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Keith Whitney adjusts to City of Atlanta communications director job

He spent 24 years in the Atlanta market at 11Alive and CBS46

Originally posted Saturday, July 7, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Keith Whitney, a veteran Emmy-winning Atlanta broadcaster last seen at CBS46, is adjusting to life as communications director for the city of Atlanta, a job he started two weeks ago.

“Really just a fantastic opportunity that I could not pass up,” said Whitney, who spent 22 years at 11Alive as a reporter and anchor before taking a buyout in 2016. He joined CBS46 last year and stayed 16 months

“I’ve mostly just been getting acclimated and plugged into City Hall,” he said in a text Friday. “It’s like jumping on a high-speed train. I love it.” 

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms last month said in a press release that “over the past 25 years, he has built a reputation as one of Atlanta’s most highly regarded and trustworthy reporters and he will bring that same level of integrity to the city.”

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He oversees the communications department. Under Bottoms, that job is far less stressful than it was under her predecessor Mayor Kasim Reed, who would have his communications staff write up press releases condemning reporters who wrote anything Reed perceived to be unfair. 

Switching from journalism to PR is a common practice. 

Donna Lowry, a long-time education reporter at 11Alive who took the 2016 buyout at the same time as Whitney,was chief communications officer at Fulton County Schools until recently

Kevin Rowson, who also took that buyout at 11Alive, is now a public affairs specialist at the FBI office in Atlanta

Other examples: Carlos Campos, a former AJC reporter from 1994 to 2007, is public affairs director at the Atlanta Police Department.  Andrea Jones, who worked at the AJC from 1999 to 2008, is associate vice president for public relations and marketing for Georgia State University. Charles Edwards, who worked at GPB and PBA from 2002 to 2014, is now a crisis advisor and media coach for Jackson Spalding. Ross Cavitt, formerly at WSB-TV, is communications director at Cobb County government. Stephany Fisher, formerly an anchor at CBS46, is spokeswoman for MARTA. 

About the Author

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

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