Category Archives: leslie

Barbie Bandits

Everybody covered the sentencing of the “barbie bandits” yesterday. All four stations have the stories on their web sites. The story sells. Every station had the same video– mug shots, courtroom, file tape. The difference was in the style of the storytellers.

The best was Ross Cavitt on WSB. Cavitt grasped what made the story different and ran with it: The fact that the suspects were former “exotic dancers,” as he put it. The fact that it was an inside job. The fact that various co-defendants ratted each other out. He laid it out efficiently and with just enough snark in his delivery to signal the audience that he was letting them in on a story that was ridiculous from beginning to end.

On WGCL, Rebekka Schramm was almost as good as Cavitt. She had the same tone as Cavitt and covered the same highlights. She overreached a bit, though, by opening her package with an awkward line about the defendants “looking more like Barbie dolls.” A subtler touch would have been better. But Schramm and Cavitt both had the right idea: Show the viewers why this garden-variety bank robbery sentencing was worth your time, and theirs.

WXIA’s Jennifer Leslie and WAGA’s Darryl Carver had solid facts and pictures, but both told the story without much style. At 10pm, Carver never mentioned that the defendants were former strippers. Maybe the fact seemed sensational. But hey– that’s the whole reason TV covered this story to begin with. Might as well have fun with it.

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Downtown tornado

  • TV stations love to overreact to weather, treating every fallen tree limb as if it’s armageddon.  Last night, they got it right.  Some got it more right than others.  
  • Through 8am, it appeared WSB’s coverage was tops.  2 had interior footage of the CNN Center and Dome (as did WXIA).  Jim Strickland’s overnight package on the Fulton Mill Lofts damage was terrific.  And of all the TV reporters who were on scene at dawn, you know that Ross Cavitt was the first (and perhaps only) one to actually volunteer to be there.
  • If WAGA had the interiors that WSB had, I didn’t see them.  Tony Thomas stayed up all night downtown (and also may have volunteered) and did nice live shots, but his pictures and interviews were a bit middling– possibly because he was rarely untethered from his live camera.  It was fun to watch WAGA call in Dana Fowle, Cheryl White and Ken Cook to co-anchor the little-watched Saturday morning news.  And they called in Randy Travis to play catch-up to Strickland’s coverage in Cabbagetown.  Yet by noon, it appeared WAGA was still out to lunch on the story at the Fulton Mill Lofts, which was chock-full of residents when the tornado hit.
  • WXIA’s Jennifer Leslie, holding up a hand during a live shot to stop traffic on Butler St. while she crossed, had the Edgewood Ave. damage to herself.  Kudos to the motorist who let Jennifer and her photog cross.
  • WGCL showed cartoons in the morning.  And at noon, it showed a basketball game.