Friday, September 12, 2014

Atlanta Press Club presents 30 history lessons for us Yankees who ain't from around here.

As part of the Atlanta Press Club's 50th anniversary celebrations, they are searching for Atlanta's favorite news stories over the past 50 years. Throughout the summer, people submitted their favorite news stories from the Atlanta area, which were narrowed down by a panel of Atlanta Press Club members.

My wife Kristin and I moved to Dunwoody in 1996 from Chicago, therefore we personally missed much of this history but I thought the articles were interesting enough to share, though they somehow missed one of my favorites.

1964 – 1969
Who’s Out of Step in Atlanta (1964) By Eugene Patterson for The Atlanta Constitution
Eugene Patterson’s work won the Pulitzer Prize and drew widespread attention to the Civil Rights Movement as it played out locally, statewide and nationally. This is one such column urging restaurant owners to desegregate their establishments.

Nobel Prize Reminds Us (1964) By Ralph McGill for The Atlanta Constitution
This story represents the power of Ralph McGill, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution. In this piece, McGill issues a call that still resonates today about personal choice, respect and Atlanta’s legacy. 

1970 – 1979
Maid in Atlanta (1971) by Anne Siddons for Atlanta Magazine
Long before best-selling book The Help, Siddons examined the real lives of Buckhead’s domestic workers. Siddons went on to become a bestselling author, writing Downtown about her early years with Atlanta magazine.

Police Cheating Scandal (1977) by Richard Belcher for Fox5 Atlanta
In what became one of Atlanta’s biggest news events of the late 1970s, WAGA-TV reporter Richard Belcher and producer Michael Carlin broke the story of four black officers accusing Police Commissioner Reginald Eaves of orchestrating cheating on promotional exams. 

Underpaid in America (1979) by Paul Lieberman and Chester Goolrick for The Atlanta Constitution
This series, which focuses on the minimum wage and the related issue of immigration, speaks powerfully to the growing gap between economic strata in Georgia and beyond. 

1980 – 1989
They’re Killing Our Children (1981) by Boyd Lewis for WABE
Boyd Lewis brought tragedy to light. This report recognized a frightening pattern: the unsolved murders of 20 black children, and demonstrated the overwhelming fear it brought upon Atlanta’s African-American community and their desperation for justice. 

Best Minor League Team in History (1985) by Ted Rubenstein for Southwind later airing on WABE
For more than 60 years, The Atlanta Crackers were the most beloved and winningest team in Atlanta. This nostalgic story transcends the years to celebrate Atlanta’s history and its love of baseball. 

The Color of Money (1988) by Bill Dedman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This is a powerful and exhaustively reported four-day series of more than 20 stories demonstrating that banks rarely offered credit in Atlanta’s middle income black and integrated neighborhoods. The series and its conclusions are fundamentally data-based and explore every aspect of redlining in Atlanta.

Taping of Lawyer-Client Conversations Page 1 and Page 2 (1989) by Trisha Renaud for Fulton County Daily Report
Our criminal justice system depends on lawyers being able to speak to their clients in confidence. But in 1989, Trisha Renaud uncovered a story about the Douglas County jail, where officials of the sheriff’s department were regularly listening in on lawyer-client conversations.

When AIDS Comes Home (1989) by Steve Sternberg and Michael Schwarz for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“When AIDS Comes Home” was the culmination of 18 months of reporting and photography by Steve Sternberg and Michael Schwarz. The story focused on 33-year-old Tom Fox of Atlanta and the battle he waged against AIDS with the support of his family and a community of friends who were also infected with the virus — all of them determined to pack a lifetime into a few months of borrowed time. 

1990 – 1999
Inside The Southern Co.: Discord, Deception, Death (1991) by Rex Smith and Emory Thomas for Atlanta Business Chronicle
This piece dives into one of the South’s most influential and secretive economic engines. The picture it presents serves as cautionary tale for those who would take the machinations of Southern Company lightly.  

Death of a Newspaper Page 1Page 2, Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9 (1992) by Ed Bean for Georgia Trend Magazine 
The most important development on the Atlanta journalism scene in the 1990s was the New York Times Co.’s bold decision to challenge Cox Enterprises for supremacy in the northern suburbs. The resulting battle between the Times-owned Gwinnett Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution resulted in what likely was the South’s last great newspaper war. Bean’s 1992 article looks at how the war was waged and why the New York Times Co. ultimately walked away from its ambitious expansion plans in Atlanta.

Failing the Children (1992) by Michael Hinkelman and Emory Thomas Jr for Atlanta Business Chronicle
This piece seems to touch on just about every aspect of Atlanta Public School’s failures, including board governance, construction, food service and teacher dismissals. It also includes a critical look at business community’s failure to truly commit to the school system.

