11Alive gives Ron Jones primary evening anchor role; Jeff Hullinger moves to weekends

Ron Jones (left) is taking over the 5 and 6 p.m. newcasts on 11Alive and Jeff Hullinger is moving to weekend anchoring.  PUBLICITY PHOTOS

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Ron Jones (left) is taking over the 5 and 6 p.m. newcasts on 11Alive and Jeff Hullinger is moving to weekend anchoring. PUBLICITY PHOTOS

Shiba Russell’s job will be filled at a future date.

11Alive is giving Ron Jones the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscast anchor jobs on top of his current 11 p.m. role. Veteran evening anchor Jeff Hullinger has been moved to weekend evening anchor.

“Ron is a great journalist, but there’s an interesting back story,” general manager John Deushane noted in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “In addition to being a sergeant in the U.S. Army, for years he was also a sergeant for the Oakland Police Department. That gives him a unique perspective when covering crime stories. But it also engrained in him a strong desire to serve the community and make a difference. Ron is a leader in our newsroom and loves to mentor and train young journalists. While he has a heart for doing this, he’s also extremely capable given he shoots, writes, and edits his own stories. Ron is the full package.”

Jones joined 11Alive (WXIA-TV) in 2016 and took over the 11 p.m. anchor slot in 2019. He also has been a reporter.

He takes over the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts from Hullinger, who joined 11Alive in 2010 and has been a primary weekday anchor the past 12 years. Hullinger has been an Atlanta media fixture for more than 30 years. He has had previous stints covering sports for Fox 5 (WAGA-TV), the voice for the Atlanta Falcons and news anchoring on WSB radio.

>>RELATED: Bill Torpy’s recent column about Hullinger’s social media Atlanta history lessons

Jennifer Bellamy will join Jones at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. as co-anchor.

In a memo to staff, 11Alive news director Jennifer Rigby said the move was made to allow “us to better increase team familiarity and build an audience from 5, 6 and into the 11 p.m.”

The move for Hullinger was made because of his “depth in sports and news is a strong fit for a robust weekend audience that so often flows from a major sporting event. Weekends are an important time to expose our audience to our news product,” according to Rigby’s memo.

The changes officially take place the week of July 11, the memo said.

Evening anchor Shiba Russell last month departed the station after six years to move to the Northeast for an unspecified new job. The 11Alive job opening to replace her as an evening anchor will post soon.