Jim Burress

Senior Reporter

Jim Burress is a proud native of Louisville, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wabash College in Indiana, and a master’s in Mass Communication from Murray State University.  That's where Jim started his public radio career (WKMS-FM). 

Jim moved to Atlanta to work on his PhD, but after a year away from reporting, he realized he preferred the newsroom to the classroom.  He came to WABE in the spring of 2008 when there were just six people in the entire newsroom. 

As a licensed pilot, Jim is fascinated by airplanes and aviation, which is why you’ll often hear him report on the commercial aviation industry.   As a Kaiser Health News/NPR fellow, Jim also covers healthcare and healthcare policy for WABE. 

In 2014, Jim wrote and produced WABE's first news documentary in more than a decade, "Stuck in the Bluff." He also traveled to Liberia to document the West African country's efforts to rebuild post civil-war, and happened to be at the same hospital, the same week, where the massive Ebola outbreak started.  

Jim is a frequent contributor to the national show Marketplace, and his reports regularly air nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, and All Things Considered.

Jim has won numerous professional awards, including 1st place honors from both the Kentucky and Georgia Associated Press and several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.  In 2010, the Atlanta Press Club awarded Jim its radio “Award of Excellence” for his reporting on unlawful practices within the Atlanta Police Department, and again in 2012 for a joint project looking at special needs students attending Clayton County schools. 

But his biggest prize came in 2001 when he won it all on the game show, "The Price is Right."  


Health & Science
1:52 pm
Sat August 2, 2014

First of Two Ebola Patients Now in Atlanta

One of two American citizens stricken with the deadly Ebola virus has arrived safely in the U.S after leaving Liberia.

Late Saturday morning, an ambulance greeted a medical transport jet at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.  The plane was carrying 33-year-old physician Kent Brantly.

Emory University Hospital confirms the patient arrived at its campus at approximately 12:30 PM Saturday.

Brantly will be housed in an isolation unit.  Emory constructed the unit twelve years ago to handle such emergency cases.

Read more
Health & Science
4:30 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Two Ebola Patients Coming To Emory Hospital

Credit Dan Raby / WABE


[Updated 6:30 p.m. with expanded audio.]

Emory University Hospital officials just wrapped up a news conference on the hospital’s plans to treat two patients, infected with the Ebola virus, being brought here from Liberia.

Jim Burress was at the news conference and filed this brief report from the scene.

Jim will expand on this report with our All Things Considered host Denis O'Hayer, live on WABE 90.1 FM at 5:44 p.m. this afternoon.

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
5:26 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Low Cost Carriers See Atlanta as New Frontier

Low cost carriers Frontier and Spirit see Atlanta as a growth market.

  Atlanta as an airline market is changing.

For years, AirTran’s low cost and low fare structure kept local airfares in check.

But since Dallas-based Southwest has absorbed AirTran, prices here are going up.

And that means low cost carriers are seeing Atlanta as a new frontier.

“Clearly, the change in the competitive dynamics in the marketplace have benefited us,” says Daniel Shurz, a senior vice president with Denver-based Frontier Airlines. 

Read more
12:37 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Beazer Homes Reports Loss for 3Q

Despite an improving home building market, Atlanta-based Beazer Homes Thursday reported an overall loss for the third quarter of its fiscal year. 

Beazer says it earned $6.6-million dollars for the quarter that ended June 30th. But factor in a $19.8-million loss due to debt restructuring, and the national home builder fell short of analyst expectations.

Read more
Health & Science
4:12 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Atlanta At Center Of Ebola Containment Efforts

Luanna Korvah, a mental health clinician, walks toward her office at a small hospital in northern Liberia. This is where the first cases of the latest Ebola outbreak were recorded.
Jim Burress WABE News

More than 600 people have died from an Ebola outbreak that has spread across West Africa.

The latest outbreak reportedly began in February in Guinea, which borders Liberia. By March, some victims had crossed the boarder into the small town of Voinjama to seek treatment at Telewonyana hospital. 

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
1:52 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Delta's ATL Hub Helps Boost Strong Profits

Delta Air Lines Wednesday posted double-digit profit gains for the June quarter and beat Wall Street's profit expectations. 

