NBC TV Reporter Retiring After 43 Years

Jon Shirek was celebrated as an 'Atlanta legend' who had an "incredible career" as he retired after 43 years of reporting in Atlanta.

Long-time reporter Jon Shirek has retired. After more than 43 years of reporting in Atlanta, cementing his place as "one of the best writers, best journalists and the kindest person in the Atlanta television market," Shirek, a veteran reporter at NBC affiliate 11Alive (WXIA-TV), retired on Friday, Feb. 23.

Shirek stepped away from his reporting duties quietly, reportedly requesting that 11Alive not make a big deal about his retirement, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In a statement, 11Alive said, "If there is a retrospective, tribute or reflective piece. Jon is the go-to guy. We also know him as a compassionate and loving co-worker."

Shirek began his reporting career while attending the University of Florida in Gainesville when he began working at The Independent Florida Alligator newspaper, WRUF-AM, and WTLV-TV in Jacksonville, according to his 11Alive biography. After graduating and a stint at WTLV, he moved to Atlanta in 1980 and began working at NBC affiliate WXIA, where he remained until his retirement and became known for his deep knowledge of Atlanta history.

Celebrating Shirek and his decades-long career, John Pruitt, who worked with Shirek at 11Alive for several years, called him a "thoughtful reporter whose narratives often had a poetic quality." Paul Crawley, who spent 36 years at 11Alive, revealed that Shirek earned the newsroom nickname "the Poet," noting that "his writing was just beautiful. It's hard to write well on deadline in television, but Jon had a way of doing it even if it was just a minute and a half long. He was probably the best I ever worked with." Meanwhile, Jeff Hullinger, a former 11Alive anchor who worked with Shirek for 14 years, applauded Shirek's "intellect, empathy and understanding of Atlanta metro showed every night in his reporting."

Many of Shirek's newsroom co-workers also celebrated him upon his retirement, with 11Alive journalist Cody Alcorn writing on X (formerly Twitter) that "an Atlanta legend is retiring today." Alcorn said he was "honored to have had the opportunity to call Jon Shirek a colleague" as he applauded Shirek's "incredible career. A well deserved retirement. Enjoy, not having any more deadlines Jon." Reporter Maria Martin said, "Our newsroom is losing an extraordinary journalist...Jon you had a legendary career, but you're an even better person. The best is yet to come. Happy retirement my friend."