And So It Is Done: An Exhausting, Emotional Murder Trial Ends

Zach Adams SentencingA young man walked out of a West Tennessee courtroom on the morning of September 23, 2017.  In a matter of three minutes, Zach Adams learned that, barring a legal reprieve, he will never again walk a step as a free man.

For a family, friends and community acquaintances, six and a half years of waiting are over.  Twelve days of draining testimony, deliberation and sentencing are at an end.

For reporters, videographers, digital still photographers, producers and assorted support personnel, the job was not altogether over but—-after two weeks of grueling and exhausting activity—-the finish line was near.

Many of the journalists reporting for television stations across Tennessee were under the age of 30.  For some, this was their first experience covering a high-profile murder trial with regional and even some national interest.  In that group were some who had never reported on a case in which a defendant’s life was on the line.

The abduction of Holly Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student at University of Holly BoboTennessee-Martin, in April 2011 did not suggest a good ending.  Within days, more than a thousand people gathered in the small Decatur County, Tn., town of Parsons as an impromptu search party.  They combed woods, garages, back roads and even church yards in the hopes of finding her alive.  Their hopes were not realized.

Reporters in Memphis, Nashville, Jackson and even hosts of some of the national cable crime shows did their own investigations.  Most of the stories were speculations, what-ifs, or maybes.  For nearly three and a half years, the Holly Bobo case appeared to be a mystery that may never be solved.

Mark Guin

I was in my Union University Jackson 24-7 control room on a Monday night in September 2014 awaiting the appearance of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director Mark Guin.  Three minutes after he assumed the podium, Guin delivered the news everyone feared.  The remains of Holly Bobo had been found.  A distinctively audible gasp was heard in the media room.

Zach Adams 3Eventually, six men were arrested in connection with the Bobo tragedy.  Four—-Zach Adams, his brother Dylan, Shayne Austin and Jason Autry—were all charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, rape and/or murder.  Austin took his own life in a hotel room in Florida before facing a jury.

For the Bobo family, the discovery of remains was only the first step toward closure.  Three and a half years of grief and hoping against hope for a miracle were over.  The next step would be to endure the testimony of a painful and emotional trial.  

I knew that for reporters and videographers and their associates, that trial may well be the biggest story of their young careers.  Those days in court would not be the biggest in the respect of career-altering stories, but in the demands to be right and maintain balance—-because more people would probably be watching their reports with intense interest than any they had previously delivered.

Some viewers who have a lemon juice view of journalists frequently go to the attack during a trial.  I know.  I covered 16 murder or violent crime trials during my years in the newsroom.  Sensational, melodramatic, or biased are among the kindest words I heard from critics.  One newspaper columnist in a city where I was a broadcast reporter chose to rip me about my use of the word “landmark” in stories on a 1977 that was the first of its kind in our state.  He perceived my use of the word as part of my “trademark sensationalism.”  

Part of the reason I used the word “landmark” was simple.  The case was the first in which cameras were allowed in the courtroom in Georgia.  Judge John Land, once profiled in a national magazine as “The Hanging Judge,” also enjoyed the limelight.  He was more than pleased to receive the publicity for being a pioneer in allowing broadcast journalists to use the tools of their trade.  Shortly before the final day of that trial, the judge stepped back to ask reporters how everything was going.  Said Judge Land:  “I guess I better get ready to go into the studio.”

Fast forward 40 years.  Reporters from throughout the state of Tennessee and some from neighboring areas watched and told stories over 12 days of testimony that was often nauseating to hear.  Virtually every station and Law Newz Network were streaming the trial live.  None of those reporters had a frame of reference to the transformation of 1977 when a Sony TK-76 camera manned by Lee Davis provided pool coverage to a group of reporters taking VTR meter times outside a courtroom for the first time.  Their tools of today are commonplace.

Chirs ConteI watched outstanding work from some brilliant young journalists who faced the pressures of delivering Facebook and Twitter updates as well as their own live or streaming reports.  Chris Conte of WTVF in Nashville offered an easy-to-understand description of what the options were for sentencing after Adams’ conviction.  The day after the sentencing, Conte was right back in the air reporting on the tragic mass shooting at a Church of Christ in Antioch, Tn.  Bridget ChapmanBridget Chapman of WREG in Memphis provided straightforward reports without unnecessarily charged or melodramatic words.  Our own crime reporter from The Jackson Sun, Maranda FarisMaranda Faris, and her colleague Kenny Cummings were on their A-game.  Maranda was clicking Twitter snippets seemingly every 40 seconds.  Kenny’s still photography captured the essence of emotion in the exhausting dozen days.

