Four Inducted into Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame

VIP ReceptionATLANTA — The Atlanta community paused Friday to celebrate the works of four legendary journalists who were inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame. 

Tom Brokaw, Celestine Sibley, Claude Sitton and Brenda Wood were inducted as part of the Atlanta Press Club’s fourth class into the hall during a dinner ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead.

“The Hall of Fame recognizes Atlanta journalists whose life’s work embodies the best in our business,” former WSB-TV anchor Monica Pearson, a 2013 inductee into the Hall of Fame, told the audience. “Tonight we honor some of the greatest journalists whose impact on Atlanta and the country literally will be felt forever.”


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Tom Brokaw

Before he joined NBC News in 1966, Brokaw worked in Atlanta for WSB-TV. During his career, Brokaw has won numerous awards, including two DuPonts, a Peabody and several Emmys.

“There is virtually no honor in this profession of ours that he has not earned,” said Tom Johnson, former CNN president and 2011 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame Inductee, who inducted Brokaw. “He did it by hard work, by perseverance and maintaining standards of the highest integrity along the way. He’s a journalist’s journalist, going where the new breaks.”

While with NBC News, Brokaw served as White House correspondent during the Watergate scandal and later anchored “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.” He was the only American journalist on the scene in Berlin when the Berlin Wall fell, and later, he coined the phrase “The Greatest Generation” in reference to World War II veterans, Johnson said.

“I was a minor league reporter when I got here, but I worked with the major leaguers,” Brokaw said, reflecting on his tenure in Atlanta.

“I am deeply touched by this honor,” Brokaw said. “I have always been attached to Atlanta.”


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Claude Sitton

Sitton joined The New York Times in 1958 as the newspaper’s Southern correspondent. In that role, he established himself as one of the leading reporters on the Civil Rights movement.

“It’s hard to imagine there was once a time when covering a story inside the United States carried the same perils as covering a war,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, who inducted Sitton. “But, that was the South Claude Sitton covered for six years.”

Sitton was honored in 1983 with a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary while with The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, N.C.


Celestine Sibley

During her career, which spanned six decades, Sibley penned more than 10,000 columns and news stories and also authored more than 30 books. Sibley, who died in 1999, was a reporter and columnist for The Atlanta Constitution from 1941 until 1999.

“There was never a journalist with a stronger work ethic than Celestine Sibley,” said Kathy Trocheck, a bestselling author better known by her pen name Mary Kay Andrews. “One of her newspaper colleagues famously remarked that she could turn out a column in the time it took him to adjust the margins on his typewriter. We all knew that was an understatement.

“In that same time, Celestine would not only have written a column, she would have fed the dog, knit a sweater and gotten an innocent convict paroled from prison,” Trocheck added.


Brenda Wood

Wood joined WXIA-TV in 1997 after stints in Huntsville, Ala.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Nashville, Tenn.

“Brenda always seems to hit a home run,” said noted journalist and 2012 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame Inductee Xernona Clayton, who inducted Wood. “We watch her every night, and the way she delivers the news, you believe her. When you look at her, you know she’s speaking the truth.”

Among her many awards are 15 Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ) and three honors from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB).


“Not ever in my wildest imaginations could I have dreamed of this moment,” Wood told the crowd. “To be even mentioned in the same paragraph with Celestine Sibley and Claude Sitton and Tom Brokaw … who would have thought? It is the ultimate compliment and extraordinarily humbling.”


50 Years As Journalistic Organization

In addition to inducting the four honorees into the Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Press Club on Friday also toasted to its 50th anniversary.

The Atlanta Press Club was founded in 1964. Today, the organization has nearly 600 members, making it one of the largest and most active in the country.

“It’s been a great ride; let’s look forward to the next 50” years, Maria Saporta, editor of The Saporta Report, said at the conclusion of Thursday’s ceremony.


APC Debates Get 100% Participation from Candidates; Now It’s Up to Viewers to Watch

By Maria Saporta  for

We did it!

The Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series has successfully received confirmation from every candidate it has invited to participate in its general election debates.

It is the first time for as long as I can remember that we have had 100 percent participation from every candidate – a welcome and rewarding development for our debate series.

As we were in the early stages of our general election debate planning, we issued a 100 percent participation challenge.

In the last few years, we had become increasingly concerned that candidates were not accepting our debate invites ­– denying voters an opportunity to actually make a more informed decision before going to the polls.

We believed issuing a 100 percent participation challenge would be a positive way to encourage candidates to accept our invitation (of course we were prepared to inform the public about which candidates were not participating).

Again, in our minds, having every candidate participate in all of our debates guaranteed that the real winner was the Georgia voter.

For more than 20 years, I have chaired the Atlanta Press Club’s debate committee. We have always remained committed to our policy that if a candidate is invited and chooses to not participate, he or she will be represented by an empty podium and his or her opponent will get the opportunity to answer questions from a panel of journalists as well as share what question they would have wanted to ask his or her opponent if present.

