WABE reporter Burress is a proud native of Louisville, Kentucky (and an officially-commissioned Kentucky Colonel). He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wabash College in Indiana, and a master’s in Mass Communication from Murray State University in Kentucky. That's where Jim started his public radio career (WKMS-FM).
Jim moved to Atlanta to work on his PhD, but after a year away from reporting, he realized he preferred the newsroom to the classroom. He came to WABE in the spring of 2008 when there were just six people in the entire newsroom.
As a licensed pilot, Jim is fascinated by airplanes and aviation, which is why you’ll often hear him report on the commercial aviation industry.
In 2014, Jim wrote and produced WABE's first news documentary in more than a decade, "Stuck in the Bluff." He also traveled to Liberia to document the West African country's efforts to rebuild post civil-war, and happened to be at the same hospital, the same week, where the massive Ebola outbreak started.
Jim is a frequent contributor to the national show Marketplace, and his reports regularly air nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, and All Things Considered.
Jim has won numerous professional awards, including 1st place honors from both the Kentucky and Georgia Associated Press, top honors for "best radio documentary" and "best in class-radio" in the Society of Professional Journalists' Green Eyeshade Awards, and several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. In 2010, the Atlanta Press Club awarded Jim its radio “Award of Excellence” for his reporting on unlawful practices within the Atlanta Police Department, and again in 2012 for a joint project looking at special needs students attending Clayton County schools. The NLGJA -- The Association of LGBTQ Journalists -- awarded Jim the 2016 Al Nueharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism for his series of stories uncovering problems within the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. Jim uncovered that top health officials failed to spend millions of dollars in federal funds earmarked for HIV prevention, forcing them to return the money. Top Fulton County officials credit his reporting as being a catalyst for sweeping change.
But Jim's biggest prize came in 2001 when he won it all on the game show, "The Price is Right."