Category Archives: centers anissa

Graveyard shift

Ask Anissa Centers about the glamor of TV news. Saturday, Centers showed up for the 3am shift at WSB. Her job: To slog through WSB’s three hours of morning news, which airs from 6-9am Saturday. Do any real people anybody actually watch this program? The answer is: Just enough, and just enough for WXIA and WAGA to run their own local news blocks in roughly the same time period.

We’ve never met Centers, but we assume that her career began with much promise. She probably got into journalism for all the right reasons. She probably chose TV because research has shown most folks depend on it for news. And TV liked her enough to advance her career into a top ten market, Atlanta.

And now she’s on the graveyard of all graveyard shifts, doing the wee-hours on the weekend.

(Her story may only be exceeded by Catherine Kim. Kim worked WXIA’s version of the same shift Saturday. But unlike Centers, Kim is a “backpack journalist,” WXIA’s unfortunate labor-saving experiment. So even when Kim works a normal shift, she has to shoot and edit her own material, as well as report and drive to her stories.)

Centers and Kim are playing dues-paying, low-man-on-the-totem-pole roles. If the graveyard shift has sapped Centers’ spirit, she doesn’t show it on TV. Saturday, she performed six live shots about a gambling raid that had taken place the previous day (and apparently covered by another WSB reporter) at a DeKalb game room. She energetically delivered each report, despite the obvious tedium of her assignment.

Channel Two Action News Saturday AM, by the numbers:

  • Three hours on the air, from 6am to 9am.
  • Three on-air talent for the entire broadcast: Centers, anchor Amanda Rosseter, and weather guy Brad Nitz.
  • Sixteen weather teases or weather reports.
  • Sixteen recycled reporter packages from previous newscasts.
  • Six live shots by Centers.
  • Six times Rosseter used variations of the phrase “only channel two cameras were rolling” while teasing or pitching to Centers’ live shots.
  • Two times Centers used the phrase “officers say this is where they hit the jackpot” during a live shot on the gambling raid, showing, we thought, remarkable restraint.

“I wish I were smarter.”

Each Atlanta TV station posts short biographies of its news personnel on their web sites. The bios are usually filled with data about awards and college degrees. Some offer the occasionally-surprising nugget. We learn that WGCL’s Rebekkah Schramm has been a broadcaster since age 15. We learn that WSB’s Anissa Centers was a bone marrow donor. We learn that WSB’s Jeff Dore took out the trash at his first TV station and is the author of an unpublished novel.

Most bios are mind-numbingly similar. They tout the humble beginnings and family values of their subjects. They list resume highlights, awards and volunteer work. There are 42 of them on WSB’s site alone. We’ve perused a fraction of them.

Without question, the best bio we’ve seen is on Dana Fowle’s WAGA blog. Fowle writes “I’m generally disheveled and have a messy car… I also love red wine, rare steak, dark chocolate and strong coffee. I’m Type A, so of course, I wish I were smarter.” This is especially funny, given that Fowle is one of those scary-smart people.

The bio is the best part of Fowle’s blog. She hasn’t updated it in more than a month.

Dale Russell’s blog bio is a close second to that of Fowle, his I-team colleague: “My desk is a mess. I don’t smoke. I do drink. I have a politically incorrect sense of humor and a little problem with authority. (I’m working on that) And, I never get my expense reports in on time.”

Our least favorite bio belongs to WAGA’s Tom Haynes, which starts thusly: “Credibility, experience and a bit of an edge; that pretty much sums up Tom Haynes…” This is especially icky because it’s obvious Haynes wrote it himself. He goes on to tout his “journalistic expertise” and his position “front and center in FOX 5’s new, innovative and interactive newscast.” His bombast is almost Burgundyesque.

The journalistically-expert Haynes could learn a thing or two about humility from some of his colleagues.