It is our way of rewarding the candidate who accepts our invitation and is willing to answer questions in an unrehearsed public forum while providing a disincentive for those who don’t accept.

But we found out that in this day and age political consultants sometimes appear to have greater influence on campaigns than the actual candidate.

They forget that they are working for someone who is running for public office to serve their constituents. They would rather play it safe and not take the political risk of participating in a debate where they would have to think on their feet and possibly have some kind of slip-up.

Unfortunately, one candidate debates do not make for entertaining television or stimulating exchange. So we wanted to do everything we could to make sure we would get full participation.

We also wanted to be sure our debates would have significance and make an impact. We really increased our social media presence this year; we worked really hard to build more interest among news organizations, journalists and bloggers to cover and actually attend our debates; and we have made sure they are available online after the fact for those who might miss them when they are broadcast.

The APC Loudermilk-Young Debate Series also is spread out across three Sundays – in two hour blocks on Georgia Public Broadcasting for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. — Oct. 12, Oct. 19 and Oct. 26.

Thanks to the Atlanta Press Club’s partnership with GPB, we provide the most extensive debate series in Georgia — with all the contested races for Constitutional officers broadcast statewide.

It is a fascinating time in Georgia politics where there are viable candidates for every office from both the Republican and Democratic parties, and in some cases, the Libertarian party.

I am sure we received 100 percent participation partly because of the changing political and demographic dynamics in the state where there is real competition in both the primaries and the general election in many races.

Several of these races actually have national interest this year, and CSPAN already has express interest in rebroadcasting our key debates.

So now that we have put so much work into putting on these debates and making sure candidates helped us meet the 100 percent participation challenge — all to help voters be more informed when they go to the polls, please watch our debates.

You can either follow them as they’re being broadcast on GPB – Channel 8 in metro Atlanta, record them on your DVR or whatever device you have or catch them later on the web.

And once informed, please vote.

Here is the broadcast line-up of our debates for the next three Sundays:

Sunday, Oct. 12: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

6 p.m.: Labor Commissioner

Mark Butler, Republican (incumbent)

Robbin Shipp            , Democrat

6:30 p.m.: Agriculture Commissioner

Gary Black, Republican (incumbent)

Chris Irvin, Democrat

7 p.m.: State School Superintendent

Valarie Wilson, Democrat

Richard Woods, Republican

7:30 p.m.: Attorney General

Greg Hecht, Democrat

Sam Olens, Republican (incumbent)                                                           

Sunday, Oct. 19: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

6 p.m.: Secretary of State

Doreen Carter, Democrat

Brian Kemp, Republican (incumbent)

6:30 p.m.: Lt. Governor

Casey Cagle, Republican (incumbent)

Connie Stokes, Democrat

7 p.m.: Governor

Jason Carter, Democrat

Nathan Deal, Republican (incumbent)

Andrew Hunt, Libertarian                                               

Sunday, Oct. 26: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

6 p.m.: Insurance Commissioner

Ralph Hudgens, Republican (incumbent)

Liz Johnson, Democrat

Ted Metz, Libertarian

6:30 p.m.: 12th Congressional District

Rick Allen, Republican

John Barrow,  Democrat (incumbent)

7 p.m.: U.S. Senate

Michelle Nunn, Democrat

David Perdue, Republican

Amanda Swafford, Libertarian           

We also are taping a web-only debate for the Public Service Commission – District 4 on Oct. 19. It will be available on the Atlanta Press Club’s website.

PSC- District 4 (web-only)

Daniel Blackman, Democrat

Aaron Gilmer, Libertarian

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Republican (incumbent)

For people interested in attending the debates in person, please check the full debate scehdule  (most of them will be taped earlier in the day of the scheduled broadcast).

Debates will take place at Georgia Public Broadcasting and air on the statewide station. Media are encouraged to attend. Please RSVP for each debate to Feeds of all debates can be accessed through Encompass Digital Media at 800-295-4198 or

Additionally, the Atlanta Press Club is taking question submissions for Georgia Governor (October 19th) and U.S. Senate (October 26th) debates. Submitted questions may be presented to candidates on air by the moderator during the debates. To submit a question, you may email or tweet your question using the hashtag #AskAPCDebates.

For follow up questions or comment from Atlanta Press Club Executive Director,  Lauri Strauss,  please contact Lauri Strauss at 404.523.1318, or Jessi Ford at 770.500.6087,, Follow the debates on Twitter: #APCDebates, Like The Atlanta Press Club on Facebook:

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Atlanta Press Club Panel Explores Role Photojournalism Plays in Ending Poverty

By Todd DeFeo

Event Photo 3ATLANTA — The role photojournalism and visual storytelling can play in helping eradicate poverty was front and center during an Atlanta Press Club Panel discussion on Tuesday. 