In every trial, you have selected moments of testimony that provide choice soundbites.  None measured up to sentencing day when Karen Bobo, mother of the young victim, looked Adams squarely in the eye and said, “I know my daughter begged for her life, because she loved and enjoyed life….but you took it from her….and you have shown absolutely no remorse for anything you’ve done.”  Without a doubt, I knew that would be the signature moment that would stand out from 12 days in a small Mid-South county.  Indeed, those words were repeated over and over Saturday evening and Sunday on the state’s television newscasts.

An intangible to covering trials is they are often physically and mentally draining.  Hour after hour of testimony, some technical in nature and others emotional, can wear down even the most youthful reporter’s stamina.  In the Adams trial, listening to repeated graphic descriptions of individual perceptions of what happened the day of her death can take a toll of absorption.  Without doubt, some of the media needed a second and third wind to revive their concentration skills.

In my days as a news director, I recognized three types of stories that would make me vulnerable to losing personnel.  One is a major weather disaster.  In 1984, I lost five reporters in four months to bigger outlets than Wilmington, N.C., because their work was seen during Hurricane Diana.  Another is a man-made disaster.  I lost two more top-level journalists in 1986 after their coverage of a 78,000-acre fire over a period of 10 days.  The third type of story is a high-profile trial.  The skill required to summarize hours of testimony into digestible reports and communicate that information in non-legalese to viewers is not everyone’s talent.  I saw several examples of quality work during the Adams case that would be attractive to news directors in larger markets.

My students and I followed this case for its entirety for our Jackson 24-7 daily cable newscast.  At times, millennials can be indifferent to complex stories.  In the case of the Adams trial, I watched as my student reporters and anchors were captivated by specific moments of testimony.  Equally, I was heartened by the numbers of questions they asked to better understand the legal process.  They even learned a lesson that is not in a textbook.  When Thursday’s closing arguments, which we were carrying live, ran over into our regular noon news time, we did not go on but stayed with the trial.  We even had to cancel two second-half interview segments.  As I told them, “When you are following a live continuing story that you know will irritate viewers if you step away from it, you stay with that story.”

One of the other lessons I tried to impart in my role as The Old TV News Coach was one of heart and restraint.  I told more than one of my students that in a trial, a defendant may be more obviously guilty than knowing algae is in pond water turned green.  Yet, one has to keep emotions or language from in any way becoming a reporter-determined verdict rather than a jury-determined decision.  Likewise, I told them you always need to remember that the family of a victim is likely having hearts broken again over hearing painful stories dredged up of what caused their loved one’s death.  I added this:  if they are kind enough to consent to an interview after a trial, be sensitive with how you ask questions.  If they do not want to talk because to do so would be too difficult, respect that.

The Adams trial took me back in more ways than one to those four days in Muscogee County Superior Court 40 years ago.  In that case, a lovely and much-beloved church choir director who had what was describe as perfect pitch, was senselessly kidnapped from her home while doing laundry in her parents’ utility room.  She was in her twenties.  She was engaged.  The future of life was promising.  Jeannine Galloway was raped and murdered.  The community who knew her reacted in much the same way as the disbelief over Holly Bobo’s fate.  A young man named William Anthony Brooks was convicted and sentenced to die.

Nine years later, the judicial landscape changed in West Georgia.  In a new trial, Brooks was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.  One of my closest friends in journalism, columnist Richard Hyatt, has written multiple times of the dissatisfaction with the new verdict, particularly when details emerged of what happened in the original trial:

It came at a time the innocence of a community was being destroyed.

Brooks was sentenced to die and no one winced. He was not a good person. Like the members of that jury, most people believed he deserved execution.

Brooks, a man in his sixties, is still in jail in North Georgia.  He comes up for parole every few years but so far has been denied.  

Zach Adams could have faced the death penalty last weekend.  Saturday morning, Judge Creed McGinley announced an agreement between the prosecution and defense, the Bobo family and Adams.  He would be sentenced to life without parole plus 50 years for the rape and kidnapping charges.  

When that decision was made, my mind drifted back to Jeannine Galloway and her parents Earl and Hettie, both of whom I personally knew and who have passed away.  I wondered if some legal technicality will someday lead to a new trial for Adams and all of the old testimony will be smoked out yet again.

