Aubrey Morris is a native of Roswell. As a teen, he was the Roswell correspondent for the Atlanta Journal AND The Atlanta Constitution. He graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in journalism at the urging of Ralph McGill. As a student there, he was editor of the Red and Black and the yearbook, The Pandora as well as free lancing for The Athens Banner Herald.
After graduating, he went to work for The Atlanta Journal. He spent 13 years there as a police reporter and honed his reporting skills covering major stories such as the Winecoff Hotel Fire on December 7, 1946. Secretly, Morris wanted to work in radio. In 1957, WSB program director Elmo Ellis wanted to add a news department to the station. He called the paper and the city editor gave Aubrey a great reference, but added: “he has a terrible nasal voice”. And thus was born, Atlanta’s first radio newsman; his voice became, according to Ellis, “the best known voice in Georgia broadcasting.”
Aubrey Morris could get interviews when no one else could. Sweden’s’ King Gustav must have been surprised when Morris tracked him down on the golf course during a visit to Atlanta. Morris got into Emperor Haile Selassie’s limo at the Martin Luther King gravesite to get an interview, but forgot to turn on his tape recorder. He still gave an award winning report. Mayor Ivan Allen took only one reporter to Paris after the disastrous Orly Airport crash in 1962: Aubrey Morris.
He interviewed every US President from Truman to Reagan; however, there is one that stands out. Morris walked into the restroom at White Columns early one morning and said “hey Jimmy”. President Jimmy Carter, there to make a guest appearance on “Good Morning America” from the WSB TV studio replied, from one of the stalls, “hey Aubrey”. Morris ran back upstairs to radio getting his interview with Carter on the air first.
Aubrey was the premier Atlanta radio newsman. He seemingly had sources everywhere and seemed to be everywhere at once. The police and fire departments would call HIM with news stories. Often he reported live, on the spot from his automobile. On a rare icy Atlanta morning he could not get out of his driveway. This led to his on air warnings for Atlanta’s to “stay home. Do not attempt to go downtown. It’s too dangerous”. Listeners heeded his warning. Morris brought Atlanta to a standstill.
Aubrey was news and editorial director at WSB radio for more than 30 years. He retired in 1987. Among the accolades bestowed upon Morris: his portrait on the Demosthenian Literary Society Wall of Fame at UGA, The John F. Drewery Award, and countless broadcast awards.
He was the man who brought newspaper to radio in Atlanta.
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