Good Money After Bad (1994) by Julie Hairston and Michael Hinkelman for Atlanta Business Chronicle
This is a comprehensive review of mismanagement and corruption at the Atlanta Housing Authority. This piece was instrumental in creating a clean slate for the arrival of Renee Glover, who would become the next Atlanta Housing Authority CEO.

Used To Being Boss, Ted Turner is Mulling His Time Warner Role (1995) by Anita Sharpe for The Wall Street Journal
This piece explained the details behind the merge of Turner Broadcasting into Time Warner Inc. The piece ponders Ted Turner’s diminished role, the industry and the strategic imperatives behind the merger.

The Damage That Naming a Suspect Does to the Innocent (1996) by Ann Woolner for Daily Report
On July 30, 1996, the media descended on Richard Jewell, the security guard at Centennial Olympic Park hailed for discovering a bomb, then suspected of planting it. That week Ann Woolner wondered whether Jewel might be innocent. Attached is her resulting opinion column.

East Lake Golf Club (1997) by Jimmy Roberts for ABC Sports
This is the story of how East Lake Golf Club was turned from an urban disaster into a nationally recognized jewel. It reports how a city and a developer changed a dark nest of crime and poverty into a beacon of hope and opportunity. 

Georgia’s Forgotten Children (1999) by Jane Hansen for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The impact of this story continues to resonate 15 years later as the state grapples with a child welfare system that has proved invulnerable to reform efforts.  The debate these stories fuelled and the problems they revealed make them a milestone in Georgia journalism. 

2000 – 2010
Exec Finding Light After Dark Days (2000) by Maria Saporta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Back in 2000, depression among CEOs was never discussed or even acknowledged. In a ground-breaking move, Larry Gellerstedt III – in a story that took about six months to come together – was willing to talk about his intense struggles with depression. The story helped to remove the stigma of depression in corporate circles and make it more acceptable for CEOs to seek help for mental illness.

Killing Arc A ‘Bitter Pill’ for Barnes Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 (2002) by Sarah Rubenstein and Walter Woods for Atlanta Business Chronicle
These four stories on the Northern Arc, a $2.2 billion road that was meant to be former Governor Roy Barnes’ legacy to Georgia, reveal serious ethics questions about the Barnes administration and a number of other state officials. The articles become a factor in Barnes failed reelection bid. 

Well Known, Well Made and Well Liked: The Story of Atlantic Steel (2005) by Kate Sweeney for WABE
Atlantic Station is a modern mixed-use district with shops, townhouses, office buildings and park space. Yet for nearly a century, the land that makes up this modern neighborhood was the site of a different kind of city landmark: Atlantic Steel. WABE’s Kate Sweeney spoke with six former employees of Atlantic Steel and its union about what it was like both to work there and to experience its demise.

The Talented Dr. Krist (2006) by Steve Fenessy for Atlanta Magazine
This piece follows a man convicted of kidnapping and burying an Emory student alive, as he manages to reinvent himself as a small-town doctor. The piece was selected for the 2007 edition of the Best American Crime Writing.  

Coretta Scott King: Reserved But Never Reticent (2006) by Cynthia Tucker for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This column presents a rare unguarded glimpse of one of The South’s most treasured women: Coretta Scott King. 

Why Is Genarlow Wilson In Prison? (2006) by Chandra Thomas Whitfield for Atlanta Magazine
This is a story of race, of conscience, of community, of unlimited resources and of a mother’s love. It lays out events and the law clearly without being sensational. 

“You Have Thousands of Angels Around You” (2007) by Paige Williams for Atlanta Magazine
This article shares the tale of an orphaned teenage refugee from Burundi and the Atlanta family and community who gave her a second chance in life. 

Cheating our Children: Surge in CRCT Results Raises ‘Big Red Flag’ (2008) by John Perry and Heather Vogell for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reignited the national debate over standardized test scores as the primary measure of improving public schools when its reporting led to an investigation which found that 44 out of 56 Atlanta schools cheated on the 2009 CRCT. 

The Fall of House Speaker Glenn Richardson (2009) by Dale Russell for Fox5 Atlanta
It was the story that led to the resignation of Georgia’s second most powerful public official, a total shake-up in Georgia’s legislative leadership, and the promise of strong ethics reform throughout the state.
2010 – Present
Around the Clock at Waffle House (2010) by Besha Rodell for Creative Loafing
This is a feature on one of Atlanta’s favorite establishments. The article paints a vibrant picture of a day inside the Waffle House on Cheshire Bridge Road.

The Other 284 Days
 by Rebecca Burns (2013) for Atlanta Magazine

This story paints a gritty, yet empathetic, picture of the stark contrast between Turner Field, Home of the Atlanta Braves, and the impoverished and neglected neighborhood that surrounds it.

1 comment:

Pattie Baker said...

Thank you for sharing this. I look forward to reading.