Zach Adams 4Just as we did 40 years ago, reporters covering the Zach Adams trial were blazing new ground.  They were using technological tools we never even dreamed of in 1977.  They can report instantaneously as testimony merits.  They can let the audience into the courtroom because of a little development called streaming.  

They covered a murder trial that was in many ways larger than life.  I just hope they all recognize this:  that trial and any other they cover in the future will never be larger than death.

 

 

A So-Called Viewer of WALB Who Should Be Shamed and Ashamed, Whether He Realizes It

My long-time friend Al Fleming, a multiple Emmy-winner, won one of his statuettes with a commentary which began:  “In the news business, it’s been said to never, ever, ever answer your critics.”

Al explained he was inclined to let the issue pass but that he was about to take on the United States Army.  He did.  In one of the most powerful perspective pieces in any city in America, Al took off the gloves as if he were in a rematch with Ali vs. Frazier.

I am about to take on a single television viewer.  However, this one individual is a reflection of one of the sickest elements in social media since its invention.  Trust me, plenty more are out there like him.

Emileigh 5Emileigh Forrester is a young weekend anchor and reporter at WALB in Albany, Ga.  I have a fondness for that station.  WALB is located about halfway between the two hometowns in which I grew up in the fifties through the seventies.  At one point, before all of the nutsy battles over compensation from cable companies, WALB was seen in almost every city in deep South Georgia.

WALB is one of those markets that for more than 60 years has been the lifeblood of local news for many rural areas of lower Georgia.  People in cities such as Sylvester, Tifton, Hahira, Valdosta, Ashburn, Nashville, Enigma, Fitzgerald and Hazlehurst have looked to Channel 10, the long-time NBC affiliate, for news and information.  No doubt, that has been exceptionally true during the past weekend with the threat of Hurricane Irma to WALB’s coverage area.

Emileigh is like hundreds of young men and women in television newsrooms across America.  Except during a couple of weeks of vacation during the year, her weekends are spent in a place that is far quieter than it is during an average weekday.  She has to fill two half-hours of news on Saturday and Sunday.  Emileigh has what has historically been known as a “skeleton staff” to help find enough local, regional and national news to deliver those newscasts to viewers who expect it, even if the content is largely softer than the Monday-through-Friday output.

If she is like many weekend anchors in small markets, she is reporter, videographer, producer, and editor.  Emileigh is in that professional period in which jobs like hers are part of the pay your dues years.  One with a solid work ethic agrees to such a role in the hope one can vault someday to a better-paying and more prestigious role either in the same station or one in another city.

Since my purchase of two Roku smart TVs more than a year ago, the NewsON app—one of the greatest inventions for a former news director—has allowed me to reacquaint myself with WALB, as well as a number of other stations across the country.  I watch the station’s newscasts a few times each month in order to reconnect with what is happening in the region of my roots.  Jim Wallace, an old college classmate from the unofficially labeled Bill Martin School of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Georgia, is WALB’s senior news anchor.

Emileigh 9Occasionally on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon after football season ends, I click NewsOn over to WALB to catch one of Emileigh’s weekend newscasts.  I have always found her pleasant, engaging, personable and authoritative in her presentation.  One afternoon, I sent her a thumbs up message on Twitter as I periodically do with a number of young reporters and anchors across the country.  As a former professional in the field, I feel a calling to offer encouragement to the next generation of reporters and anchors.  I did so several times Sunday afternoon with reporters from WINK in Fort Myers, Fla., who were exemplary during their coverage of Irma.

The weekend just past was a rare one for the WALB newsroom and staff members such as Emileigh.  Hurricanes, or threats of them, rarely reach as far as Southwest Georgia.  Remnants, tropical depressions, maybe even the leftover tropical storm may show up.  This time, the path of a powerful storm had people who live in those many rural communities surrounding Albany on pins and needles and depending on the long-reliable news staff of WALB to provide accurate, frequent and consistent weather and safety information.

As I write this, I am watching WALB News 10‘s late Sunday evening newscast after the Cowboys-Giants NFL game on NBC.  In the first 12 minutes, I counted crucial emergency information for 11 different counties in the WALB coverage area.  That is exactly what viewers expect and deserve in a weather crisis.  Emileigh, as usual, carried the ball solo until she handed off to weekend meteorologist Andrew Gorton.

