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2017 Contest Entries: News 95.5 and AM750 WSB
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2017 Contest Entries: News 95.5 and AM750 WSB

2017 Contest Entries: News 95.5 and AM750 WSB

2017 Contest Entries: News 95.5 and AM750 WSB

In 2017, fires in Atlanta stopped traffic, first on the ground and then in the air. On March 30, Interstate 85 burned and collapsed, knocking out a critical travel artery through the city. As 2017 drew to a close, fire at the world’s busiest airport stopped all air traffic when power was knocked out. In between, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB covered the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the election of Karen Handel in the most expensive congressional election in history, a second runoff for candidate Mary Norwood in the race for Atlanta Mayor (she would lose to Keisha Lance Bottoms) and dozens of other stories. From Georgia's opioid crisis and spike in human trafficking, to the murders of two Georgia corrections officers and Equifax data breach. In addition, the Atlanta Falcons lost Super Bowl 51, opened a new stadium and advanced again to the playoffs. The Georgia Bulldogs had a great second season under the leadership of head coach Kirby Smart, winning the SEC and advancing to the College Football Playoff.

Submitted for consideration by judges selected by the APME, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GABBY) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) are examples of WSB Radio News coverage of some of the top stories of 2017. (Where noted, story summaries are from the AP)

BEST SPOT NEWS: I85 BRIDGE COLLAPSE

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A fire that began beneath an Interstate 85 overpass forced both lanes of the busy interstate to close on March 30. The blaze burned with such intensity that it destroyed the concrete and steel overpass. Construction crews rushed to rebuild the overpass. Prosecutors accused a homeless man of setting the fire but then agreed to transfer his case to a behavioral health treatment court, which raises the possibility that charges against him could be dropped if he completes the program. (AP)

BEST SPOT NEWS: CORRECTIONS OFFICERS KILLED

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Two inmates were accused of killing their guards on a Georgia prison bus in June. Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose were accused of disarming and killing Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue while escaping from the prison transfer bus in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta. Authorities say the pair then carjacked a motorist to get away. They were arrested two days later in Tennessee following a manhunt. (AP)

BEST GENERAL REPORTING: HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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On the south side of Atlanta there is a growing problem with human trafficking. You don't have to go very far to find the victims. They are scattered between the strip clubs, sex shops and gas stations along Fulton Industrial Boulevard. The girls, each with their own story, are there waiting under the watchful and threatening eye of their pimp. January is "Human Trafficking Awareness Month" and Atlanta tops the list for cities where it's happening the most. WSB's Sabrina Cupit reports.

BEST SERIES REPORTING: ATLANTA FALCONS LOSE SUPER BOWL 51

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In late 2017, the Atlanta Falcons opened their new home, the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. To start the year, the team closed out the historic Georgia Dome with a playoff win sending the team to Super Bowl 51 only to be crushed on the football’s biggest stage. The Falcons lost to the Patriots in overtime 34-28 in Houston. Listen to a sample of WSB Radio’s nine days of coverage from Super Bowl 51 in Houston Texas. WSB sports director Jay Black followed the Falcons and their fans every step of the way during their quest for their first championship in franchise history that ended with a second-half collapse never seen in Super Bowl history.

BEST STAFF COVERAGE: I85 BRIDGE COLLAPSE

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A fire that began beneath an Interstate 85 overpass forced both lanes of the busy interstate to close on March 30. The blaze burned with such intensity that it destroyed the concrete and steel overpass. Construction crews rushed to rebuild the overpass. Prosecutors accused a homeless man of setting the fire but then agreed to transfer his case to a behavioral health treatment court, which raises the possibility that charges against him could be dropped if he completes the program. Our entry consists of 27 minutes of continuing coverage of the collapse, the subsequent commutes and construction updates through the reopening of the bridge after six weeks of rapid reconstruction.

BEST STAFF COVERAGE: CORRECTIONS OFFICERS KILLED

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It was an intense three days. Two middle Georgia corrections officers began their day as normal - taking a group of inmates on a bus to a work detail. Then they were overpowered, lost their guns and were shot and killed. Two of the inmates had been plotting their escape and what followed was a three-day manhunt across two states. Even the Georgia Lottery offered a portion of ticket sales to the reward fund. Barely 72 hours after the murders and their escape, the two inmates were arrested in Tennessee. For judge's consideration are excerpts of WSB Radio News coverage of the story.

