Three reasons to love the Atlanta media

I find “the Real Housewives of Atlanta” to be mostly annoying.   Yet when the missus puts it on TV, it becomes a distraction because the locale is so familiar.  Just as I’m averting my eyes from the irritating dialogue and the concocted plot lines, I’ll spot a landmark.  As I’m rolling my eyes at the catty drama, I’ll see a face I know from the news business.  When I learn that “celebrity stylist” Dwight Eubanks, one of the only appealing characters on the show, lives in a modest house near mine, I’m somewhat intrigued.

Among other TV viewers, the show is wildly popular.  With that background, here’s reason number one to love the Atlanta media.

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The "housewife": Kandi Burruss

When I covered a V103 mayoral debate Tuesday, I noted the presence of Kandi Burruss in the audience.  She’s a “Housewife.”  She was also engaged to a man who was killed in a bar fight a few weeks ago.  The man had appeared in the show.  It was a big story locally because of the TV show.  Burruss, best I could recall, had never spoken to the media about the killing.

“Oh, swell,” I’m thinking.  The mayoral debate hadn’t begun.  Yet I’m picturing the assembled TV folk bum-rushing Burruss for the “get” that has mostly eluded us since the killing.  Because I was the first TV reporter to show up, I saw Burruss take a seat in the “celeb” section of the debate audience. Maybe my competitors wouldn’t notice her, I was hoping.  I wanted to cover the debate, not Burruss.

But they noticed.  Burruss was called upon to ask a question during the debate.  Yet when it ended two hours later, the TV folk rushed the stage to question the candidates and not Burruss.

This was a beautiful thing.  Best I can tell, no TV reporters colluded to ignore Burruss afterward.  We just did it — probably because we like covering politics and hardly anybody liked covering the Burruss murder story.

mary norwood

The frontrunner: Mary Norwood

Reason two: During the debate, a questioner asked the candidates about whether they’d ever paid for an endorsement.  All six candidates answered “no,” including frontrunner Mary Norwood.   Days earlier, Norwood had been endorsed by career pol “Able” Mabel Thomas.  When asked if she’d been paid or hired by the Norwood campaign, Thomas dodged the question.  So talk of Thomas’s endorsement, and the Norwood campaign’s alleged willingness to pay for it, has been a minor campaign issue.

Following that question, the debate took a break (for weather, traffic and commercials, presumably.  It aired live on V103 during morning drive).

During the break, a man wearing a Lisa Borders shirt stood and began shouting at the stage.  The room was already noisy, so it was less disruptive than it sounds; but he was persistent, finger-pointing and accusatory.  He was calling BS on Norwood’s answer to the “paid endorsement” question.  Norwood and the other candidates ignored the man, spending the commercial break onstage checking their Blackberrys and such.

Two police officers entered the room.  The first pointed to the man and waved him toward the exit.  The man immediately started walking as directed.  A second officer approached him and escorted him.  The man continued his loud chatter, but cooperated fully with the cops.

The TV cameras ignored it.  This, too, was a beautiful thing.

Debate hecklers have a long and glorious history of becoming the “lead” of a debate story.  It happened frequently during the 2008 presidential election.  I always found it annoying.  Why give an attention-seeking gadfly the spotlight for being a jerk?  It was a pleasure to pretend this incident never happened.

doug richards, alan hand

The blogger with Alan Hand, WSB

Reason number three: WSB photog Alan Hand, who has been covering the Mayor’s race for WSB.  He hypothesizes that my presence at WXIA foretells a Shuleresque employment tour through Atlanta TV shops.   He offered a try-it-on-for-size prop.  I accepted only for self-amusement.  Hand is a great American.  But I sneer at his employer, because I’m competitive like that.

The reporter accompanying him was horrified that Hand’s antics might result in a mention of her name in this blog.

Almost.  But not quite.

Bonus: Click here for  one reason to love the Sacramento media, a KXTV reporter named Dave Marquis, and a photog named Damian Espinoza.  (It’s embeddable, but for some reason it wouldn’t wait for the reader to click “play.”  Thanks to PK for pointing this out).

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This entry was posted in hand alan, WSB, WXIA 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.

10 thoughts on “Three reasons to love the Atlanta media

  1. longgone

    Shuleresque employment tour… love it… (some inside baseball for all you youngsters..)
    Does this mean you’ll be trying a kilt next??

    Reply
  2. arky

    Thanks for the info. Just as you can’t prove a negative, it’s hard for journos to get credit for the lousy low-hanging fruit they choose *not* to take. I’ve encountered lots of people who are genuinely shocked to learn that we don’t report suicides, or that we don’t immediately rush to air with any scurrilous accusation someone phones in.

    Reply
  3. Newman

    I got an angry email the other day that we didn’t report a car wreck….wanted to answer with “But sir…..it was a car wreck” but I passed.

    Reply
  4. 2video

    Obviously, Shuler Doesn’t look at this website! Or he would have contacted you or me by now. This may mean I won’t get invited to his lake house anymore.

    Reply
  5. shuler, jim ( SHU )

    “Shuleresque”.. That’s the nicest thing a colleague ever said about me that didn’t have expletives attached at either end.
    Doug’s just getting started in the Atlanta market “reporter exchange program”.. I did my 4 years at WSB, 6 years at WAGA and 7 years at 11 Alive.. A certain State Patrol Colonel once told me my resume sounded more like a rap sheet than a TV career..
    Groucho Marx bragged he did.. “10 years at Levenworth, 11 years at ten-worth, and five-and-ten at Woolworth.” So Doug has a lot of catching up to do. I left local news because they discouraged the kilt at work. (Maybe there’s an opening to cover live apartment fires in Edinborough).
    SHU

    Reply
  6. JB

    Alan Hand is a great American…and a damn nice guy. Thanks for recognizing the talents behind the lens as well as in front of it!

    Reply

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