Amanda Rosseter, WSB
Finally, a local TV station has produced a truly compelling story with an interesting snapshot of the subprime mortgage mess. Amanda Rosseter put a piece on WSB which focused on a recent home sale that got tossed out in court. The reason: The home seller’s mortgage was being paid, at least on paper, by a six-year-old girl.
The story was multi-faceted but well-told. Rosseter interviewed the woman who moved into, then was forced to move back out of the Roswell home. She identified the bad guy as the real estate agent. He allegedly cooked up the scheme that put the toddler’s name on the official papers four years ago, when the seller first purchased the home.
Turns out the toddler’s parents are illegal / undocumented immigrants. But since the girl was born in the US, she was the only family member with the social security number required for the mortgage paperwork. Rosseter reports the father paid the mortgage faithfully. She also says he’s now getting deported.
WSB sent Rosseter to Puerto Rico to hunt down the real estate agent. She came back with a standup and some b-roll, but no confrontation with the slippery realtor. Good thing Cox has cash coming out its ears, huh.
Rosseter did a good job of keeping the “illegal alien” part of the story in proper perspective. But WSB couldn’t help itself, trumpeting that hot-button element in its lead-in and teases. It was the only misstep in an otherwise solid story that wasn’t easy to tell. Grade: A-
It would be awfully easy to write something snarky about WSB’s special report Tuesday about a web site that offers free breast implants to women. One could certainly chide WSB for promoting the piece throughout its 5pm news, then airing it 45 minutes into the broadcast. One could use the word “exploitative” to describe WSB’s treatment of the story, just as anchor Jovita Moore used the same word to describe the site.
But the content of the story was interesting and troubling and newsworthy enough. Amanda Rosseter’s story outlined the simple premise of the site: Ladies, send us photos of yourselves– in whatever state of undress that makes you comfortable– and gross dudes can click on your profile and make donations for breast augmentation surgery. The owners of the site are in California. The on-camera interview with one of them appeared to be the work of another TV station (showing how great minds think alike for the May sweeps). Rosseter told the stories of two local women who signed up. There was the whiff of outrage in her coverage, but it was adequately balanced. This story won’t go on Rosseter’s “career highlights” reel. But she did well with a subject that could have been easily mishandled.
The site is grudgingly an American free-enterprise success story. The women using it are adults, near as we can tell. One could argue that this is about somewhat-normal women turning the tables on web-surfing pervs. Our only criticism of Rosseter’s story: Couldn’t she find somebody other than the predictable and polarizing Sadie Fields, ex-leader of the Georgia Christian Coalition, to be the main critic? Guess not.
“Classic Winne” may be a fit description for the live shot Mark Winne performed to lead WSB’s 6pm news Monday. He stood in front of DeKalb’s police headquarters, holding a live taser pistol. We know the pistol was live because we saw Winne pulling the trigger, and saw the sparks emanating from it. Thankfully, Winne didn’t assume a Charlie’s Angels-style pose while doing so. But it was close enough– the buzzing from the taser, the sparks flying, while Winne delivered his material in “classic Winne” melodrama. The story? An “exclusive” interview with DeKalb’s police chief, saying he’d like to arm his cops with tasers. Not bad, not great. But the campy live shot gave the material, shall way say, an added Winne-style jolt. Would I have done the same thing? Absolutely.
Two other stories were noteworthy in WSB’s 6: Amanda Rosseter took the slow plane ride to China with Gov. Perdue on Delta’s inaugural flight to Shanghai. The guv’s people were doubtless tickled pink to have an opportunity to make their drawling, Sunday-beer-sales-opposing guy look like a jet-setter. Delta got a couple of minutes of free advertising for the airline’s newest route. Did WSB buy tickets for that flight? Take a wild guess. WSB apparently doesn’t consider its investment in this story sufficient to give it a website posting.
And deep in the show, there was a Tom Jones story about two billboards erected by Clayton Co. Sheriff Victor Hill. Hill’s election opponent complains that Hill is using Sheriff’s Office money to fund a “quality of life” billboard (“no loud music / no loitering” etc.) that looks suspiciously similar to a “re-elect Sheriff Victor Hill” billboard, funded by Hill’s campaign. Jones botched the opening live shot, trying to show a photo of one billboard while standing in front of another. The audience never got to see the photo Jones was holding. And within the package, Jones twice described the two billboards as “identical.” Similar, yes. Identical? Surely Mr. Jones knows the difference between the two words. This story isn’t on the web site either. Wonder why.