Tony Thomas leaving WSB-TV after 13 years

Tony Thomas is leaving WSB-TV after 13 years to work with the FBI. WSB-TV

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Tony Thomas is leaving WSB-TV after 13 years to work with the FBI. WSB-TV

He will be doing PR work for the FBI.

Tony Thomas, a reporter at Channel 2 Action News (WSB-TV), is the latest local broadcast journalist to leave the business to work in public relations.

His final day at the station on air will be July 15.

Thomas’ new job will be a spokesman for the FBI out of the Atlanta office starting later in July.

“It was the perfect job that came at the perfect time,” Thomas said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’ve always thought a job like this would be interesting and challenging.”

At the same time, he added, “WSB being such a powerhouse made this a tough decision. I went back and forth quite a bit. As they say, it’s the greatest newsroom in the nation. I’ve been lucky to be part of it.”

Thomas joined WSB-TV in October 2009 after seven years with Fox 5 and has been the station’s Gwinnett County bureau chief for nine years.

He said he has enjoyed being a breaking news specialist, covering major stories including hurricanes, tornados, the capture of Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph, the Tara Grinstead case and the death of Ahmaud Arbery. He has seven regional Emmys to his name.

With his new job, Thomas said he expects his schedule to be a bit more sane for his wife and three children. “I spent years vanishing on a moment’s notice,” he said, “not knowing when I’m coming back or how long I’d be gone.”

Thomas, an Illinois native, has been in the broadcast business for more than 30 years with stints in Rockford, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; and Las Vegas.

Other former broadcast journalists now in public relations include former Fox 5 reporter Patty Pan, who joined the Cherokee County sheriff’s office in community affairs this week, and Ross Cavitt, who left WSB-TV in 2017 after 24 years to work as communications director for Cobb County government. Former anchor Craig Lucie departed WSB-TV in 2019 to start his own communications and content business called Lucie. Ex-WSB-TV investigative reporter Aaron Diamant works for Lucie now as well. Jennifer Leslie Boettcher, who left 11Alive after 20 years as an anchor/reporter in 2018, is now communications director for the City of Dunwoody.