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FOX 5 says goodbye to Paul Yates and Ira Spradlin

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FOX 5 photojournalist Ira Spradlin and reporter Paul Yates FOX 5 photojournalist Ira Spradlin and reporter Paul Yates

They have been part of the FOX 5 family now for the past four decades and Friday, we said goodbye to two near-institutions at the station. Paul Yates and Ira Spradlin, the duo who have covered Georgia politics and other happenings around Georgia, are retiring.

Paul joined FOX 5 in 1973 and wore many hats. He filled the role of floor director, film and video tape editor not to mention producer before finally settling into his true calling of reporting in 1978. In his storied career, he covered everything from political storms to natural ones. But it was his deep knowledge of Georgia politics that has made him standout.

WATCH: FOX 5's Paul Yates' last story on FOX 5 News

For the first few months every year, he and photojournalist Ira Spradlin were exiled to the Gold Dome to cover the movers and shakers who form policy in the state. Many state and even federal legislatures will recognize the pair. Some have commented to FOX 5 management about their consistently fair coverage.

Spradlin joined FOX 5 in 1976 as a technician, but found his niche in our newsroom two years later as a photojournalist. These were back in the days of film. He was honored at the end of this last legislative session by both the House and Senate for his dedication to covering Georgia politics for the past 37 years.

By the numbers

We crunched some numbers and did some estimates on how Paul and Ira have spent their time at FOX 5:

- Nearly 1,500 days covering a legislative session
- Nearly 35,000 stories
- Nearly 25,000 live shots
- Over 250,000 phone conversations

Okay, we cannot verify these numbers, but we have to express their impact on us here at FOX 5. Because we can count the rolls of film, miles of tape, pounds of reporter notepads or the number of blue pens used, but we truly cannot express how they have impacted our personal lives with their grace, professionalism and dedication.

Well-wishes for Paul and Ira

FOX 5 anchor Russ Spencer wrote on his Facebook page:
Godspeed to 80 years of experience retiring from Fox 5 today. Paul Yates (40 years at WAGA) and Ira Spradlin (38) can never be replaced. Enjoy the next chapter, gentlemen. You earned it.

FOX 5 reporter Portia Bruner wrote on her Facebook page:
IRA Spradlin shot his last story today. After 38 years at FOX 5, he's getting rid of his gear and reveling in retirement. And after 40 years at FOX 5, Paul Yates is ditching deadlines and dodging the Gold Dome as he gets ready to write the next chapter if his own life story. It's been a pleasure gentlemen. Here's to 78 years of great journalism! Miss you already.

FOX 5 reporter Aungelique Proctor wrote:
Paul has the cleanest desk in the newsroom and the cleanest car in the parking lot. He is extremely organized and has been an asset to our newsroom for decades. Enjoy your next phase of life. Congrats, Aungelique

If you have a remembrance for FOX 5 reporter Paul Yates or photojournalist Ira Spradlin or if you just want to wish them well, go to and leave your thought.

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