Everything seems to be going right at the Atlanta-based airline, at least from a balance sheet perspective. More passengers boarded Delta aircraft, and they paid a higher premium to do so.  

Delta says it earned $889-million during April, May and June. That’s a 17-percent increase over the same period a year ago.  

During an investor webcast, Delta president Ed Bastian said Atlanta was one of the airline’s bright spots.

Read more
1:10 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Loudermilk Easily Beats Barr for 11th Dist. Seat

Barry Loudermilk thanks supporters at his victory celebration in Acworth Tuesday. He easily beat former Congressman Bob Barr.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

Former U.S. Representative and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr kept supporters waiting at his run-off party until a bit after 9 PM Tuesday. Even though he was trailing by some 30%, Barr put on a hopeful face, citing returns coming in slowly from Cobb County.

“We don’t want to make any announcements based on partial numbers,” he told the crowd. “We want to see what the actual numbers are, and there are still a lot that are coming in.”

Despite his strong name recognition, Barr’s hopes to return to Congress were dashed.

Read more
4:56 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Teavana Leaving Atlanta for Seattle

Since its founding in 1997, Teavana has called Atlanta home. But that's about to change.  Starbucks, which purchased Teavana for $620-million in 2012, is moving the retailer's operations to its Seattle base. 

“I think it was just a matter of time before they would consolidate those operations," says ITG restaurant analyst Steve West. "There’s really a lot more international potential for tea rather than coffee.”

Read more
3:47 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Delta Routing Planes Around Ukrainian Airspace

Credit Delta Air Lines

In the wake of the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over the Ukraine today, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says it's stopped routing flights through Ukrainian airspace out of "an abundance of caution." 

From Delta:

Read more
Real Estate
5:10 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Atlanta Housing Market Bucks National Trend

The hot real estate market is cooling across the nation, as buyers are becoming less willing to engage in bidding wars for available property. That’s according to real estate company Redfin.

But Atlanta? 

“Atlanta actually is different," says Nela Richardson, Redfin's Chief Economist. "We’re seeing big differences.”

Unlike most of the US, it’s still a sellers’ market here.

Richardson says there are several reasons , including low inventory of homes on the market. But the main reason: it’s still cheap to buy in Atlanta.

Read more
Health & Science
12:34 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Emory Healthcare, Select Medical Join as Partners

Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare has partnered with one of the nation’s largest outpatient rehabilitation providers.

The deal with Select Medical is billed as a way to improve “efficiency and effectiveness” for both.

Emory’s focus is heavy on inpatient rehabilitation in a hospital setting. Select Medical’s 23 area facilities focus on outpatient services.

So, of a patient from, say, Dacula comes to Emory for a brain injury, she could have to travel repeatedly back to Atlanta for follow-up rehabilitation.

Read more
3:05 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

"Guns Everywhere" Law an Added Cost to City

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The so-called “Guns Everywhere” bill went into effect this week.

It allows Georgians with a concealed carry permit to bring firearms into churches, libraries, restaurants and government buildings.

Early on, the law is already proving to be an added expense for Atlanta taxpayers.

City of Atlanta spokesman Carlos Campos confirms Mayor Kasim Reed is spending taxpayer money for private security at 24 city recreation centers.

Read more
7:22 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

The Good/Bad of Atlanta's Hotel Pricing

Credit Pablo Henderson

Metro Atlanta is among the most affordable markets in the nation for a hotel room, according to discount travel site Hotwire.com.

The site looked at the top-10 most reserved cities on its website, and ranked them by average nightly price.

Atlanta visitors pay about $75, the website says.  That puts it square in the middle--#5.

In comparison, Orlando is the cheapest -- $56 a night. St. Louis came in the most expensive, at $92.

Whether that’s good or bad depends on whom you ask.

Read more
Health & Science
8:02 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Map Shows HIV/AIDS Infection Rates High in Atlanta's Core

The AIDSvu Map shows HIV/AIDS infection rates by ZIP code. Parts of metro Atlanta are among those hardest hit by the virus.
Credit AIDSvu.org

Plotting HIV infection rates is essential to targeting the epidemic, says Emory epidemiologist Dr. Patrick Sullivan.  He’s behind the newly-released AIDSvu map, which visualizes HIV/AIDS rates by ZIP code.

