Atlanta Press Club, Georgia First Amendment Foundation Issue Joint Statement on Fannin County Arrest of Journalist


UPDATE: The Georgia First Amendment Foundation and the Atlanta Press Club have issued a new statement to reflect the dropped charges against a journalist in Fannin County who was jailed for requesting public records. Read the new statement here.

Fannin joint statement FINAL

Announcing Our 2016 Summer Interns!

The Atlanta Press Club is proud to announce our 2016 summer internship recipients… 


Asia Burns, Samford University

Paired with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Miranda Hawkins, Georgia State University

Paired with WABE


Jordan Hill, University of Georgia

Paired with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Sierra Hubbard, Kennesaw State University

Paired with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Megan Reed, Berry College

Paired with WSB Radio


Joseph Reisigl, University of Georgia

Paired with News Radio 106.7


Will Robinson, University of Georgia

Paired with the Atlanta Business Chronicle


Katelyn Umholtz, University of Georgia

Paired with Atlanta Magazine

The Atlanta Press Club is proud to announce the students selected for its 2016 summer internship program. This year, a record number of eight qualified journalism and communications students were paired with local media organizations for summer internships.

Press Club internships allow students to receive hands-on work experience at some of the leading news organizations in Atlanta. Interns receive a $1,500 stipend for living expenses. Internships require of 15 to 25 hours per week during the summer of 2016.

The Atlanta Press Club has distributed more than $70,000 in scholarships and internships to worthy students seeking careers in the journalism field. Internships are funded by proceeds from the annual Hall of Fame dinner.

Atlanta Press Club Announces 2015 Awards of Excellence Winners


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The Atlanta Press Club would like to congratulate all our finalists and winners from our 2015 Awards of Excellence. Atlanta-area journalists were able to enter themselves or be nominated by someone else. Entries were judged by volunteers from the National Press Club on quality of content, demonstrated reportorial skill and the impact of their work.


Award of Excellence – Print/Online Daily
(Judging resulted with a tie)

Moni Basu, CNN

Jeff Schultz, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Award of Excellence – Print/Online Nondaily

Max Blau, Atlanta Magazine


Award of Excellence – Documentary or Series

Richard Halicks and Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Award of Excellence – Radio Reporting

Molly Samuel, WABE


Award of Excellence – TV Reporting
Mark Winne, WSB-TV


Award of Excellence – Videography
Jonathan Samuels, WXIA

  • Links to winning work pending.


Award of Excellence – Use of Sound
Lisa Hagen and Ely Yu, WABE


Award of Excellence – Single Image Photography

Robert Andres, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Award of Excellence – Photo Gallery
Noah Berger, The Weather Channel


Award of Excellence – Investigative Reporting

Brendan Keefe, WXIA

Rising Star Award
(Judging resulted with a tie)

Blayne Alexander, WXIA


Elly Yu, WABE


Award of Excellence – Civil and Human Rights Reporting
(Judging resulted with a tie)

CNN Special Report, CNN Documentary Unit


Danny Robbins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Award of Excellence – Impact Award

David Armstrong, Georgia News Lab

Working journalists help students follow in footsteps


Originally published in The Sentinal.

The university’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted a panel discussion in conjunction with the Atlanta Press Club the morning of Saturday, March 26.

Held in Kennesaw State University’s Social Sciences building, the event was called “Get the Scoop” and featured three working journalists who answered questions from the audience about the ins and outs of working in the field. According to Dr. Carolyn Carlson, a communication professor at KSU and adviser to its SPJ chapter, around 50 students attended the event, most from KSU. Two students were from Georgia State University, and there were also two high school students in the crowd hoping to learn more about the profession. Carlson says this was one of this SPJ chapter’s biggest events in at least a year.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had the Atlanta Press Club do something at Kennesaw State, so that was very exciting,” she said. “Having such a good turnout was a good thing.”

The panel included three journalists from a variety of areas. Elly Yu is a reporter for WABE, Atlanta’s National Public Radio station, where she actually began as an intern after graduate school. Roger Newton graduated from KSU and now works at the Center for Sustainable Journalism as a video editor. Christina Lee is a freelance music journalist who has covered the Atlanta Hawks and OutKast and submitted pieces to Creative Loafing and The Guardian, among others.

From how to handle emotional interviews to the pros and cons of working in freelance, the panelists answered questions about journalism in the real world for over an hour and a half.

“Everyone was excited, and they looked really engaged,” Bishop Nesby, president of KSU’s chapter of SPJ, said.

Nesby is a senior majoring in communication with a concentration in journalism. He attributes much of the event’s success to the enthusiasm of Lee, Yu and Newton.

“Our panelists did a wonderful job,” Nesby said. “They were very personable once we got into the networking setting.”

The networking lunch was the last portion of the event. After the Q&A session, students were treated to a free lunch and were invited to sit with the panelists, who were each seated at separate tables. This setup allowed students the freedom to introduce themselves briefly or sit down for a conversation over lunch, whichever they preferred. Each of the panelists stayed and chatted with students for over an hour, giving them a chance to ask more questions or exchange business cards.

“I was very impressed with how interested the students were and how much they wanted to learn about being a working journalist,” Jay Lawrence said. He is a board member with the Atlanta Press Club, and he was also excited about the number of attendees.

“The turnout was great, more than we expected,” he said. “We were really glad to see so many students give up their Saturday for this.”

According to Carlson, KSU’s chapter of SPJ has plans to continue this trend and see even larger crowds.

