Before taking the job as news director for the Jackson, Miss. NBC affiliate in 2009, Stribling had been the station’s morning anchor for 11 years. When current anchor Brandon Artiles announced he was leaving the station for Memphis, Stribling saw the opportunity to anchor again.
“It created this gaping hole for us going into the November ratings [period],” Stribling said. “My General Manager talked about me anchoring, on a temporary basis.”
But the more Stribling thought about it, the more he wanted it to be a permanent move.
“There are parts of that job that I really missed,” Stribling said. “I was probably the happiest I had ever been in at this station when I was doing morning television before. Not to say I was unhappy in any of the intervening years, but that’s when I felt like I was at my strongest – reporting the news every day. And I can’t wait to get back to that.”
Stribling and General Manager Dan Modisett made the announcement to the entire staff on Thursday. But Stribling had talked to his news managers before that, because he knew during the transition time, they would be asked to do more.
“I realize in choosing this move, I’ve shifted a good deal of burden to them, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think they could totally handle it. And it’s only temporary,” Stribling said.
The search begins for WLBT’s next News Director, and when that person is in place, Stribling will be an anchor/reporter full time. Anchoring the morning news on WLBT and Fox 40, then reporting on a story for a later newscast.
It’s been a while since Stribling has been on the anchor desk and there are a lot of changes. Anchors use iPads now, instead of paper scripts. There is social media that constantly needs updated. Stribling admits he might be a little rusty, but hopes people remember him and tune in. He is also excited about reporting the news on a daily basis again.
“There is something about being a part of getting [the news] out there. It’s not just about knowing everything or being able to hear about everything. It’s about being able to tell everyone else about it,” Stribling said. “Once you experience the thrill of being able to do that, and perhaps make a difference in the choice somebody makes in a day.. that’s powerful stuff. Getting back into the newsroom is a seductive proposal I couldn’t resist.”