“The ways to help avert new HIV infections is to intensify our efforts in those communities that are most heavily impacted by HIV," says Sullivan.

Read more
11:09 am
Thu June 26, 2014

IKEA to Implement "Living Wage" at 38 U.S. Locations

Workers at Atlanta's IKEA will be among those in 38 US stores to see a bump in minimum compensation.
Credit flickr.com

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, is changing the way it calculates wages for workers at its 38 U.S. locations.

The company says it will pay workers a living wage instead of a minimum one.

IKEA says the change will bump the average minimum hourly wage in its stores to $10.76. That’s more than $3.50 higher than the federal minimum wage.  

Rob Olson, president of IKEA US, tells WABE he sees it as a "Win-Win-Win." 

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
5:47 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Delta, Boeing on Opposite Sides of Export-Import Bank Debate

Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

The Federal Export-Import Bank is in place to finance international buyers' purchases of U.S. Goods.  Its charter is before Congress for re-authorization, which is proving to be a polarizing and politicized process. 

It's also put Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines sqarely against Boeing, the airline's largest aircraft supplier. 

Read more
4:47 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Turning Sweet Auburn into a Lifelong Community

Portions of the Sweet Auburn District are turning around, but residents hope to make it more of a so-called lifelong community. With some help from the Atlanta Regional Commission, that's happening. At least temporarily.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

On Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, the Atlanta Regional Commission, national experts and local volunteers will create a concept in the Sweet Auburn district known as tactical urbanism.

To learn more about the click on the group's Facebook page

Read more
3:20 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Tech Researchers Uncover Android Security Issue

Georgia Tech researchers have identified a potential “security weakness” in Android-based mobile phones.  

But Android users shouldn’t be too concerned.

That’s because no one has actually exploited the security weakness.

“In Android, it’s pretty hard," says Byoungyoung Lee, the Tech PhD student behind the research. 

Lee says the potential glitch happened as speed and performance of Android phones increased.

To fix it, one option could be to slightly slow down those processes. 

Read more
2:36 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Georgia Premiums on Federal Insurance Exchange Among Lowest

Dan Tzros was Georgia's first licensed navigator. In this archive picture, he attempts to enter the healthcare marketplace online portal.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Georgians are paying some of the lowest premiums in the nation for insurance on the federal healthcare marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the federal Dept. of Health and Human Services.

  The data compared 35 states that opted to let the federal government run their exchanges. 

Read more
9:08 am
Sun June 8, 2014

Summer Road Construction Season Ramping Up

Credit Credit: Indiana Public Media / http://bit.ly/16wKUba

Roadwork this weekend caused backups across the metro area.  

Get used to it.

The summer road construction season is just beginning.  

Roadwork is a year-round proposition for G-DOT. But it really picks up when the weather warms, says spokeswoman Natalie Dale.

Some projects are so large, they can’t be finished in one weekend. That includes a $13-million rehab of a 17-mile stretch of I-285 between Paces Ferry Road and Camp Creek Parkway. 

Read more
5:34 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

ATL's Friday Commute: What's Up With That?

Credit WABE

If it's Friday, and it's the afternoon, there's a good chance you’re stuck in traffic.  

But there’s an equally good chance you weren’t stuck in traffic earlier the same morning.  In a word, Atlanta's Friday traffic is enigmatic.  

For commuter Stephanie Saxon, Friday is the best of drives.  It’s the worst of drives.

“I shouldn’t divulge how fast I drive," she laughs as she talks about her quicker-than-normal Friday AM trek. 

Read more
11:52 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Take That, Seattle: Atlanta No. 2 for Electric Cars

2014 Nissan LEAF

File this one under the categories of, “Who knew?” and “Really?”

Atlanta just beat environmentally-conscious Seattle for the number two spot for use of electric cars, according to IHS Automotive as reported by the Wall Street Journal.   

This ranking will make some ponder if Atlanta has suddenly become  the land of tree hug-ery, where we’ll will pay a hefty window sticker premium to blow off the corner gas station.

… not exactly.

Read more
Atlanta's LGBT Community
12:03 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Transgender Community Asks for Apology, not Jail, Following MARTA Attack

Two uniformed MARTA Police Dept. officers were present at Tuesday's town hall forum addressing a recent attack of two transgender people on a MARTA train. Some feel officers failed to do enough to protect the two women.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

Members of Atlanta’s transgender community say they want an apology from - and not jail time for - two men accused of attacking two trans women on a MARTA train.