Emileigh 2So, you ask, why all of this about one young woman among many in newsrooms in hundreds of cities toiling with a limited number of colleagues in order to keep people informed on Saturday and Sunday evenings?  A few times a week one of the jackal pack of dunderheads (I borrowed that term from Al Fleming’s award-winning commentary in 1979) demonstrates utter ignorance as well as abuse of the privilege of social media use.  Just read what was posted on Twitter by someone calling himself @Tblake762:

Emileigh Tweet 2

Well, well, well, Mr. @TBlake762, your brilliance and articulation are overwhelming.  If we had a Mount Rushmore for insolence and cruelty, you would be carved on it.

People like this have been out there well before social media was created.  They used to use an item called a landline telephone.  Just as on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, they would either often lie about their names or refuse to reveal their identity.

This guy, who claims to be a Marine, has exhibited enough mental skills to make Gomer Pyle appear to be a Rhodes Scholar.  What he did only energized the troops.  Look at some of the responses:

Emileigh Tweet 4

I am equally heartened by the WALB web producer.  Most of the time, difficult as it is, colleagues will just turn the other cheek.  In most instances, that is the right thing to do.  However, in this situation, I appreciated the retaliation:

Emileigh Tweet 3

As for Emileigh, she took the high road.  Trust me, even if you have been raised with the Biblical principle of turning the other cheek—as have I, the toughest thing to do when you are hit with a cruel slap in the face is to respond with salt and light.  Here is how Emileigh handled it—-and her web producer chimed in with another appropriate salvo:

Emileigh Tweet 1

I have never forgotten what happened shortly after I hired a young woman named Natasha as a reporter in 1991.  This was her first job out of college.  She had a great education and interviewed well.  I was glad to get her.

Admittedly, Natasha struggled in her first few weeks.  She had difficulty with speed and with editing skills.  I saw huge potential in her, so even though her early work was not up to snuff, I decided patience was the appropriate posture.

At the end of the third week, a call came after the 6:00 newscast from a viewer.  He called himself Charlie, though I doubt seriously if that was his name.  Twenty-six years later, I am paraphrasing this conversation but Charlie said something to the effect of:  “How come you can’t do any better than that new girl you have on there?”  In the next five minutes, Charlie proceeded to provide every generic reason why he did not like Natasha.  Then came the payoff.  Charlie had to throw in the firebomb that he didn’t understand why we had to have so many people who had the color of skin as Natasha.

I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts before I responded.  Again, paraphrasing, I said:  “That, sir, is something to which you and I could never agree.  You have just demonstrated the fallacy and insolence of your entire argument.  Since this is the direction you have taken it, this conversation is now over.”

I wonder what he thought over the next year when Natasha blossomed into an outstanding reporter with more and more confidence.  She overcame the speed issues and the editing deficiencies.  She broke some significant political stories, some of which had statewide impact.  She went on to a larger market and stayed in touch with me for several years.

Emileigh 7I equally ponder what the @TBlake762s of the world will think when Emileigh’s career blossoms even more than the way it already is at WALB.  Then, again, he had his one evening in the Twitter moonlight.  That is probably all he cared about at the time.  Next time you look in the dictionary, see if he isn’t listed as one of the definitions of the word “cruel.”

What this guy does not realize—probably among many things—is that a large fraternity and sorority of journalists, both active and retired, will not sit back and allow a colleague be unfairly and unreasonably assailed.  The troops are on the warpath and we have Emileigh’s back.  

I retired from being an active news director 25 years ago and went into broadcast journalism education.  Yet, for the last nine years I have been a quasi-news director because I supervise a daily cable newscast on local television produced, reported and anchored by my students.  I will unequivocally say that I would have been proud to have had Emileigh Forrester as a student or on any of my news staffs when I was still in the daily TV news profession.  Further, I will at any time be equally pleased to useEmleigh 3 Emileigh’s work as a role model for my graduates who want to follow her into the field.

Emileigh, hold your head high, just as high as the road you took with @TBlake762.  What is gross?  Anyone who would take to Twitter to invoke such a despicable post fits the description.

As for people like him, remember the famous words of my good friend and homespun humorist Don Hudlow, who said:  “There are a lot of naysayers in this world…..and they’ve all been vaccinated with lemon juice.”

 

A Story in Courage and Perseverance: Dave Jordan Returns to Work at WITN

Only two weeks earlier on Tuesday, August 22, Dave’s boss suddenly died.  She was not only his boss, she was his wife.  Stephanie Shoop, at the tender age of 46, was news director of WITN where Dave Jordan is the prime time co-anchor.  One day, she was wife, mother of two, and a respected leader of a television newsroom.  The next day, with no warning, Stephanie slipped away.

