Broadcast news veteran Joe Root dies at 89

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A man who spent his life in Mississippi broadcasting, most recently as the camera operator for WLBT’s Skycopter 3 helicopter, has died.

A family member says Joe Root died early Monday morning.

Joe was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and joined WLBT in 1955. He worked at the station in a variety of roles, including production supervisor and program director. In 1972, he joined WAPT, where he had worked his way up to station manager by the mid-1980s. He also worked at WJTV.

In the late 1990s, Joe was hired by Mercury Aviation to serve as a camera operator and maintenance technician for Skycopter 3, which debuted on WLBT in 1998.

He was at the controls as the chopper’s cameras captured images of breaking news across Mississippi and sometimes beyond.

The video he and pilot Coyt Bailey recorded in August 2005 gave the world its first impression of how catastrophic the damage was from Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

They continued to make trips to the coast and to Louisiana for weeks, documenting the aftermath and the rebuilding process.

Joe grew up in Jackson and was curious about broadcasting from an early age.

The late, legendary Bert Case of WLBT often said Joe had done and could do any job in the broadcasting business.

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