CBS anchors Sharon Reed and Thomas Roberts broadcast live during the Super Bowl Experience Driven By Hyundai at the World Congress Center on January 29, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Departing CBS46 anchor Sharon Reed talks about Ben Swann, Thomas Roberts, her critics, her future

Originally posted Friday, April 26, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Sharon Reed, departing CBS46 anchor and a bit of a lightning rod, has her share of friends and foes in a newsroom known for turnover. But no current or former employee I spoke with who has an issue with her was willing to say anything on the record.
So I’m left with her own words. She was kind enough to talk to me today. She has acknowledged she is tough, demands a lot and doesn’t like to work with people who don’t give their 100% and lack passion. But she also said she doesn’t have control over personnel decisions the way some people thinks she does.

Reed’s final day on air at CBS46 is Wednesday, May 22. She didn’t say what her next move will be but plans to do after she has officially left the station. 

<<RELATED: Her interview with WAOK’s Rashad Richey

Here are some of her thoughts:

Why she isn’t saying her next job is quite yet: “Out of respect for the TV station. I’m not leaving today or tomorrow. I have another month to go. I feel committed to the remaining stretch... I am going to show up every day and do what I’ve been doing. I will work every story for every available viewer and work for every tenth of a ratings point.”

On coming to a station with ratings challenges and lots of turnover: “No. 1, there is a team. I can’t get anything done without being part of a team. That said, I try to focus on what I can control and not worry about the rest. No. 2 I like the challenge. I’m going to be the best I can be, the most transparent I can be. I just think if you can do the right thing every day, every show, every story, it’s going to resonate with viewers. I don’t think you can look at my goal like winning the Super Bowl. That’s not how I look at it. I tell some of my younger colleagues, do your best and the rest will take care of itself.”

On building ratings, which have improved lately, to compete against some rivals with much bigger staffs: “I think you show up every day intending to be great. I’m big on transparency. It’s not my job to censor. It’s my job to keep it real. We get to show up every day with a new show. We can go at it in this incredibly city of Atlanta. We have some great days and weeks and stretches. We have some great journalists. How do you get proof of performance in front of viewers and potential viewers. You don’t just do the work, you get credit for the work you’ve done. This is a competitive town. I want to play with the best. It’s not fun to be anything less than No. 1. We try to reach the mountaintop and that means we have to work even harder.”

On her critics: “I tend not to have a whole lot of time for people who have their own hidden agendas and don’t put their names on it. It’s convenient for people to believe their failures are somebody else’s fault. I’m a positive person. I’m upfront. People who know me see me as kind and decent. We’ve all had experiences and taken our lumps in this business. I think it’s silly.”

Sharon Reed and Ben Swann introduce part two of Amanda Davis' story on May 18, 2016. CREDIT: CBS46
Photo: Rodney Ho/Radio and TV Talk

On her previous co-anchor Ben Swann, famous for conspiracy theories (who now regularly appears as a pundit on RT, a TV network funded by the Russian government.): “I liked Ben. We had a good rapport. I knew we got along because we had an authentic, honest relationship. We are both political junkies. I pride myself on an open mind. If it was something I didn’t agree with, I just said, I wasn’t interested in hearing that. Whatever it was, he was honest with me. It made work fun in that regard and challenging for him in some other ways. Ben is a very skilled broadcaster. Ben’s path is Ben’s path. Sharon’s path is Sharon’s path. The reason we got along is it was a real relationship.”

On her current co-anchor Thomas Roberts, previously at MSNBC: “I consider myself versatile. I can pivot to when and where I need to be. I love him. I adore him. I can’t think of a better man to work along side. He is somebody I respect, someone who is just the best partner. He’s a close friend. We live around the corner from each other. He has the code to my house. He’s super smart, super talented. I will genuinely miss working with him.” 

On the late Amanda Davis: When she did that three-part series about her alcoholism, “she lived up to the challenge. She was raw. She was vulnerable. That’s why it resonated with viewers for so long. The loss of Amanda was tough. She was very decent to me, a ray of sunshine. I’d come in early a lot and we’d have these really raw talks. I appreciate her so much. She is still missed. There’s a void in the newsroom and the city now that Amanda is without us.”

On Paul Ossmann, recently departed chief meteorologist: “Paul is a friend. I know what management has relayed. Audiences like Paul. That’s clear. I do hope that the work he did for us is not his final chapter on the air. He has more to give.”

On Ella Dorsey, a meteorologist who has faced some clap back of her own over breaking into Masters for tornado coverage and a clumsy exchange regarding a picture of gorillas and Thomas Roberts’ posture: “I’m going to keep my conversation with Ella private. She is a talented meteorologist and story teller. I did tell her that. We did talk about growth. We talk about all kinds of stuff. I love that about her. I don’t respect cowards who seek to undermine or professionally sabotage a colleague when you could simply show courage. Go tell Ella how you feel... She’s tough as nails. Understand that criticism comes with the territory. Sometimes you need to own it. Sometimes you need to ignore it.”

On her boss Steve Doerr, a news director who came in 2017 and worked with her in Cleveland: “I know his patterns. I know his practices. He’s a proven guy in our industry. He came in with enormous challenges. He’ll know how to pivot when I walk out the door. Steve will do what Steve needs to do.”

On Atlanta: “I love the people here, the realness and the deep history. I love the diversity. I love that there are challenges that remain that can be openly discussed. I think everything I need and needed is right here. It’s a  place to be celebrated. I really do.”

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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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