JAMES ALAN SUTHERLAND, 56
ATLANTA, GA. - James Alan Sutherland, born: July 6, 1956 Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma, son of: David and Katherine Sutherland (Bartow, Fl); died: May 27, 2013 Atlanta, GA at Grady Hospital from complications from a pulmonary embolism.
Jim was born July 6, 1956 at Ardmore Air Force Base, Oklahoma and spent his young years growing up in different parts of the world, including France and Germany. Jim graduated from Bartow High School, Bartow, Florida in 1974 and the University of Florida in 1980 where he majored in Journalism and minored in History.
Jim was a renowned television journalist, starting his career at WTSP-TV (1981-1984) where he was an I-Team photographer and producer, earning three Emmy awards, three UPI Investigative Awards, the Livingston Award and the Roy Howard Award. During his time at WTSP-TV, he produced "Prisoners of the Harvest", a documentary about modern day slavery and the enslavement of migrant farm workers in Florida. For this work he was awarded Journalism's highest award, the Peabody Award in 1983. As a result of this reporting, four men were convicted of slavery in Federal Court.
Later Jim worked as an International Editor at CNN in Atlanta (1984-1989), Producer at CNN's LA Bureau and at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles (1989-1991) where he received four Emmy nominations in one year, as an Assignment Editor at WSB-TV in Atlanta (1991-1993), Executive Producer at the Weather Channel (1993-1998), and as a Producer at Orbis Broadcast Group (1998-1999).
From 2001 to 2004 Jim was International Editor at CNN, where he was called upon to manage coverage from Iraq and Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. From 2004 to present Jim was Executive Producer at Jim Sutherland Media in Atlanta Georgia.
Jim was a single father, and during his life Sutherland traveled with his family internationally, played trumpet as part of the jazz scenes in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, and continued to take on causes for social and political activists unjustly treated, such as medical marijuana activist Dana Beal and human rights abuses in El Salvador. He used his minor in History to produce a number of documentaries on subjects such as the Highland Clearances and WWII. Much of Sutherland's work is viewable on youtube.
In his later years, Sutherland became a Social Media activist, with followers from around the world interacting on a variety of topics. As one follower put it upon hearing of Jim's death, "I will miss Jim. It is hard to imagine that I won't be reading his quips and comments anymore. He was a lovely man. I wish I had had the chance to meet him in life. We grew friendly over the last couple of years on face book and chatted about all sorts of stuff. He was very supportive and I considered him a friend over the Atlantic!"
Jim Sutherland is survived by his son James Alan Sutherland II of Atlanta, Georgia, his parents David E. and Katherine Sutherland of Bartow Florida, brother David E. Sutherland II and his wife Sarah of Atlanta, sister Susan Wilcockson and her husband Joel of Lakeland, Florida, sister Holly Ann Sutherland of Columbus Georgia, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Services will be held with the family receiving friends Saturday June 1, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church, 310 S. Broadway Ave, Bartow, FL from 10AM to 11AM. Funeral services will begin at 11:00AM. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation at
www.SMAFoundation.org in Jim's name.
Whidden-McLean Funeral Home - Bartow
650 E. Main Street
Bartow, FL 33830
Published in Ledger from May 29 to May 30, 2013