Justin Farmer is taking over for John Pruitt co-anchoring the 5 p.m. news on WSB-TV. starting Jan. 4, 2010.
He has been effectively anointed the heir apparent to Pruitt, much like his future 5 p.m. co-anchor Jovita Moore has been Monica Pearson’s likely replacement for years.
Atlanta native Justin Farmer is the son of Don Farmer, a former veteran newscaster in Atlanta who worked with Pearson many years ago. He arrived in Atlanta in June 2008, coming from Dallas.
General Manager Bill Hoffman praised Farmer for his journalistic experience and his love for Atlanta. “He’s well rounded,” Hoffman said. “He’s a great writer and a quick study. He’s most importantly a great collaborator and team player. He’s a leader. He’s constantly bringing in story ideas and he’s delivered high quality reporting. He was the choice and he’s ready.”
Hoffman even spoke to Justin’s dad Don, who he said was naturally proud of his son.
“He has not come across to me as a strong journalist/anchor I’d expect a major market television station to have,” said Michael Castengera,a broadcast news consultant and lecturer at the Universtiy of Georgia. “I’m not sure he has the same chops as his father. John was the perfect foil for Monica. He’s solid and reliable. WSB has a huge heritage. They should be rightfully proud of that. They do a lot of things right besides having very good talent. But talent is a huge issue and how you hand that baton off is critical to their future.”
Pruitt has been in Atlanta TV for a whopping 42 years, both at WXIA-TV and WSB-TV. He has not stated when he plans to retire. Pearson has rumbled about retiring in years past but hasn’t made the move yet.
Pruitt will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news with Pearson.
WSB has operated the top-rated evening newscasts in Atlanta for many years.
WSB-TV is part of Cox Enterprises, which also owns ajc.com.