BEST NEWSCAST: ATLANTA’S MORNING NEWS MARCH 31, 2017

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Atlanta's Morning News from the morning of March 31, 2017. This is the first morning rush hour following the collapse of the I85 bridge. Traffic is a major issue and daily story in Atlanta, and commuters either stayed home or headed to work unsure of how the collapse would impact rides on the metro areas other interstates.

BEST NEWSCAST: ATLANTA’S EVENING NEWS DECEMBER 8, 2017

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Surprise! Snow falls on a Friday afternoon. It was shades of 2014's "snow-mageddon" with snarled traffic for some, a great start to the weekend for others. Reported by WSB's Chris Chandler.

BEST SPORTSCAST: WSB SPORTS FEBRUARY 6, 2017

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WSB Radio Sportscast from the morning of February 6, 2017. Hours earlier, the Atlanta Falcons gave up 25 unanswered points to lose Super Bowl 51 to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Jay Black reports.

BEST SPORTSCAST: WSB SPORTS DECEMBER 4, 2017

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WSB Radio Sportscast from the morning of December 8 2017. Hours earlier, the Atlanta Falcons came from behind to upset the New Orleans Saints to keep their playoff hopes alive. Additionally, the Georgia Bulldogs are headed to the College Football Playoff with a date for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Jay Black reports.

BEST SPECIALIZED REPORTING: OPIOID CRISIS

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Georgia is named as one of the worst states for Opioid addiction in the country. WSB Health reporter Sabrina Cupit covered the crisis throughout 2017.

