WSB’s buildup of its newest reporter / anchor Justin Farmer is truly harrowing. The station announced his hiring in January— months before his contract with a Dallas station had expired in August. He’s already made the AJC’s Peach Buzz a couple of times, once for his coverage of Skip Caray’s funeral. Now, the new kid is covering the Republican National Convention alongside John Pruitt.
Is this guy that special? His journalistic skills seem adequate. His TV presence seems pleasant, an attractive enough cross between Huey Lewis and Howdy Doody.
His pedigree seems to be the clincher: He’s the offspring of Don Farmer, a guy who helped launch CNN and became a nighttime anchor at WSB. From 1990:
Justin Farmer may know Georgia well enough to distinguish Hahira from Hepzibah. He went to high school here before striking out into the world as a TV guy. His first job was in Albany GA. He’s paid some dues.
Yet of the Georgia reporters covering the RNC, Farmer had to have the least familiarity with the folks seated in the state delegation. Does it matter? Probably not. WSB’s coverage has kept pace with and occasionally exceeded that of veteran political reporter Paul Yates of WAGA. At one point, Pruitt and a photog apparently stumbled into Bob Barr outside a St. Paul restaurant. Pruitt’s report on Barr’s Libertarian candidacy (and Newt Gingrich’s advice: “Get out”) was the best piece we’ve seen from the St. Paul conclave.
Farmer’s mile-high profile points to the likelihood that WSB is grooming him to replace Pruitt eventually. When that happens— and Jovita Moore joins him— we’d like to see WSB make this leap into the 21st century: Quit calling it “Action News.”