Posted: 3:45 pm Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Channel 2 Action News reporter Jeff Dore retiring after 30 years at station 

By Rodney Ho

Jeff Dore's final day on Channel 2 Action News is Friday, March 28, 2014 after 30-plus years on the air. CREDIT: Carol Sbarge/WSB-TV

Jeff Dore’s final day on Channel 2 Action News is Friday, March 28, 2014 after 30-plus years on the air. Here he is in the newsroom earlier in the week. CREDIT: Carol Sbarge/WSB-TV

Channel 2 Action News reporter Jeff Dore is retiring this Friday after more than 30 years at the station.

“After the two winter storms and sleeping on an air mattress in a Channel 2 office, I realized it was time, ” Dore said today while on the road covering a fire that burned up 17 police motorcycles.

Dore came to WSB-TV in January, 1984, when reporters were still pounding out stories on electronic typewriters at the old building dubbed “White Columns.”

At age 61, Dore said only Diana Davis has been reporting at the station longer than he has – and she only beat him by a few months.

Dore contracted leukemia a decade ago and has been in remission ever since. One side effect: a reduced immune system that has made him susceptible to other illnesses. In late 2012, he was down for the count with pneumonia, taking him off the air for two months. A second new bout of pneumonia hit him almost immediately and he was gone again for two months. “It was very very hard, physically and mentally,” he said.

Jeff Dore after the snake bite. CREDIT: WSB-TV

Jeff Dore after the snake bite. CREDIT: WSB-TV

In July, working in his yard at his Sandy Springs home, he got bit by a snake in July, landing him in the hospital for two more days.  He crashed his bike two weeks later. Then his father passed away at the end of last year.

He said he’s leaving in the middle of a contract, but his bosses have been kind to let him out without penalty.

“I was really looking at my mortality,” he said. “I don’t want to die on the job.”

Dore said he’s always been a features guy at heart. Prior to WSB, he was the “on the road” guy at a Nashville TV station. He and a photographer would go out into the country and just find stories on the fly.

But over the past two decades, with WSB’s emphasis on breaking news, he’s had to adjust to a daily diet of homicides, fires, traffic accidents and bad weather. He said he first learned to do the news straight, then over time, add his own take on things.

“I’ve always kept the feature reporter alive in me even doing hard news,” Dore said. “If they sent me to cover a tornado, I’d come back with somebody totally wacky with a bizarre take on the experience. I’d always look for that quirky twist.”

He said over three decades, he went from being the young gun to the wily veteran. He remembers when he was new, he asked  former WSB reporter Don McClellan how he had lasted so long in such a tough business. More than two decades later, new reporter Ryan Young asked Dore how he kept going.  He felt a sense of deja vu. “I realized I was older than Don was when I asked him that same question!” he said. “Now I know what I look like to the young reporters!”

Dore said he never chose to dye his hair as it gradually went white. “The only thing we really have is our credibility,” he said. “I shouldn’t go on air every night and tell this subtle lie about how I really look. I am what I am. Take it or leave it. And I knew if I started doing it, I’d have to keep doing it!”

He said his most memorable stories were covering hurricanes. He recalls during 1989′s monstrously destructive Hurricane Hugo entering places the cops had abandoned in Myrtle Beach. He remembers doing a live shoot with rain and wind whipping in his face, obscuring his view. He could barely see the light coming from his photographer Eddie Green’s camera. At one point, the light shifted several feet so he moved with it. Afterwards, he learned the wind had actually lifted Green off his feet into the air, turning him briefly into a kite.

Dore said he’s proud he lasted in the business as long as he has. “I’ve seen so many people come and go,” he said. “And over the years, I’ve developed my own style. I try to see the humanity in any story. I treat everyone with respect. And I appreciate humor even in the worst situations. If you listen to what people are saying and appreciate the quirky moments, you can reveal what the truth is and how people really feel about a situation.”

With retirement just a couple of days away, he said he plans to spend more time as guitarist and vocalist for his bluegrass band Hicks With Picks. (He currently plays weekly at his church Rock Spring Presbyterian on Piedmont.). He also trains for a charity bike ride each year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here’s a sampling of his work on YouTube:

And here’s the snake bite story, reported by Diana Davis:

26 comments
KenMac
KenMac

Would often find myself alongside Jeff in the field when I was reporting for WXIA and then WAGA in the 80's and 90's.  Funny, classy, talented.  Wonderful story-teller.  One of the really good guys in this business.


Ken MacLeod

WBZ-TV Boston


HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Well, viewership from this household will be diminishing.  (Carol Sbarge and Wendy Corona make it worthwhile, and Linda and Diana and Karen are very tolerable but nothing much else worthwhile.)    And what ever happened to Lynn Harrison?