BEST WEBSITE: www.WSBRadio.com

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News

  • When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category 4 storm to a Category 2 and then a Category 1, Wayne Mills figured he could stick it out. He regrets it. The Neuse River, normally 150 feet away, lapped near his door in New Bern, North Carolina, Sunday even as the storm had 'weakened' further. People like Mills can be lulled into thinking a hurricane is less dangerous when the rating of a storm is reduced. But those ratings are based on wind strength, not rainfall or storm surge — and water is responsible for 90 percent of storm deaths . Several meteorologists and disaster experts said something needs to change with the 47-year-old Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to reflect the real risks in hurricanes. They point to Florence, last year's Hurricane Harvey, 2012's Sandy and 2008's Ike as storms where the official Saffir-Simpson category didn't quite convey the danger because of its emphasis on wind. 'The concept of saying 'downgraded' or 'weakened should be forever banished,' said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd. 'With Florence, I felt it was more dangerous after it was lowered to Category 2.' It was a lowered category that helped convince Famous Roberts, a corrections officer from Trenton, to stay behind. 'Like a lot of people (we) didn't think it was actually going to be as bad,' he said. 'With the category drop ... that's another factor why we did stay.' Once a storm hits 74 mph (119 kph) it is considered a Category 1 hurricane. It ratchets up until it reaches the top-of-the-scale Category 5 at 157 mph (252 kph). Florence hit as a Category 1 with 90 mph winds — not a particularly blustery hurricane — but so far it has dumped nearly three feet of rain in parts of North Carolina and nearly two feet in sections of South Carolina. 'There's more to the story than the category,' University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said. 'While you may still have a roof on your house because 'it's only a Category 1,' you may also be desperately hoping to get rescued from that same roof because of the flooding.' Susan Cutter, director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, said the hurricane center and National Weather Service 'have not done a good job at communicating the risks associated with tropical systems beyond winds.' One reason, she said, is that it's much harder to explain all the other facts. Wind is easy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it takes all hazards, including rain and storm surge seriously — and communicates them. Forecasters were telling people four or five days before Florence hit that it would be a 'major flooding event,' said Bill Lapenta, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which includes the hurricane center. When Florence's winds weakened and it dropped in storm category, he said, 'We made it very clear that in no way shape or form that this is going to reduce the impacts in terms of flooding and surge.' Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, said the weather service did a great job at forecasting and made a good attempt at communicating the risk. But somehow the message isn't quite getting through, he said. It didn't to Wayne Mills. If the storm stayed a Category 4, Mills said, 'I definitely would have left.' Cutter and Shepherd said the weather service needs to work with social scientists who study how people react and why. Laplenta said his agency does that regularly and will do more after Florence. It's only going to be more necessary in the future because global warming is making hurricanes wetter and slower, so they drop more rain, Shepherd said. University of Alabama's Jason Senkbeil studies the intersection of meteorology and social science and is working on two different new hurricane scales using letters to describe danger or potential damage. Florence would be an 'Rs' for rainfall and storm surge. The trouble, said Senkbeil, is 'rainfall just doesn't sound threatening.' But Famous Roberts now knows it is: 'I would say for everybody to take heed. And don't take anything for granted.' ___ Borenstein reported from Washington, Breed from North Carolina. ___ Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears . His work can be found here . ___ The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. ___ For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes .
  • Just months after the publication of James Comey's 'A Higher Loyalty,' another former FBI official will take on President Donald Trump. Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director ousted this year amid repeated attacks from Trump and a critical Justice Department report, has a book deal. St. Martin's Press announced Tuesday that 'The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump' will come out Dec. 4. St. Martin's is calling the book a candid account of his career and defense of the FBI's independence. According to the publisher, McCabe will describe 'a series of troubling, contradictory, and often bizarre conversations' with Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the 'actions of this President and his administration undermine the FBI and the entire intelligence community' and threaten the general public. 'I wrote this book because the president's attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole,' McCabe said in a statement issued through St. Martin's. 'He is undermining America's safety and security, and eroding public confidence in its institutions. His attacks on the most crucial institutions of government, and on the professionals who serve within them, should make every American stand up and take notice.' With the bureau, McCabe had worked on everything from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the Boston Marathon bombing. 'The Threat' is likely to draw comparisons to 'A Higher Loyalty,' the best-seller by Comey, whom Trump fired in 2017. Both books come from divisions of Macmillan. McCabe had been with the FBI for more than 20 years when Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him in March, just before McCabe's planned retirement. His ouster came as a report from the Department of Justice's inspector general faulted him for misleading investigators looking in to the leak of information for a 2016 Wall Street Journal story about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe denied the charges. Meanwhile, Trump had accused him of bias against Republicans because McCabe's wife had accepted campaign contributions from the political action committee of then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, during a failed state Senate run. The Republican president also was angered that the FBI was investigating his campaign's ties to Russia and that it did not bring criminal charges against his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while secretary of state. After McCabe was fired, Trump tweeted 'Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy.' He has since threatened to revoke McCabe's security clearance, and this week directed the Justice Department to publicly release some of his text messages related to the Russia probe.
