Former NewsChannel 7 Journalist Passes Away

NORTH CAROLINA - A real television pioneer for female journalists has passed away.

Beth Lawrence Atkins is being remembered as a kind and strong woman.

The Vernon native was a very successful journalist including being one of the very first female television news reporters right here at NewsChannel seven back in the 70's. Beth was the pool reporter chosen to cover Florida's first televised trial in 1978, the Sandy Creek murder trial in Panama City.

Her professional coverage helped convince the Florida Supreme Court that its experiment with cameras in the courtroom should be permanent.

During that trial she met the love of her life, Florida Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Atkins. The Chief Justice had specially appointed Judge Atkins to preside over the trial.

They were married until his death in 1994