‘The per­fect recipe’

GA Voice - - 2015 Atlanta Pride Event Guide -

11Alive sta­tion oper­a­tions man­ager Tim Thomas is quick to re­spond when asked what led the sta­tion to cover the pa­rade live that first year in 2012, com­par­ing it to their cov­er­age of other com­mu­nity events like the Peachtree Road Race.

“These are things that tie us to the com­mu­nity and there’s no way whether it’s gay or straight that we should not cover it,” he says.

Camp­bell agrees, say­ing, “It has to be just to be a mod­ern, rel­e­vant TV sta­tion. The LGBT com­mu­nity is such a big part of the pop­u­la­tion of At­lanta.”

But this year’s cov­er­age of Pride will look com­pletely un­like the sta­tion’s first crack at it three years ago.

“It was sim­ply a lap­top, a cam­era and some­body down there just talk­ing about it,” Thomas says. “And as any­thing in its in­fant stage, we were like, ‘We’ve gotta do this bet­ter.’”

They added more cam­era peo­ple each year and made the Pride cov­er­age a build­ing-wide pro­ject in­volv­ing more of the news­room and en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment. Join­ing Alexan­der, Pullara and Camp­bell this year will be color com­men­ta­tor (and 2014 At­lanta Pride grand mar­shal) Tony Kear­ney, as well as TV and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Conn Jack­son.

“[Jack­son] does a great job of jump­ing on and off floats and he’s just crazy enough to do it, so we let him do it,” Thomas says, laugh­ing.

There will also be pro­duced pieces dropped into the cov­er­age through­out the day, spot­light­ing a va­ri­ety of is­sues, in­clud­ing an up­date on same-sex mar­riage in Ge­or­gia (fea­tur­ing an in­ter­view with Ge­or­gia Voice Editor Dar­ian Aaron), a look at trans­gen­der life in At­lanta and a more light­hearted piece on the city’s drag queens.

“With Vi­o­let Chachki win­ning ‘Ru­Paul’s Drag Race,’ I thought it was a great op­por­tu­nity to de­clare At­lanta ‘The Drag Queen Cap­i­tal of the World,’” Camp­bell says, adding, “I quickly learned if you’re go­ing to do a story about drag queens, you can’t just in­clude a few. You have to be equal op­por­tu­nity. I learned that the hard way [laughs]. I started get­ting emails and Twit­ter mes­sages, so I’m daunted with the task of jam-pack­ing the story with all of the At­lanta drag queens that I can.”

Thomas cred­its the At­lanta Pride Com­mit­tee for keep­ing the sta­tion bal­anced as far cov­er­ing more than just the larger news sto­ries like mar­riage equal­ity.

“They’ve kind of kept us grounded be­cause it’s easy in news to go with the news cy­cle, so we’ve got some great sto­ries there,” he says.

And the in­ter­est in Pride cov­er­age doesn’t end af­ter the fi­nale of the Starlight Cabaret on Sun­day night. The sta­tion per­son­nel say their Pride web page sees heavy traf­fic through­out the year as peo­ple come back to view photos and video from the week­end.

“That’s the per­fect recipe, when you have the sta­tion do­ing this and then the feed­back comes in from the com­mu­nity that, ‘Yes, we want to see this, we’re glad you’re do­ing it,’” Camp­bell says. “That’s how some­thing be­comes big­ger and how we’ve got­ten to where we are this year.”

Both Camp­bell and Thomas say it all goes back to that slo­gan you fre­quently hear if you’re a reg­u­lar con­sumer of 11Alive’s cov­er­age: “Hold­ing the pow­er­ful ac­count­able.”

“The sta­tion mantra falls into that and if there’s in­equal­ity about some­thing, that type of story will get the at­ten­tion of 11Alive,” Camp­bell says. “It’s a nat­u­ral fit.”

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