Emcee Pat Mitchell, inductee Mike Luckovich (AJC), inductee Christiane Amanpour (CNN, PBS), inductee Morse Diggs (Fox 5) and Melora Rivera, daughter of inductee Amanda Davis (Fox 5, CBS46), who died last year. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

2018 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame inductees: Christiane Amanpour, Morse Diggs, Mike Luckovich, Amanda Davis

Originally posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The 2018 Atlanta Press Club honored four local journalistic legends last week: AJC Pulitzer-Prize winning editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich, respected CNN and PBS reporter and anchor Christiane Amanpour, veteran Fox 5 reporter Morse Diggs and the late Fox 5/CBS46 anchor Amanda Davis.

Davis’ daughter, Melora Rivera, who spent many a day sleeping in the Fox 5 green room before school while her mom anchored “Good Day Atlanta” in the 1990s, spoke on her mom’s behalf. Davis died of a stroke late last year. 

She credited her mom for providing her the foundation that enabled her to go into TV production. Rivera is now a producer for the CW’s “Black Lightning,” shot in Atlanta. Before her mom passed, Davis shot seven episodes of the first season as its fictional anchor. She recalled Davis “fixing” the scripts to ensure they sounded more local news authentic. “I was able to put on this show that will live forever,” she said. “To see both of our names in the credits of the same show is special.” 

Luckovich expressed his unabiding passion for his job, which he has been doing nearly 30 years at the AJC. “I feel like Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise on that bridge,” he said.  He said he’s always trying to do better but notes how he typically procrastinates until 3 p.m. (His deadline is 6 p.m.)

He showed a few of his recent notable cartoons, then cued the music and began dancing to a Bruno Mars song while free-forming a cartoon of Trump and wrote “Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fake.”

 
Former Fox 5 news director Budd McEntee, emcee and past president of PBS Pat Mitchell and Christiane Amanpour after the Hall of Fame dinner. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Diggs, who began his Atlanta career at the Atlanta Journal, was recruited to WAGA-TV in 1982 because the station deemed him so good they gave him on-the-job training to become a broadcast journalist. It worked. He has been with the station for 36 years. His focus has been covering the Atlanta mayors, from Andrew Young to Keisha Lance Bottoms. Former mayor Shirley Franklin introduced Diggs and gave him grudging respect for his hard work, even when it didn’t always flatter her administration. 

Amanpour, who spent her first four years at CNN in Atlanta but left in 1987, built a reputation for rigorous reporting worldwide.  

“She has more balls than any man,” said Eason Jordan, who worked with her for many years and introduced her. 

During her speech, Amanpour noted that she landed on the foreign desk of CNN in part because she was foreign. But she had several bosses who saw her real potential and gave her a chance to become a foreign correspondent. She thrived. 

She espoused the need for people on different political sides to speak in reasonable ways and lauded the Atlanta Press Club debates as following that path. She also gave sincere praise for Ted Turner, who created CNN, noting his efforts to reduce the nuclear arms race and improve relationships with the Soviet Union with the Goodwill Games. “He taught us about giving back,” she said. 

Full disclosure: I’ve been a board member of the club since 2009. 

Fox 5 reporter Dale Russell, a 2013 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame inductee, and Melora Rivera, daughter of Amanda Davis. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Melora Rivera, on behalf of her mom Amanda Davis, accepted the induction from Davis' former boss Budd McEntee, a 2016 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame inductee.
Eason Jordan, who helped launch CNN, introduced Christiane Amanpour. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Fox 5's Morse Diggs with former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, who introduced Diggs. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Mike Luckovich dances to "24K Magic" after his Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame induction acceptance speech. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
The audience gives Mike Luckovich a standing ovation after his little acceptance speech/dance/cartoon creation. Pat Mitchell (left), Morse Diggs (center) and Maria Saporta are readily in view. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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