Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has tapped television news reporter Rick Journey to serve as his director of communications. Former Birmingham City Schools spokeswoman Chanda Temple also has taken the position of public information officer.
“Our administration’s focus on servant leadership by putting people first starts with transparency and providing a clear message to our citizens and our employees that we will serve with the public’s best interest at the core of our work,” Woodfin said in a statement. “I am pleased to have Rick and Chanda be part of providing that clear message and joining an administration committed to core values of transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and customer service.”
Journey is best known as a reporter and anchor for WBRC FOX6 News, where he worked from 1992 to 2012, and again from 2015 to 2017. In the 1990s, he served as the station’s Tuscaloosa bureau chief and later its Montgomery bureau chief before becoming a co-host of the morning talk show Good Day Alabama in 1999.
He left WBRC in 2012 to form his own communications and consulting firm, Rick Journey 360 LLC. In 2014, it was reported that his was one of two public relations firms that had been paid by Jefferson County to advertise that Cooper Green Mercy Hospital had become an urgent care facility — a move criticized by several county commissioners because the contract had not been approved by the full commission.
Also in 2014, Journey served as the campaign manager for Paul DeMarco’s unsuccessful bid for Alabama’s 6th congressional district seat. DeMarco was defeated in a primary runoff by Gary Palmer, who would go on to win the seat.
Journey rejoined WBRC in 2015 as a full-time reporter, saying in a statement that his “experiences outside of television have enhanced my skills and passion for storytelling.”
Temple, another longtime journalist, worked as spokesperson for Birmingham City Schools from 2015 to 2017. Before that, she served as director of public relations for the Birmingham Public Library from 2012 to 2015, during which time she was named one of “20 Women Who Make a Difference in the City” by Birmingham Magazine. Temple also worked as a reporter at The Birmingham News from 1996 to 2012.
Woodfin also announced that Nigel Roberts and Griffin Lassiter will serve as directors of community development and economic development, respectively. Both Roberts and Lassiter previously served as deputy directors in their respective departments. They will replace outgoing directors John Colon and Lisa D. Cooper.
Temple will begin work Dec. 20; Journey will begin Dec. 29.