Tanya Ott

Tanya Ott




Tanya Ott is a part-time editor at WBHM and instructor for the University of Alabama's journalism department. She hosts a podcast on business strategy and emerging technologies and trains public radio newsrooms around the country. Over her 30+ year career, she has reported for Marketplace, NPR and other networks and worked at local stations in Florida, Colorado, Georgia and Alabama, including as WBHM's news director from 2002-2013.

Police Positively Identify Aniah Blanchard’s Remains

The remains found Monday in Macon County have been positively identified as those of Aniah Blanchard, according to the Auburn Police Division.

District Attorney Drops Charges Against Marshae Jones

Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington announced Wednesday afternoon that she has dropped the manslaughter case against Marshae Jones, the Alabama woman who was charged in the death of her fetus when she was shot in the stomach during an argument.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance Accuses Trump Administration of Holding Migrants in Concentration Camps

Allegations that children are living in squalid conditions, forced to sleep on concrete floors with limited access to bathrooms and no way to brush their teeth or bathe, have prompted calls for action and pushback from officials with Customs and Border Protection.

Jefferson County Bankruptcy Round-Up

After multiple corruption trials, years of hand wringing and intense negotiations with creditors, Jefferson County has been cleared to exit municipal bankruptcy The $4.2 billion bankruptcy was the largest in U.S. history until Detroit’s filing earlier this year. This is the collection of WBHM’s stories to date.

John Archibald

In his column this week, John Archibald of the Birmingham News and AL.COM writes that the Jefferson County Courthouse has more drama than CSI, but that the best drama is not in the courtroom but in County Commission Chambers.

John Archibald: Unrest at the Jefferson County Commission

There’s a lot of unrest in the Jefferson County Commission these days. The commission forced out its top attorney, then convinced a state Supreme Court justice to take the job. But then, he promptly withdraws.

1963 Church Bombing Seeks Compensation

The lone survivor of a 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls is seeking millions of dollars in compensation and says she will not accept a top congressional award to honor the victims.

John Archibald: Why Jeffco Is Paying Attorney $393K To Do Nothing

Jefferson County spends many millions of dollars a year on legal fees. From the $4.2 billion bankruptcy case to challenges to the county’s occupational tax, Jeffco pays a lot for the lawyers is employs. But this week it put the top in-house attorney on paid leave.

Commissioners Question Decision on County Attorney Jeff Sewell

Several Jefferson County commissioners say they still don’t know why commission president David Carrington decided to place county attorney Jeff Sewell on paid administrative leave.

Common Core, Part 2: Implementation a Challenge

By 2016, students in 45 states and the District of Columbia will be learning the same things, at the same time, under the same set of standards. But it won’t be easy to implement the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Remembering Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert has joined his friend Gene Siskel in the balcony in the sky, and according to WBHM blogger Billy Ray Brewton film criticism has died along with him.

Old Questions about Airport Death and New Questions about Auburn Football

It’s been almost two weeks since a flight information display tipped over at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport, killing a boy and injuring his family members. There are still many unanswered questions about the incident and new questions about possible NCAA violations in Auburn University’s football program.

John Archibald: Still Too Many Questions About Airport Tragedy

It’s been nearly a week since a large airport sign fell on a Kansas family traveling through Birmingham, killing a ten year old boy and injuring his mother and brothers. Since the accident there have been a lot of questions about why it happened, who is responsible and how authorities are responding.

John Archibald: Railroad Park Shooting and the Birmingham Barons

It’s been a bloody week in the Birmingham metro area with five violent deaths yesterday and the fatal shooting of a teenager at a popular downtown park.

School Accountability Act Either Brilliant Politics or Despicable Move

Republican legislators dropped a bomb last week with passage of a heavily revised School Accountability Act. Democrats pushed back with a legal challenge, and now the case may go to the State Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Might Dismantle Parts of Voting Rights Act

If the questions that came from U.S. Supreme Court justices yesterday are any indication, there’s a good chance Shelby County could prevail in its effort to challenge the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That’s just one of the stories grabbing local headlines this week.

