I hope you’re watching when it happens.  If not, I’ll find a link and put on on this blog.

So here’s the buried lede:  This blog is gonna have to change.

As a staff reporter at WXIA, I will no longer be able to write about my competitors the way I’ve been able to do as a somewhat dispassionate outsider / former insider.  I can’t bust their chops; it would be unseemly for WXIA to have on its payroll a guy who blogs about stuff that WXIA’s competitors have botched.  Wendy Saltzman got my last kid-gloved swipe, God love her (though I’ve still got a couple of posts squirreled away that I’ll publish prior to the start of my employment at WXIA).

Likewise, it would be equally unsettling for my new co-workers at WXIA to walk the hallways wondering if that snarky blogger is gonna publicly talk sh#t about stuff that happened in the workplace.  They’re entitled to know that won’t happen.  It won’t happen.

I intend to continue to blog about my experiences at WXIA.  My hope is that it will remain an honest examination of life as a (resurrected) TV newsman.  I intend that LAF will remain a somewhat enlightening site.

Likewise, LAF will hopefully continue to deliver media critiques from writers like CB Hackworth.  Anybody else want in?  Contact me.  (Got a story idea for WXIA?  Contact me.)

My video production company is still in business, btw.  It’s a happy side-effect to the part-time nature of my new employment.  TomorrowVision Media is paying LAF readers decent referral fees for video projects.  We’re serious.  We love paying referral fees.  Come get yours.

Meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends on the street.  I’m also looking forward to encountering folks whose work may have met an unfavorable review or two on this site.  If Adam Murphy makes bunny-ears behind my head during a live shot, I wouldn’t blame him.

Speaking of burying the lede:  I’m gonna be a “multi-media journalist.”  Read:  Backpack journalist.  Yep.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized 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.

42 thoughts on “Burying the lede

  1. Dash Riptide

    Congrats. It will be good to see you on the air again. So does this mean you’ll be turning in your Flip camera?

    I kid.

    Did you notice that this was also Amanda Rosseter’s last day on the air at WSB? Doing PR for St. Joseph’s or somesuch. They put a very amicable face on it, but it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that she’s jumping ship because she doesn’t see the future she hoped for in TV news. Perspective is everything, I guess.

  2. Steve Schwaid

    Best of luck. Looking forward to seeing you out there on THE snow day of the year with your meassuring ruler on a Sunday afternoon hoping people have enoigh milk, eggs and bread to make it through the two inch Atlanta blizzard.

  3. DM

    Congrats Doug! So would you say that the blog assisted in being rehired? Because that would be a success story in itself!

  4. longgone.

    the best of luck man… the video production business is brutal at the moment. I’ve always been a fan… even when the shared the same newsroom. I’m glad I’ll be able to see your mind at work again….

  5. Jim


    Best of luck to you, and thanks for the insights you’ve shared on this blog.

    And thanks to the folks at WXIA for putting you back where you belong-in front of a camera.

    As for the whole backpack VJ thing, maybe you can shadow Julie for a day or two:-) Only partially kidding, I know a lot of fancycam shooters who could learn a thing or three from her.

    Not sure if WSB sees it coming, but WXIA is setting up a much, much stronger connection with it’s audience. If you look at newspapers, the ones that are dying are the big ones (AJC) that have foresaken their community based stories, going instead from one shooting to the next. People do expect to see crime coverage, but it should not “own” the newscast.

    By including more general assignment “folksy” stuff, they’re reeling in an audience that’s been largely ignored. While you’re there, watch the feedback that Valerie Hoff gets from her VALues stories.

    1. Jack Buzz

      If WXIA is reeling in an audience, why do their ratings continue to free-fall?

      Doug, best of luck. I wish you well.

  6. nooozeguy

    Good luck Doug!

    I’m going to miss getting your updates on life inside local TV news.

    Maybe you can get a(nother) pen name?

    Looking forward to triple team coverage of Braves’ game previews!


  7. Andy Funk

    Doug, sounds like a good gig for you – congratulations! I hope you’ll be able to do a lot of feature reporting, like you used to do for WAGA’s 10pm. I always thought that work of yours deserved a far wider audience. Best of luck!

  8. CB Hackworth

    I am rapidly becoming a fan of Ellen Crooke, and this is just further evidence of her competence.

    WXIA, a station I still love from my years there, is making some good moves…

  9. Pingback: Local blogger of Live Apartment Fire goes back to TV broadcasting on WXIA-TV | Radio & TV Talk

  10. Don B

    Back to the DARK SIDE….The sound of the scanners…It’s a Hard thing to stay away from.. …….Do some stories for the best anchor in the city, Jill Becker’s morning show….

  11. Kay Flowers

    Wow. Great news Doug. If it were me, I’d take the suggestion of hanging with Julie for a day. She’s a-mazing! I’m looking forward to seeing your work again. Tell everyone I said “hey”.

  12. Dirty Laundry

    “Break A Leg” Doug!!! I hope you’ll be able to be a good influence over there. I am truly going to miss LAF as it stands now, but will also look forward to it’s transformation as you begin your newest news journey.
    All the best to you.

  13. mike daly

    I tired to teach Doug how to shoot over the last few months. It didn’t work…he already knew how. Good luck and can’t wait to see you stuff on the air.

  14. JimATL

    Just make sure to give a knowing wink at that first “live apartment fire” you cover. We’ll understand.

    1. Jim

      “Just make sure to give a knowing wink at that first “live apartment fire” you cover. We’ll understand.”

      LOVE IT!!!

  15. Element

    Happy for you Doug! This market needs more (or one) quality storytellers like you. I’ll look forward to seeing you on the streets.

  16. Icarus


    I miss a few days and you go corporate?

    Kidding aside, I’m happy that at least one blogger is employable, and based on what you’ve been writing about WXIA lately, it sounds like a good fit.

    Best of luck, and more importantly, much happiness in your new role.

  17. Pingback: BREAKING NEWS! Bloggers are Employable!?! — Peach Pundit

  18. chuck

    congrats – it will be good to see you back on the air. i’m actually one of the remaining wxia loyalists and i was commenting last night how their rotation of reporters seemingly had shrunk down to a half-dozen.

  19. scott hedeen

    seems the song from the “welcome back kotter” tv show is playing some where out in vacuum that is news space. has the fire finally been put out?

  20. cityjock

    congratulations!! a part-time gig offered by the nd? does it get any better than that?
    otherwise, willingly pursuing a career with gannett is f-ing suicide.

    best of luck!

  21. Alan Hand

    Can’t wait to see you on the streets Doug. I’m sure it will be an apartment fire! Good luck and watch out for the elbows!

  22. LBJ

    Awwww Jeeeezzzz, where am I going to have an audience making occasional smart ass remarks about media? Seriously, congrats on the new job. I’ll wave as I drive by every day on Monroe. Is there any connection to the co-location of the studios and the Red Cross? Don’t they both suck your blood?

  23. Brian

    I look at the top picture and all i can think is “My parents had that same type of fan in the 80s! I’m a very complicated individual.

  24. Newman

    I hate it when people put the financial stability of their family ahead of our need to keep up on Atlanta tv news!

    Congrats to WXIA on a great hire….good luck Doug!


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