 

Dave’s co-anchor Lynnette Taylor told viewers of the loss in an emotional moment at the end of the August 22 early evening newscast.

In a previous blogpost, I wrote of how sadness can pervade a newsroom in a fashion that critics of journalism can never believe. It happens in moments when the unthinkable happens. The constant buzz that is usually the hallmark of a television news operation suddenly becomes as quiet as a public library.  What brings on the uncommon calm typically is in that rare instance when someone whose face and personality are as familiar as a member of one’s family is suddenly gone.  The stark reality strikes that the someone in question will never return.

My father was a minister for 65 of his 87 years.  Often, he told me that the most difficult times were when he had to reach out to a family who just experienced a sudden and unexpected loss.  

Stephanie Ann Shoop was a native Pennsylvanian.  In 1995, she married a man named David Giordano who grew up in the small Pennsylvania town of Sheffield.  Dave made his way to Eastern North Carolina 20 years ago after a brief stop in a small West Virginia market.  In 1998, Stephanie joined WITN as a newscast producer—a job that is frequently rewarding because the producer shapes a half-hour of news much as a sculptor does a bust.  Three years later, she became news director; in reality, her promotion made Stephanie her husband’s professional superior.

Husband-wife pairs can be an emotional boon or a periodic headache for management.  Some corporations have specific policies against spouses working for the same television station, or at least in the same department with the same boss.

In the mid-1980’s in Wilmington, N.C., I had two couples who worked for me at WWAY.  They could not have been more pleasant or more professional.  One husband was my chief photographer.  His wife was in production.  The other couple were my 11 o’clock anchors.  Richard and Jill Rogers were an immediate hit when I hired them away from WSAV in Savannah, Ga.  Richard also did the 6:00 news.  They were equally gracious off the air.  Jill did not stay in news over the long haul.  Richard is still active as the lead anchor at WRDW in Augusta, Ga.

On the other hand, I had another spouse combo in another city which I will not name.  They were not difficult people.  Yet, I often came away with a stomach ache in dealing with them.  They never grasped that their performance evaluations were as individuals, not as a couple.  One of the twosome was a reasonably good journalist.  The other spouse should have either been on PM Magazine or in an allied field.  I will leave my comments at that.  Regardless, had I cause to call the weaker performer of the two in for a conference, I knew the other would be appearing at my office door shortly after.  At least a half-dozen times, I had to issue the reminder, “I can’t talk to you about this at all.  You are two individuals on the corporate payroll.  I like you both personally, but I cannot discuss anything about a conversation with an employee with another employee even if you are married.”

ShoopsFrom all accounts, that was never a problem with the Jordans.  In her obituary, this was one description of Stephanie:  “She treated each and every employee and co-worker like her own and made them family.”

To stay in a city such as Washington, N.C., for nearly 20 years, one has to love it.  Dave and Stephanie apparently made a real home there.  Here’s what you may not realize:  Washington is part of Greenville-Washington-New Bern, one of those challenging animals of television known as the hyphenated market.  Each city’s viewers are typically jealous of their own local news and are not crazy about seeing many stories about the other two cities on their station’s newscast.  Here is something else you may not know:  the estimated population of Washington, N.C., as of 2016, was 9,801.  That may be the smallest city in America to have its own television station.  

What may not be an understatement is to say Washington may be the Mayberry of television cities.  In a town of fewer than 10,000 people, everybody tends to know everybody—or at least that is the way it seems.  If I lived there, I would probably see people who would light up if they saw their anchorman in a local restaurant.  “There’s Dave,” I’m sure they would say.  When you are in a viewer’s living room or den every night, you become a member of the family, especially in a small town.

Stephanie was not a household name in the community except to her close friends.  News directors, unless you are like this old guy was when I held that job and did commentaries three nights a week, are typically unseen and unfamiliar to the general public.  Yet, she found her fulfillment as the guiding hand of WITN News.  Over the years, she no doubt saw dozens of young journalists come and go.  At 46, her news staff was likely like an extension of her own two children.  Sometimes, a news director has to make unpopular decisions.  At times, you have to hand out discipline.  On occasion, you have to let people go—-truly never a pleasant decision even if the person being axed was not one who would be missed.  When you are in a leadership position for 16 years, you no doubt will have some people who decide they don’t like you.  However, my perception is those were few and far between in Stephanie Shoop’s world.