Atl50
Atl50

Jeff is a great guy.  He will like his new life....

CmdrR
CmdrR

Jeff is one of the brightest lights, and quickest wits in any newsroom I've worked over the past 25 years. 


Jeff -- I hope you find as much fun and excitement in retirement as you did in all the stories you shared.


All the best,


Chris Riker

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Best wishes and health on your retirement....no it's not retirement, it's doing what you want when you want to do it! Enjoy! Stay active!

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Gonna miss ya, Jeff, but as a fellow reireee I wish you much success in enjoying yourself and your future activities.      WSB will have tough task trying to find adequate replacement. 

TuckerAvenger
TuckerAvenger

You are, without a doubt, at the top of the list of "great reporters"!  I will miss your smiling face.  Thanks so much for  your unbiased reporting and  self-injected humor back in the late nineties when you covered  the Fulton County trial  that involved daily antics of then-D.A. prosecutor Nancy Grace  as the trial proceeded with the defendant named "Brian C."who had been charged with the alleged  prostitute murders  and I recall your making reference to  the day to day dog and pony show put on by Ms. Grace as the "Friday fights".  I was in that courtroom each and everyday as part of the defense team and it was nice after a long day to catch your reporting with  some laughs  included.!  Much good luck  and happiness in the days to come...you certainly have earned it! 

StandYourGround
StandYourGround

I will definitely miss him........he is one of the REAL reporters left........have a happy and prosperous retirement!!!!!

Rhebaatl
Rhebaatl

Jeff, you're my favorite on-air news commentator. The way you approach each story with an open mind, a large pinch of good humor, and respect for the victim you may be interviewing, as well as those of us sitting safe in our living room watching the details unfold--you are a master at this. Everyone feels comfortable and news gets reported.

I'm sorry to see you leave WSB, but hope that your retirement will be every bit as rewarding as your career in news has proven to be.

Out here on the other side of the television screen, I wish you every happiness for your future!

Rheba Smith

Ultraman8
Ultraman8

Hal Suit! a blast from the past

HeiChu
HeiChu

Congratulations Jeff, loved your reporting throughout the years and stay safe.

BrookhavenGuy
BrookhavenGuy

Good luck Mr. Dore


Having recently retired I know exactly what you mean when you say you don't want to die on the job - life is too short and precious

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

I miss Guy Sharp


Hot Hazy and Humid


Waking up and hearing Guy Sharp told one all was right with the world. 


Jeff Dore is a classic but he's no Guy Sharpe. 



Hemmorid_Sufferer_2
Hemmorid_Sufferer_2

Diana Davis.....Now that's one broad that needs to drop a few hundred pounds.....

onedayatatime
onedayatatime

Thank you, Mr. Dore for keeping us informed for all these years.  I've enjoyed your reports and wish you all the best in your future endeavors (they sound like fun!).  I'm sure alot of people feel this is very news worthy, as you will be missed!

SuSu6
SuSu6

Great video re: the snake bite!  And thanks to Mr. Dore for all of his years of keeping us informed. Good luck!

REALNewsisNOTCNN
REALNewsisNOTCNN

This is news-worthy? No offense to Mr. Dore...I sincerely congratulate him on such a stellar career. But, this.must be a really slow news day to put this on the 'front page' of the AJC Web site.  What's next - grade school soccer scores on the front page?  

Narnie
Narnie

Even though it will be our loss, you are so wise to retire while you have your health (be so as it is)!  :)  Enjoy your retirement and maybe write a blog on retirement!  We are all getting to that point!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOU DEDICATION TO NEWS....not sensationalism!  

MrsJohnson
MrsJohnson

CONGRATULATIONS MR. DORE!! It was a pleasure watching you on WSB. May God continue to RICHLY BLESS YOU AS YOU REALLY START TO ENJOY LIFE.

Carmen & Barbara Harrison :-)

Hemmorid_Sufferer_2
Hemmorid_Sufferer_2

@Delusionaldog  

Guy Sharpe was the lunatic zealot that told his viewers to destroy all their Procter & Gamble products because they were secret devil worshipers. He was sued by P & G, but settled out of court by basically recanting his remarks. How he kept his job is amazing.


How is it you miss him? Not enough southern nutty intolerance? 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@REALNewsisNOTCNN When someone works hard and retires, why can't they be recognized for being professional, thorough, entertaining, and just a nice guy? That is better than the rest of Channel 2 "Death and Destruction" news team! Marc Winnie couldn't hold Jeff's empty coffee cup!

Ultraman8
Ultraman8

@REALNewsisNOTCNN  I would rather see this than see more stories about black guys bouncing their girlfriend's kid off the sofa and onto a table like a WWF move. Or how Quantavius and Queenisha were busted for drugs. NEGROES in the news. Always the same thing- night in and night out.