Age before beauty

164 years of awesome - photo by Ryan Young on Spink's equipment

  • From left: Alan Hand started at CBS in Atlanta in 1981, then switched to WSB;
  • John Spink started at the AJC in 1984;
  • Doug Richards started at WAGA in 1986, then upgraded to WXIA;
  • Richard Crabbe started at WXIA in 1980;
  • Bruce Mason started at WXIA in 1982;
  • Dave Darling started at WSB in 1981.

The combined experience of the News Professionals in this photo would date back to the James K. Polk administration, if one could legitimately combine such data into such an absurd and historically irrelevant conclusion. One could do that, particularly when one writes a blog that lacks the moderating influence of a sensible editor. In this case, I’ll renounce it myself.

More accurately, all these knuckleheads News Professionals managed to get themselves hired in Atlanta news during the Reagan administration (Crabbe, during the final year of Carter) and somehow managed to never leave. No wonder all those kids beating at the door to experience the Great Adventure of somewhat-large market news can’t get a foot in. These damned old guys won’t open a slot for them. Now you know who to blame.

Another old guy: J.K. Polk

Old guys (and gals) have their advantages. We’ve already successfully hurdled the “jaded and dispirited” phase of our careers, a phase that vexes many of the thirty-somethings who enter midlife asking “you mean this is my illustrious career? I had hoped for better.” We all wanted to work for 60 Minutes once. We’ve adjusted, as will they.

Sadly for those ambitious market-climbing youngsters, for every Crabbe, Hand, and Spink et al, there are another five Spradlins, Ashes, Bevelles, Belchers and Crawleys. So the clog in the pipeline is thick — but it’s getting grayer and craggier.

But it’s all relative. I agreed to pose with these News Professionals because I knew I could say I was the least senior of the bunch. It’s a curious way to cling to what little is left of my youth.

Why I’d want to do that, I don’t know.

This entry was posted in LAF 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.

14 thoughts on “Age before beauty

  1. Russj

    Say hey to all those bums…

    It’s been along time since I’ve seen them… and altogether.

    I dropped in at WAGA in the fall of 1981… yea, thought I might work for 60 Minutes… or really, with Charles Kuralt on Sunday Morning.

    And I remember when you showed up one morning fresh-faced and nervous at WAGA. You’ve done very well.


  2. Lisa Clark

    Tsk, tsk Doug! If you’re invoking Polk, then I’ll remind you of the late, great Dorothy Parker’s comeback to the fresh young thing who held open a door for her and gaily said “age before beauty!” Parker smiled, sailed past and acidly retorted “Pearls before swine!”

  3. English Major

    Well-done, and congratulations for sticking it out! My husband just observed his 30-year anniversary at one of the local affiliates. Station management did not acknowledge it in any way. Good thing he doesn’t care. Wish I didn’t.

  4. Alan Hand

    Well, I actually did one story for 60 Minutes and one story for Charles Kuralt when I was with CBS. Those were truly the good old days when the networks had money! My, how time has changed things and me!

  5. WonkaCronkite

    You oldsters have great writing skills and sources… as well as unsurpassed market knowledge. However I know some youngsters who may be pushing a few seasoned vets out the door once NDs start comparing MMJ skills.

  6. bruce mason

    As one of the gentlemen in this picture, I’m proud to be with these men. I have known all of them for over 25 yrs. Youngsters don’t laugh, we were once you. If you can hang in this market, make us proud.

  7. John Spink

    As another gentle (or not so gentle) gentleman in the picture – I must say what a wonderful group of shooters there are here in the ATL. I can’t ever remember having words with anyone here locally. Everyone here has always been professional and friendly. The guys in the group here are particularly impressive. Their work continues to be the best around! We’re always so busy at these scenes – I’m glad we found the time to make the picture! I just don’t understand why they keep referring to us as the “Silverbacks’ ……….. weren’t they in all in the mist? And what does Dian Fossey have to do J.K. Polk anyway?


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