Category Archives: mayerle


Atlanta TV news took a sudden a-block interest in politics Thursday. An imminent primary election might logically explain it, except it doesn’t.

Instead, we can thank Jesse Jackson. His whispered “cut his nuts off” remark about Barack Obama spurred an atypical lead story on WGCL’s 6pm news. The story is what producers like to call a “talker.” So Tony McNary talked to what appeared to be a random Obama supporter, then supplemented the piece with feed video. In its quest to find and hold an audience, a good ol’ fashioned castration reference may be what it takes to get WGCL to do local coverage of politics. Or, drunks and naked women. Read on.

At 6, WAGA led with a Paul Yates piece on national media reports that John McCain is considering Gov. Sonny Perdue as a possible vice president. Like McNary, Yates leaned heavily on file video. His best source was Chuck Clay of Insider Advantage, the web-based political reporting-and-polling outfit. It posted a twelve-sentence story saying that Perdue is in the top four of McCain’s VP list. Yates apparently didn’t ask Clay the obvious question: Is McCain that hard up?

The best of the bunch appeared deep in WGCL’s 4pm news. Jennifer Mayerle discovered that the owner of a strip club named Strokers is running for DeKalb County commissioner. The incumbent, Elaine Boyer, sent out a flyer headlined: “Terri Fischer’s business is getting young women to dance naked for drunk men.”

And it got better. When Mayerle interviewed Fischer, she hilariously split hairs. She claimed that a) the nude dancers at Strokers “don’t work for me. They’re independent contractors,” and b) not all the men in the club are drunk. “That’s an insult,” said the indignant strip club owner, who is now suing Boyer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with owning a strip club, which is a legal business licensed by DeKalb County. But the race is among many largely overlooked by the local media and TV in particular. Kudos to WGCL for finding an interesting local political story, and producing it well.

Comparing coverage

All four Atlanta TV stations covered an official bus tour of the city’s tornado damaged areas.  They focused on Vine City, whose residents are less protected by insurance.   What we saw:

Richard Elliott on WSB provided a very by-the-numbers look at the tour, with nothing especially memorable.  He identified tourgoer Millard Fuller,  founder of Habitat for Humanity, as an afterthought.

Clarence Reynolds on WXIA inexplicably focused on the city council members who toured the affected neighborhoods, giving them time to grandstand on camera. The audience learned little from his report.

Joanna Massee on WGCL, by far, told the best story.  With lots of “oh my gosh”-type natural sound, crisp editing and nice writing– she gave a much needed human touch to a story that was stilted and uninteresting elsewhere.  But WGCL needs to be slapped, too:  What’s the point of having Massee do a live shot after midnight (late because of basketball) in a dark neighborhood, many hours after the tour ended?   Same with Jennifer Mayerle, who was live in East Atlanta at 12:15am, fronting a story that had been shot in daylight.  Is it just me, or do most viewers cringe a little when they see such stuff?