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Channel 9’s Stoogenke brings sense of justice to beat

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Jason Stoogenke was in law school at the University of Maryland when he got to wondering what he’d do with the degree.

He’d majored in communications as an undergraduate and still loved the field. So he went into TV news.

Stoogenke took over as Action 9 consumer reporter at WSOC (Channel 9) after the October retirement of Don Griffin, who had done the job for three decades. Stoogenke wants to put his own imprint on the beat – more investigative work, using social media and applying his legal experience.

One of his best stories so far was about the practice of car-flipping or “curb-stoning,” in which someone makes a living selling used cars without a dealer license, usually by parking them beside the road with a for-sale sign. He did a jail-house interview with a man convicted of the practice.

Marcus Bradley told Stoogenke that he made up to $20,000 a month doing it. Stoogenke asked Bradley how people could protect themselves against people like him. Bradley gave him a list of tips.

“And then the guy says, ‘I’d use Carfax,’” Stoogenke says.

Stoogenke, 39, grew up in Towson, Md., a Baltimore suburb. His first TV job was for a station in Dalton, Ga., which you may know as the “Carpet Capital of the World.”

He started on an inauspicious day: Jan. 1, 2000, when Y2K threatened to send us all back to Y1K. “Either I’d start my job that day in Georgia, or there wouldn’t be a Georgia,” he says. He did and there was.

His next job was in Chattanooga, Tenn., and then in 2003 he landed at WRAL (Channel 5) in Raleigh as Fayetteville bureau chief. It turned out to be a newsy time – he got there when the military at Fort Bragg was at war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2006, he came to WSOC and eventually took over the government beat. When management approached him about succeeding Griffin, he figured it would be the perfect job.

With producers Mary White and Michael Stolp, Stoogenke does four Action 9 segments a week. His first was on a single mom in Union County who had run up $40,000 in fines from her homeowners’ association over a bad fence. She replaced the fence and Stoogenke got the association to drop the fine. A feel-good story all around.

“There’s not a day that goes by,” Stoogenke says, “where I say, ‘I wish I were a lawyer.’”

Media Movers

Lots of local nominations in news for regional Emmys. In news excellence, WCNC (Channel 36) and WSOC; for evening newscast Julie Szulczewski, Kim Holt, Linda Nester, Stephanie Kovaleski, Randy Wardell, Michael Maciejewski, Blair Miller, Erica Bryant, Scott Wickersham, Natalie Pasquarella, Wendy Robbins of WSOC and Joshua Roberts of WBTV (Channel 3); for morning newscast, two nominations for Tyler Morton of WBTV; for weekend newscast, Kristy Nation of WCNC; in breaking news, Jeffrey Smith of WSOC; in general assignment, Bill McGinty, John Gray of WCNC; in continuing coverage, two nominations for WCNC; in feature news, McGinty, Mike Hanson of WCNC; in feature series, Kevin Ridley, Dave Wagner of WCNC and Richard Green of News 14 Carolina; for consumer reporting, McGinty, Gray of WCNC; in specialty report, Jeremy Markovich and Ridley of WCNC and Watson and Ridley of WCNC; in news special, Szulczewski, Holt, Dave Kaminsky, Miller, Jeremy Letterman, Bryant, Ron J. DeJoseph Jr. of WSOC.

In instructional series, Gray, McGinty of WCNC; in public service campaign, Emma Raeburn, Rossana Seitter, Thomas Atkins, Joshua King, DeJoseph of WSOC; in news promo, two nominations for Lacy LeVasseur of WSOC, Brittani Edwards of WSOC and Devon Heffer, Ryan Rawlings and Jonathan Tressel of WCNC; in promo campaign, Craig Davenport, Seitter of WSOC; in interstitial, Doug Stacker of WTVI; in animation, Jonathan Tressel of WCNC and Kaminsky, DeJoseph of WSOC; in editing, Daniel Rodriguez, Alex Farmartino of Raycom; in short-form editing, David Barringer, Jeremy Williams of Raycom; in video essay, two nominations for Gregory Simpson of WSOC; in promo writing, Farmartino of Raycom. More next week.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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