When and Why Schools Resegregate

Since the 1970’s, federal court orders have governed how many Southern communities integrated their public schools. But new research shows, as those orders have been lifted, school districts are gradually resegregating. In part four of our series we look at why.

Cell Phones and Rape Take the Stage in Ruined

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked by war for decades, but most Americans know very little about the struggle. Two Birmingham-area theatre companies hope to change that. They’re staging an award-winning play that calls attention to the dark times in the Congo.

Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Voting Rights Act

Race is front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court today and so is Shelby County, Alabama. The county is suing the U.S. Justice Department, challenging a requirement that it get prior approval from the federal government to change voting laws or maps.

Clinton After Desegregation: A Small Southern Town’s Struggle With The Past

Half a century ago, the civil rights movement launched its legendary struggle for racial equality. Many of its biggest battles were fought here in the south and one of its greatest victories was overturning the federal law that allowed racially segregated schools. But now, 50 years on, studies show schools are resegregating, especially in the south. This week on WBHM, we ask: Why? And what does it mean for students?

John Archibald Visits Alabama’s Worst Cities

Birmingham News columnist outraged some readers with his list of Alabama’s Best and Worst Cities. He’s making amends by visiting some of the underdogs.

John Archibald: Don’t Forget Common Sense in Gun Debate

Gun violence and school safety are taking center stage in Alabama this month. First, the fatal shooting of a school bus driver in Midland City; now, charges against a man accused of holding several Chelsea Middle School girls at gunpoint in a school locker room. And that’s just the beginning…

Long Hostage Drama Over in Midland City, Alabama

The FBI says it will conduct a review of events leading up to the death of a South Alabama man who held a young boy hostage for nearly a week. Law enforcement officers stormed Jimmy Lee Dykes’ underground bunker in Midland City yesterday afternoon. They freed the five-year-old hostage, a boy identified as Ethan, and sources say they killed Dykes because they were convinced the child was in imminent danger. Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said late last night that Dykes was armed when officers entered the bunker to rescue Ethan.

Top 10 Places to Live in Alabama

What do you like about where you live? Maybe it’s your neighbors or the schools. A favorite restaurant or shop. Birmingham News columnist John Archibald has been crunching the numbers and his list of Top Ten Places to Live in Alabama.

UAB Close to Naming New President

UAB is close to naming a new president. Sources tell the Birmingham News that UAB Medical School Dean Ray Watts will get the job.

Hospital Never Events

Are you putting your life at risk when you go the hospital? It’s a question surgeon Marty Makary hears a lot and one he tackles in his new best-selling book titled “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.”

Jefferson County’s Closed-Door Bankruptcy Meetings

Jefferson County is trying desperately to exit municipal bankruptcy. Earlier this week commissioners met in closed-door sessions with their attorneys to presumably work on another plan to present to creditors. Meanwhile, sewer rates are skyrocketing in another nearby county.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil Rights Columnist Dies

Eugene Patterson garnered national attention for his moving column after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. A family spokesman says he died Saturday night, surrounded by family and friends at his Florida home. Patterson was 89.

Eden Rise

A small Black Belt town is the scene of a civil rights era killing and years later the defendant is brought to trial in a Birmingham federal court. Sounds like Alabama history, but it’s actually the plot Eden Rise, the first novel from award-winning historian Jeff Norrell.

State Officials Say School Safety a Priority

State officials say making schools safer is a top priority for the upcoming legislative session. More than a hundred people packed a school safety hearing Wednesday. But some communities aren’t waiting for the state to take action. They’re making moves of their own.

What’s Ahead for 2013?

We’ve closed out one year and are starting another. Seems like a good time to reflect on the big regional news of 2012 and look ahead to 2013. John Archibald says there’s one story that could rock the core of the state GOP.

The Fiscal Cliff Deal And Your Taxes

Wondering how the new fiscal cliff deal will hit your family budget? Here’s a breakdown of tax increases by salary.