Stalking Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen with WXIA's Jaye Watson, 4.21.11

Charlie Sheen was in town.  It got Big Deal treatment from WXIA and competing Atlanta TV stations.

Prior to his stage show at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, Jaye Watson and photog David Brooks found Sheen at Georgia Tech’s ballpark, where Sheen was taking BP with Tech’s baseball players.  It turned out to be the scoop of the day.

I didn’t actually see Watson roll her eyes when she got assigned to Sheenwatch Thursday dayside.  The show was a nightside story.  We knew Sheen was in town.  He’d done a radio interview.  Watson figured out that a local strip club was doing some kind of Sheen lookalike contest.  She pondered interviewing a stripper.  It was thin gruel.

Our laughably young and arguably brilliant Manager of Content, Ben Mayer, began noodling around the internet.  He searched Sheen’s name, plus “Atlanta” on Twitter.  A post emerged that said:  At a secret location right now. Watching Charlie Sheen play baseball.  It was written by a WGST radio talk show host named Rusty Humphries.

From Humphries' tweet

Mayer continued to noodle, and found that Humphries had included a geotagging component in his posts.  The geotag didn’t emerge until Mayer clicked the Tweet, which showed a map, plus longitude and latitude.  It put the post at I-75/85 and roughly 7th Street.  Mayer looked at the map, and saw Russ Chandler Stadium about two blocks to the southwest.  He called Watson.

She and Brooks showed up at  the stadium and heard the sounds of batting practice.  They walked toward the dugout.  A Georgia Tech Sports Information PIO intercepted them and told them they had to leave.  He escorted them to the gate, and locked them out.

Watson asked him if Charlie Sheen was there.  He said he wasn’t.

But the behavior was sketchy.  If Sheen’s not here, why can’t we watch batting practice?  The PIO began belittling the crew for showing up there based on a Tweet.

Sheen's fan base

Once outside the gate, a Tech security guard showed up.  The guard confirmed what the PIO wouldn’t:  He was there to keep the Sheen BP orderly.  Watson and Brooks waited with the guard for an hour.  Thanks to Twitter and text messages, the crowd outside the gate grew.  It included a gaggle of female admirers who wanted to invite Sheen to their sorority party that night.

Sheen came to the gate, and Watson’s interview with him was very casual, yet newsy and appropriate to the occasion.  If she was tempted to lapse into Sheen-speak, questioning him about tiger blood and such, she completely resisted.  She let the Sheen weirdness emerge naturally.  To my knowledge, it was his only Atlanta TV interview that day.  The raw interview is embedded below.

As Watson and Brooks departed Russ Chandler Stadium, the obfuscatory Tech PIO said:  Well, it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?

No thanks to you, pal.   Georgia Tech Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations Dean Buchan, who gave a first-hand account of Sheen’s BP heroics to the AJC, did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Users of Twitter may wish to check their preferences and see if they’re geotagging, especially when tweeting about “secret” locations.  The rest of us can ponder why any PIO would feel compelled to dissemble in order to provide cover for a man who clearly craves media attention.

The good news:  WGST is apparently paying local talk show hosts again.  And Watson, who’s much better known for her thoughtful writing and storytelling skills, is a hell of a tabloid reporter.  Especially with Mayer’s help.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Charlie Sheen with Jaye Watson, WXIA, posted with vodpod

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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.

12 thoughts on “Stalking Charlie Sheen

  1. JimmyD

    Now there’s a PIO who knows how to do his job. NOT!
    It’s public INformation, not DISinformation officer.
    Sorry, but PIO’s who flat out lie are a sore spot with me.

    This person showed more loyalty to an out of town celebrity in a tailspin than he did to the hometown media folks. This becomes even more obnoxious when you consider there was already a radio reporter there Tweeting from the practice.

    Next time Tech has something they really want covered that doesn’t quite make it to the level of deserving coverage, I hope nobody shows up.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Clark

    Once again, I find myself grateful that my stint as the “Entertainment” reporter at WAGA-TV predated the technology of Tweets and tags. Back in 1990, Frank Sinatra was in town. Our news director (whose relative youth and brilliance shall go unexplored in this context) was hell-bent on me tracking down the Chairman of the Board for an ambush interview for the 5p newscast. I guess he never saw The Godfather, but I digress. In those days, pretty much anybody who was a somebody visiting Atlanta stayed at the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton … especially if they were playing a gig that night at Chastain Park … but nary a soul on the well-trained staff would utter a syllable of confirmation or denial. It was as though I were attending “Hogan’s Heroes-Con” and EVERYONE came as Sergeant Shultz. They knew nothing! I was pretty much down to sifting through the contents of waste baskets for toenail clippings and possible DNA proof when my incessantly chirping beeper went off again and I was summoned back to home base to cover some other breaking entertainment emergency. Roseanne scratching her crotch or somebody else claiming to have home video of Rob Lowe … I can’t remember anymore. But I am certain that if there’d been a geo-tag for Ol’ Blue Eyes at the Ritz, I might be there yet. Kudos to you Jaye … and boy am I glad that’s not MY job anymore!

    Reply
  3. Grayson

    Hope you showered after writing this filthy nonsense. Esp. afterwards stalking Cash Only Campbell too. Jeez Doug. Sometimes I wonder about you.

    Reply
  4. Mike Daly

    This speaks to a lot of things:
    #1 Ga Tech Public Relations in Athletics has not changed a bit. The PIO lied. I don’t recall a case of them telling lies before. It’s just strange that with successful athletic program, they are the worst in the area when it comes to their PR.
    #2 Social Media is a force to be reckoned with and a tool for coverage. (He said, preaching to the choir.)Ben mayer has embraced this and is helping his team.
    #3 Jaye Watson re-confirms, once again, that she is a talented reporter and story teller.
    #4 David, way to hang in there.

    Reply
    1. live apt fire Post author

      Nobody I know. In fact, this story kind of demonstrates that many of the highest-interest stories are the least award-worthy. I suspect Watson, Brooks, Mayer et al would agree.

      Reply
  5. torpedo of truth tweeter

    How does this story help anyone? Is that not what 11Alive is all about these days? Doing segments which help people instead of the “same old boring news?” Or has that gone in the trash along with 11’s ratings?

    Reply

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