“We’re talking with the Atlanta Press Club about doing this annually, so hopefully we’ll have another big event next year,” she said.

Lawrence agreed and lit up at the prospect of returning to the campus.

“Absolutely, we want to come back to KSU,” he said.

Disclaimer: The writer of this article is the secretary of KSU’s chapter of SPJ.


By John McCosh

Some of the most wince-inducing corrections of my journalism career accompanied my snarkiest column writing.

One time a developer proposed a Gwinnett County neighborhood with “Mimosa” in the name within the boundaries of a former landfill. I wrote future residents would need more than a few of the subdivision’s namesake drinks when they found out what was underfoot. Turns out the subdivision land was carved out of the larger landfill property and was not part of the dump.

As a real estate columnist I wrote there needed to be a stronger word than “vacant” to describe a downtown Atlanta building that stood nearly empty 18 months after it opened. That building wasn’t doing well, but the vacant one was the nearly identical tower next door.

Some combination of rush to make deadline and carelessness in pursuit of a joke was to blame for both. I regret the errors laced with snark, but not as much as the handful of mistakes in more serious stories that I racked up over two decades as an Atlanta journalist.

The Atlanta Press Club is hosting a panel discussion on fact checking March 30, 2016 and I look forward to hearing how reporters avoid mistakes in this era of posting stories online moments after an event ends. Back in the olden days a line editor read my copy before at least two copy editors checked the factoids. Working without that safety net must be unnerving.

For the past eight years I’ve worked as a PR guy at Atlanta nonprofits and learned a different perspective on fact-checking, errors and corrections. I can usually sense which journalists are least likely to suffer through a correction by their careful interview technique and the follow up later.

Here are some tactics I associate with the most accurate reporters and publications:

  • Key points are confirmed with similar but reworded questions posed at different points in the interview.
  • Quotes and important facts are excerpted from the overall story and emailed to the source for confirmation prior to publication. The source doesn’t get pre-publication veto power over the excerpted material, just a chance to flag a factual error.
  • An independent fact checker contacts the source to verify numbers, assertions and other content central to the article’s point.

I associate that last tactic with Atlanta Magazine and other outlets with enough time between interview and publication to allow such meticulousness. But even with today’s pressure to be the first to post news online, it’s important to slow down enough to confirm spellings and to double check the numbers.

One thing I learned once I switched to the PR side is it’s not worth inflicting the pain of a correction request on a reporter if the mistake is minor and doesn’t hurt the reputation of my employer. I’ve let more than a few mistakes go uncorrected.

That includes the time a reporter with a national financial publication talked to me about a story and I got the sense she might quote me. She kept calling me “Josh” and when I thought it might run in the paper like that, I gently let her know it’s “John” although people turn my first and last name into a contraction all the time.

You can read the article by Googling “John McJosh.”

John McCosh is deputy communications director for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.


Register now for the panel discussion on fact checking

When: March 30, 2016, 6:30-8:15 p.m.

Where: Commerce Club, 191 Peachtree Street

Cost: Free for members, $15 for non-members

Georgia First Amendment Foundation Issues Letter to Gov. Deal

GFAF LogoThe Georgia First Amendment Foundation has issues a letter to Governor Deal and Senators Kennedy, Miller, Dugan, Jones, Kirk and Hill regarding a portion of Senate Bill 367, which deals with sealed records. View the full letter here.

PANEL: What’s It Like To Be A Cop In America Today?

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Dick Pettys Portrait Unveiled at Capitol Press Corps



A ceremony was held today to unveil a portrait of 2015 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame Inductee Dick Pettys, with his widow Stephanie Petty, friend Rep. Joe Wilkinson (who helped organize the event) and artist Dick Yarborough. The painting hangs in the Capitol Press Corps suite across from the AP bureau that Pettys ran for about three decades.

Startup and Media Mixer from Split and SPJ

Split, along with the Society of Professional Journalists GA, invite you a Startup and Media Mixer on Thursday March 24th, 2016 from 6:30-8:30.

Come meet and mingle with local startups in the brand-new technology space, Switchyards.

Startups of all different types will be ready to network and share their story.

Drinks and bites will be provided by Split.


Switchyards Downtown Club – 151 Ted Turner Drive Northwest Atlanta, GA 30303 
Please register here. 

Bar, Media and Judiciary Conference Invites Journalists to Feb. 26 Forum

The Georgia Bar, Media and Judiciary Conference invites journalists to its Friday, Feb. 26, forum on emerging issues in the law and society. Journalists receive the student rate of $25 for the all-day conference, which includes parking in the State Bar building in downtown Atlanta and a box lunch. Attendees are free to stay for just part of the day and each session allots time for questions from journalists and others in attendance.

Sessions include:

  • A look behind the scenes at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s comprehensive review of police shootings, “Over the Line.”
  • Law enforcement officers discuss how the tension between them and citizens is changing the way they approach their jobs.
  • 21st century public housing? Covering the continuing construction of Atlanta’s sports stadiums.
  • The story of a college football fix: A look back at Georgia’s contribution to the law of libel in the world of Bear Bryant
  • Justice for judges: A look at the work of the Judicial Qualifications Commission in a Fred Friendly-style visit to the imaginary court of Judge Lawless Stevens in Lizard Lick, Ga.
  • Georgia and the death penalty: Changing perspectives?
  • A live broadcast of GPB’s “Political Rewind” with Bill Nigut and Jim Galloway.

See the full program and register here: