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Best Local TV Reporter

Dale Russell

Channel 5 WAGA-TV

Dale Russell was recognized this year with his profession's highest honor, the George Foster Peabody Award. That shouldn't surprise longtime Atlanta viewers. It's almost a cliche among local journalists that Russell, the star of WAGA's "I-team, is "that rare breed: a TV reporter who actually digs up substantive stories on his own (we like to think that's because he got his start in the alternative press -- with the Atlanta Gazette, a long-passed competitor of Creative Loafing). Russell's reports also are marked by a strict refusal to talk down to his viewers; he assumes his audience is intelligent enough to be spoken to as adults. He won the Peabody for his 1999 expose of U.S. Customs racial profiling at Hartsfield International Airport; those reports led to congressional hearings and reforms within the agency. But that report wasn't unusual. Week in and week out, Russell scoops the rest of the media on stories that make Georgia a more just and better place to live.

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