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

Georgia Women’s Movement Spring Event 2016: Reporting Women

The Georgia Women’s Movement Project Spring Event is held annually to highlight collections in the Georgia State University Library Women and Gender Collections, and to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroines of the women’s movement in Georgia.

The 2016 event brings together three talented and highly respected women journalists whose reporting for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has informed Georgians for more than forty years. Their stories will provide a window into a unique profession, and their insights will educate and inspire.

Wednesday, June 15, 5:00-7:00 pm
Special Collections And Archives
University Library South, 8th Floor
100 Decatur St. SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Register for event
or RSVP to / (404) 413-2888


Ashkinaze_blogCarole Ashkinaze Kay
Carole Ashkinaze Kay is a nationally respected journalist, author and international communications strategist, with a lifelong interest in social policy. She is a former Media Chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund and longtime consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union and other nonprofits, but was probably best known in Atlanta for her columns and editorials about women in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, dating from the mid-‘70s.

The first woman in the paper’s history ever named to its Editorial Board, she was a fierce feminist and the first to write seriously and consistently about women’s lives and needs. She also “integrated” the paper’s Style Section during a stint as Features Editor, insisting that women and men of color be sought and used as models in its previously all-white fashion pages, and wrote frequently about racial and ethnic issues.

Carole won many national awards for her ground-breaking stories, including Planned Parenthood’s coveted Margaret Sanger award, and the National Women’s Political Caucus “EMMA”  (Exceptional Merit Media Award). Prior to joining the Atlanta Journal and Constitution in 1976, she shared in a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting at New York’sNewsday.

Her books include The Closing Door (with Gary Orfield), published in 1991, named Outstanding Book on Human Rights in 1992 by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Arkansas. She also taught journalism at American University in Washington and Emory University in Atlanta, and has led professional journalism seminars (for the U.S. Information Service) in Haiti and Tanzania.


Wells_Susan_blogSusan Wells
Susan Wells, now proprietor of an organic farm market in North Georgia, spent her career with theAtlanta Journal-Constitution, where she worked as a reporter, editor and member of the editorial board.  During her 30-year sojourn with the paper, she was a metro reporter and editor, assistant managing editor for business news, an editorial writer and finally, home and garden editor. Outside the newspaper, she was a long-time member of the board of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation and was president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. After her retirement in 2008, she worked as Public Information Specialist at Georgia Legal Services Program. For the past two years, she has run Bliss Farm of Ellijay, a small market garden selling sustainably grown produce and eggs.

She is married to Ellen Taylor, professor of law at the Georgia State University College of Law. She is mother to Callan Wells, health policy  senior paralegal at Georgia Legal Services, and to Adam and Ben Taylor, teenage boys being reared in a feminist environment.


Saprta_MariaMaria Saporta
Maria Saporta is an Atlanta native who began her full-time journalistic career in April 1980 with theMacon Telegraph.

From 1991-2008, Maria worked as the business and civic columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She now writes a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Her, has several veteran contributors who provide daily updates on local business, urban and civic issues focusing on metro Atlanta, Georgia and beyond. Maria also is a regular contributor and does a weekly commentary on WABE 90.1-FM.

A past president of the Atlanta Press Club, Maria continues to serve on a number of its committees. She also serves as vice president of the Alliance Francaise d’Atlanta, a French cultural organization and school that was founded by her mother in 1963.

Maria was inducted into the 2002 YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, and the Georgia State University Business Hall of Fame in 2012.  She also received the Atlanta Business League 2013 CEO Award for Vision of Excellence. A 1999 graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute,  she was named one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2000 and 2001, and has been named as one of the magazine’s “Notable Georgians” eleven times since 2002.


The Women and Gender Collections
Established in 1995, the Georgia State University Women and Gender Collections document the experiences of women active in the second wave of the women’s movement, in particular their efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia. It also chronicles women and men participating in women and LGBTQ-centered activism and advocacy in Georgia and the Southeast. In addition, the collection highlights Georgia State University faculty, staff and students involved in feminist activities, including the development of continuing education and academic classes in women’s studies and the establishment of the Women’s Studies Institute.

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.