  • Atlanta-based CNN is often dismissed as 'fake news' by President Donald Trump and his supporters. Seeking to prove their point, some right-wing meme creators found a photo of Anderson Cooper in waist-deep floodwater, claiming he was exaggerating and staging shots during Hurricane Florence.  >> On WSOCTV.com: Florence's aftermath: The latest updates from the Carolinas But the photo was from 2008 during Hurricane Ike in Texas, and Cooper was demonstrating the dangers of shifting depths of floodwaters.  Cooper decided to address the issue in a nine-minute segment on his show Monday in part because the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., used the meme as fodder to malign CNN on Twitter. While many people on Twitter used the images and tied them to Florence, Trump Jr. merely implied that this was fakery and designed to make his dad “look bad.”  Cooper took umbrage to that, shading Trump Jr. by showing photos of him being an “outdoorsman” killing exotic wildlife but presuming he wasn’t in North Carolina helping in rescue efforts.  >> Read more trending news  Cooper then showed the 10-year-old video of himself in waist-deep water in a flooded area of Bridge City, Texas. He was demonstrating the various depths of water in a very small area. At one point, he even made fun of himself for doing this, but added that he didn’t want to be on the dry part of the road interfering with rescue operations. Cooper said he also wanted to show that water can go deep very quickly even just a few feet off a road, and many people die in hurricanes via drowning. Cooper noted that his camera crew has to shoot on dry spots to keep the equipment from getting wet. And the tech person in the photo? He died last year, Cooper said. 
  • Americans will soon be able to try Heinz’s latest creation -- Mayochup. The ketchup company introduced the combination in Arab Gulf states earlier this year, but after being prodded to bring the product to U.S. store shelves, the company has decided to give its customers what they want and bring it to America.  All it took was a half million votes in favor (or is it flavor?) to bring the ketchup/mayo hybrid to the U.S., Esquire reported. But the question looms, what city should be able to get the first official taste? Heinz is running a poll on its Twitter page to find out. But the clock is ticking. Votes via hashtag end at 11:59 p.m. CST Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  >>Read: Heinz introduces Mayochup, mayonnaise-ketchup combo, so when will you be able to find it? “After seeing the unprecedented passion surrounding this product, including the nearly one million votes on social media and 500,000 votes in favor of bringing it stateside, launching Mayochup in the U.S. was a no-brainer,” Nicole Kulwicki, director of marketing at Heinz, told the “Today” show in a statement.
  • Tuesday is National Cheeseburger Day, and whether you like yours with “lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes. Big kosher pickle and a cold draught beer,” or if your tastes are more simple, here are some deals on the American classic. >> Read more trending news (Note: Not every restaurant in a chain may be honoring the deals, so be sure to check with local restaurants to confirm which deals are available before you go. Most offers are dine-in only and can’t be used with any other discount or coupons. Prices may vary with location.) 2nd and Charles: Get a free Bob’s Burgers cheeseburger at checkout as long as supplies last. The deal begins at 6 p.m. BurgerFi – Buy one cheeseburger, get one for $1.  IHOP: Buy an Ultimate Steakburger and get a free side of buttermilk pancakes or limited-time pumpkin spice pancakes. The deal is good from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Johnny Rockets: Buy one, get one half off for all cheeseburgers on the menu. A bonus: Buy one, get one half off for all milkshakes on the menu. McDonald’s: Order anything on the mobile app, and you get a free cheeseburger on Tuesday. Miller's Ale House: Cheeseburgers are $5.99 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. when you show a Facebook post. Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub: When you dine in, you can get a $5 cheeseburger with a choice of cheddar, Swiss or American cheese Red Robin: Get a gourmet cheeseburger with bottomless steak fries for $5 all day. Valid for dine-in only and you must purchase a beverage.  Ruby Tuesday: If you are a member of the So Connected Club, you can get a free burger with the purchase of an entree on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can join by clicking here. Roy Rogers: Get two cheeseburgers for $5 on Tuesday. Ted's Montana Grill: Get a cheeseburger and fries for $6. Dine-in only. Tony Roma's: Get $2 off any burger if you are a member of the chain’s email club. Sign up here: www.tonyromas.com. Wendy’s: Through the end of the month, you can get a free Dave’s single with your purchase when you download and use the Wendy's app. White Castle: Get one free cheese slider with purchase of anything on the menu.  Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar: If you are a VIP member you can get a Plain & Simple Burger with the option of 8 different cheese toppings, for $5. Sign up here to be a VIP member.  
  • The pressure in natural gas pipelines prior to a series of explosions and fires in Massachusetts last week was 12 times higher than it should have been, according to a letter from the state's U.S. senators to executives of the utility in charge of the pipelines. Democratic U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey sent the letter Monday seeking answers about the explosions from the heads of Columbia Gas, the company that serves the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, and NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas. 'The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has reported that the pressure in the Columbia Gas system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI — twelve times higher than the system was intended to hold,' the letter said. The pressure spike registered in a Columbia Gas control room in Ohio, the senators said in the letter, which requests a reply by Wednesday. 'We write to request that you provide us with information in order to help the American people understand why this terrible disaster occurred, whether the company was sufficiently prepared to respond to an incident of this magnitude, and how we can prevent any similar tragedy in the future,' the senators wrote. Dozens of explosions and fires last Thursday killed one person and injured more than two dozen others. About 8,600 customers were affected, and many had to evacuate their homes for days and may have to go without gas service for weeks. The explosions are under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt has said the investigation is partially focused on pressure sensors that were connected to a gas line that was being taken out of service shortly before the blasts.