Read more
3:48 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

GSU Economist: "Peach State Bets Gingerly on Growth"

GSU economist Rajeev Dhawan presents his quarterly economic forecast.
Credit Courtesy: Georgia State University

Gingerly.  It’s an adverb that means in a careful or cautious manner. 

And it’s how GSU economist Rajeev Dhawan characterizes the near-term growth of the economy on both the national and local fronts.   

Some of that tepidness comes from concern over when the Fed will raise interest rates.

Speaking at his quarterly economic forecast Thursday,  Dhawan predicted:

Read more
3:04 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Atlanta No. 16 on Fit City Index

An array of recreational opportunities, like the BeltLine project, helped Atlanta's index ranking.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

A new ranking puts Atlanta high on the list of healthy, fit metro areas. With a score of 56 out of 100, the 28-county metro region earned the 16th spot

“Atlanta’s doing pretty well," says Georgia State University’s Walt Thompson, who co-authored the American Fitness Index. Thompson says the City of Atlanta, specifically, has expanded offerings that promote health. That helped our ranking.

Read more
9:22 am
Sat May 24, 2014

100 Profiles of Poverty in Pictures

Chanda Baptist holds her three-year-old daughter Journey. Until a few weeks ago, the mother and daughter lived in their car. Now, they call a modest apartment in College Park, 'home.'
Chris Ferguson WABE News

About one in five Georgians lives in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But what does poverty look like?    

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Georgia wants to capture that in pictures.  The organization is behind an exhibit called, “100 Profiles of Poverty,” which coincides with the organization’s 100th anniversary.  

One of the profiles is 42-year-old mother Chanda Baptist.

Read more
12:14 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Celestine's Centennial: Reporter. Columnist. Atlanta Icon.

Celestine Sibley came to the Atlanta Constitution in 1941, and worked for the paper (later the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) until her death in 1999.
Credit Courtesy: Atlanta Magazine

Celestine Sibley was more than just an Atlanta icon. She was a Southern icon.  

In fact, she was so representative of what it meant to be an Atlantan, the AJC featured her in an undated TV commercial.  

“We grew up reading Celestine Sibley at the breakfast table, just like countless other Atlantans," says Rich Eldredge, former AJC reporter, columnist with Atlanta Magazine, and editor of the 2001 book: "Celestine Sibley Reporter.”

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
3:37 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Virgin Atlantic to Service HJIA

Virgin Atlantic will begin servicing Atlanta on Oct. 26th.
Credit Courtesy: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic, the British airline known for its unique style, will soon fly to Atlanta.  

The move is the result of a partnership formed in January with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, according to a press release

Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. 

Under the deal, Delta will take over one of Virgin’s two daily flights between Los Angeles International and London-Heathrow.  It marks the first time Delta’s served London out of LAX with nonstop service.

Read more
Primary Election Night
1:13 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Michelle Nunn Promises Bipartisanship, Civility

Nunn supporter LaTonya McClain cheers Tuesday night as her candidate, Democrat Michelle Nunn, accepts the Democratic nomination for Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat.
Credit Jim Burress/WABE News

In Georgia's closely-watched U.S. Senate race, Democrat Michelle Nunn easily won her party’s nomination.

While Republicans maintain a stronghold in Georgia, Nunn supporter LaTonya McClain wonders if the GOP base is fed up.  

  “We [Georgians] hold steady to our guns and our habits and what we believe in, but at some point in time, when things don’t work, we’re ready for change.”

Michelle Nunn told the crowd she will work across party lines to be that change.

Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, also said she’ll follow her father’s advice:

Read more
Health & Science
6:08 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Truvada and the Question of PrEP

Truvada from Gilead Sciences.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week certain people who are HIV-negative should take medication used to treat those who are HIV-positive.

The concept is called “PrEP,” for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.  Many say it’s the closest thing yet to a cure for HIV.

Even so, PrEP remains controversial, even in communities highly affected by the virus.   

That doesn’t faze 4o year-old Eric McCulley, who is gay and HIV-negative.

Read more