Even if you have occasional dysfunction—and every newsroom does at some point—a TV news operation becomes a family.  The morning of August 22, the head of the family at WITN News was snatched away in the twinkling of an eye.

I found a couple of tributes on Stephanie’s Facebook page that are worth sharing.  Here is one from a retired colleague, Steve Crabtree:

Prayers from here that our Heavenly Father wraps family, friends, news staff and other co-workers in His warm embrace giving each His comfort, peace and understanding. Stephanie was the consummate news professional and a gracious, compassionate, passionate and empathetic human being. She was dedicated to excellence in all she did and loved her family as well as her TV family with all of her heart. I respected few news directors in the U.S. more than her and feel blessed God allowed our paths to cross. My heart goes out to each of you! With love, Steve Crabtree; WVLT-TV VP/News, Retired; Knoxville TN

This one from Bill DiNicola tugged at me because I had the same emotions about a couple of the people for whom I have worked over the years:

It’s really hard to find the words… and fight back the tears long enough to write this. She was an amazing news director — but an even better mom, we all knew her as both. I am where I am now and more importantly I am who I am because of Stephanie Shoop — She was my News Mom, she was our News mom – she raised us right, she took in kids often for their first job, and turned us into well-rounded compassionate hardworking journalists, and she did it with love. You were the best possible example of a leader I could have hoped for. You let me get on the anchor desk when I weighed 500 lbs — who does that!?!? Like everyone in the WITN family, we were not ready for this. But because you were in our lives we will find the strength together. Dave, David and Grace — we’re here for you.

I can think of no finer tribute than for Stephanie to be called one’s News Mom.  That says to me—and should to many others—that she was much more than a news director.  One is not handed a label as Bill presented to Stephanie without being one who truly cares about people.

Shoop JordanWithout question, I hope Bill’s words were among many to help sustain Dave and the Jordans’ two children David and Grace.  A family, whether in television news or in any aspect of life, is a rallying center in times of sadness and deep tragedy.

Labor Day morning, I scanned TV Spy and saw that Dave Jordan—a man I have never met—was returning to work Tuesday.  He told reporter Stephanie Siegel:  “I’ve gone back to the station to visit as part of the healing process.”

In the same e-mail, here is how he reflected on his wife of 22 years:

“Stephanie was simply the most amazing person I have ever known and is deeply missed. Stephanie was also a very strong and determined person, and we are all drawing our strength from that. We all plan to do our best to pickup and carry on, as we know she would be telling us to do just that.”

Emotions are not one size fits all.  A sudden loss can send some people into an extended tailspin that requires a longer period of adjustment and grief before returning into the workplace.  Another family I knew lost their son on a Sunday afternoon in a skiing accident at a lake in South Georgia.  The next Sunday, three days after the teen’s funeral, the family was back at the lake.  “If we didn’t do this now, it would take us a lot longer to get on with life,” Bewick Murray, the father, said.  Everyone is emotionally different.

When I read that Dave was returning to the air Tuesday night, I had to log on to WITN.com.  I was not watching out of a viewer’s curiosity but as a member of the broadcast journalism fraternity.  I have not experienced the specific type of loss as has Dave Jordan, his children and the WITN family; yet, on the same day as Stephanie’s death, I received a call informing me of the death of my last living uncle, only six days after the passing of my oldest uncle.

Lynnette and DaveDave did his job with the same professionalism as he has for more than two decades in Eastern North Carolina.  At a designated moment in the six o’clock newscast, co-anchor Lynnette Taylor turned to Dave to share what was on his heart.  Here is an excerpt:

 

“I’m not going to pretend this is easy.  But I’ve reached a new reality in my life and it’s going to be that way for me and for our two children.

Family, friends, all of the viewers that have reached out with comments and cards….it’s amazing at a time like this how comments can lift you up.  I am grateful to all of you who have reached out to us. I want you to know that I’ll continue to need those because it’s going to be a journey.”
Dignity in a time of deep difficulty—that was the personification of Dave Jordan Tuesday night.
No doubt, many of those comments of encouragement and condolences have come from people Dave has never met.  I will add one of my own:  Dave, I’ve done the job you do and the job Stephanie did.  You don’t know me…..but if you need me, The Old TV News Coach is here.  May God continue to bless and comfort you and your family.
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