Stan Atkinson has been the most popular TV news figure in the nation's 21st - largest television market for more than 20 years. The Sacramento Bee called him "The Man Who Owns Sacramento." |
Atkinson is the principal news anchor for KOVR 13 on the 5, 6 & 10 p.m. weekday newscasts with Jennifer Whitney; Weathercaster Dave Bender; and Sportscaster John Henk.
Atkinson is an award-winning reporter who has traveled regularly to the world's most turbulent places to bring a deeper insight to the local evening news. He has been shot at in Cambodia, chased down by a Soviet helicopter gunship in Afghanistan, and held up and robbed by leftist guerrillas in El Salvador.
In January 1996 Atkinson covered the presence of U.S. Forces in Bosnia.
In May 1997 he made his ninth trip to Hong Kong since 1961 to report on the historic reunification with Communist China.
Over the past decade he has slipped across Marxist-controlled borders with resistance fighters to produce documentaries in Angola, Afghanistan and Cambodia.
Atkinson reported from Baghdad just before "Operation Desert Storm" began, and from Kuwait a month after it was liberated. In October, 1993, he covered the collapse of a nation into anarchy as he reported from Somalia. In April, 1994, Atkinson covered the remarkable transition of South Africa, as all of its people voted in the country's first all-race, democratic election. That was Atkinson's 3rd assignment in South Africa since 1984.
Atkinson also has a long history with Vietnam. He was there twice, in 1961 and 1962, when it was still "The Dirty Little War" in the south.
In 1987, he took former Green Beret Captain B.T. Collins back to Vietnam. They were the first Americans post-war, to drive across the country from Hanoi to the Delta, and to the very spot where Collins lost an arm and a leg in an ambush 20 years before. Atkinson later joined with Collins as the principal fund raiser who put the drive into erecting the 2.2 million dollar California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the State Capitol grounds.
Atkinson studied journalism at Pasadena City College prior to U.S. Army service in the early 1950's. He was one of 25 finalists from 200 journalist applicants selected for the prestigious Ford Foundation Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 1967.
He has won three Emmys for each of his two trips inside Afghanistan, and another for a documentary he produced in Somalia in 1981.
Atkinson has helped raise more than six million dollars locally for area agencies and charities. He is the recipient of the United Way's Humanitarian of the Year award, the National Philanthropy Association's Volunteer Fund-Raiser of the Year award, and has been honored as the Boy Scouts of America's Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
This year the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce named Stan "Sacramentan of the Year."
Atkinson is the 1989 winner of the George Washington Medal for Individual Achievement from the Freedom Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He is also a recipient of the World Affairs Council Award for International Reporting, and the Albert and Mary Lasker Award for Medical Journalism.
Atkinson received the Distinguished Service Medal in 1986 from the F.N.L.A., an Angolan Anti-Communist Guerrilla Group with whom he had traveled in the bush in 1985. He also received a similar commendation from the Afghan Freedom Fighters. Atkinson had been honored by the state legislature; the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors; Sacramento City Council and the Congressional Record.
Atkinson has been a documentary producer, writer and director for David Wolper Productions, a reporter and anchorman for NBC, Los Angeles, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, he is a familiar face and name statewide.
Atkinson serves on the boards of: Mercy Foundation, International Medical Corps, People Reaching Out, FamiliesFirst, Catholic Social Services, Valley Vision, the Advisory Board of California State University, Sacramento and the WEAVE endowment board. He is also an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Sacramento.
He is the father of four sons: Brad, Mike, Lance and Alex; and a daughter Sarah. Lance died suddenly of undetermined causes in April, 1994. In October 1996 Atkinson married the former Kristen McCann. He is the proud grandfather of ten.
Atkinson is celebrating 46 years in television and has been elected to the National Television of Academy of Arts and Sciences "Silver Circle" as a television pioneer.
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Stan Remembers: Undercover, under fire in Afghanistan
Stan Remembers: Saddam out of control, Kuwait in flames
Stan Remembers: Father Hoa and his little army
Stan Remembers: On the road with LBJ
Stan Remembers: Way news is covered has changed since the Donner Ridge forest fire
Interview with the madman, Charles Manson
1977 Cuba a mixture of heaven and hell
Vietnam and BT Collins, fates intertwined
Dangerous days covering El Salvador
The tragedy in Cambodia
Sometimes covering the news risks your safety