More than 30 people turned out to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to view a special showing of St. Vincent de Paul’s “Profiles of Poverty” photo exhibit and hear from five of the photographers involved in the project.

“If you look at the way policy decisions are being made across the political spectrums — this is not a political comment, it’s just the reality of what’s happening in society — is we can’t deal with it, so we’re just going to ignore it and hope it goes away,” St. Vincent de Paul CEO and Executive Director John Berry told the crowd. “No, we’re not going to ignore it. We’re going to make sure it is brought out, it’s shown, it’s talked about.”

“If you look at the 50 pictures that are in the exhibit, that story is not one of despair and hopelessness,” Berry said. “It’s not just, ‘here’s this terrible issue’; it’sa story of hope and it’s a story of transformation.”

Freelance photographer John Glenn curated the exhibit on behalf of St. Vincent de Paul and served as the moderator for the panel discussion. He told the audience he became a photographer with the hopes of taking photographs that could bring about change, and “Profiles of Poverty” allows him to use his skills to raise awareness of an important issue such as poverty.

“Photography can make a difference,” Glenn told the audience. “And, if by bringing people’s faces to the forefront, some voices to the forefront through those photos, then it’s all a little bit that will help.”

Event Photo 4Poverty remains a major issue in Georgia as it does elsewhere throughout the country. An estimated 1.8 million Georgians — nearly one in five — currently live below the federal poverty level.

“Profiles of Poverty” debuted earlier this year during a three-week-long showing at Colony Square Mall in Midtown Atlanta. The photographers whose photographs make up in the exhibit have been published in The New York Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Atlanta Magazine, Athens Banner-Herald, Creative Loafing, The Associated Press and other publications.

While everyone in attendance agreed the photo exhibit was a powerful way to raise awareness of the issue of poverty, the panelists agreed on the need for action.

“What I struggle with is here are these photos. We’ve told their stories, but now what?” freelance photographer Renee Brock, a participant in Tuesday’s panel, asked during the discussion. “How do we go from awareness to action?”

“Profiles of Poverty” will next be displayed for several months in the Loudermilk Center in Downtown Atlanta. That display will help keep the issue of poverty and the need for action in front of the city’s business leaders, Berry said.

“If one life was changed, then we’ve accomplished something,” Berry said. “What all of the photographers have done (is) they’ve elevated this issue, they’ve elevated the discussion. … We have to work on how do we then address these issues one life at a time.”

Four Reasons to Watch the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series with the Entire Family

Most children know who the current president is and some have a general understanding that it took votes from people all across the country to get him into office. However, not all children (or adults!) realize that there are dozens of candidates who run organized campaigns in an effort to secure a seat in an elected office.  Understanding the importance of voting from a young age can help to instill a sense of interest in our government and the people we put into office to make it all tick.                      

1.)   To inform yourself and your family – One of the most essential roles that a debate can play in the voting process is in the education of where candidates stand on topics that are personally important to yourself and your family. By making it a priority to watch the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series, you are making a choice to remain informed.

2.)   To discuss the importance of voting – The act of voting is an incredibly powerful right and one of the most important ways that your family can have an impact on how our government works. 

3.)   To learn about relevant local issues – While it’s true that not all kids will care about healthcare reform or the Keystone Pipeline, every debate will present a unique agenda of issues that can affect everyone. Whether it’s the Braves moving to Cobb County or Common Core, there are bound to be one or two topics that peak the interest of the entire family.

4.)   To inspire a future a leader – Watching the debate process unfold can be an inspiring experience. Openly expressing an idea in an environment that instantly calls for a rebuttal from someone with an opposing opinion takes a great deal of confidence. Allowing your family to understand how a debate works can spark a healthy method of dealing with conflict and might just inspire a future leader in your own child.


Relevant Links:

Buckhead Business Radio on Business RadioX Spotlights Atlanta Press Club

Lauri Strauss Discussed Atlanta Press Club’s 50th Anniversary 

ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwired – September 09, 2014) – Lauri Strauss, Executive Director of the Atlanta Press Club, was featured on the August 19, 2014 episode of Buckhead Business Radio on Buckhead Business RadioX to promote the Journalism Next event.

The Atlanta Press Club is one of the largest professional journalism associations in the nation with nearly 600 members. Lauri Strauss was featured to discuss how the Atlanta Press Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“We’re excited to announce the Journalism Next Conference geared not only toward journalists but communications professionals alike,” stated Strauss. “We’re focusing on two different tracks. One will be for students from area universities just getting started, while another will be for professionals with more experience.”

The Journalism Next Conference was held September 6, 2014 at Mercer University, Atlanta Campus. To learn more about this year’s conference, information can be found at

To listen to the entire radio show and learn more about the other featured guests from Mercer University, Simply Buckhead, Jet Senters Aviation, Keller Williams, and Bert’s Big Adventure, tune in to Buckhead Business Radio.

About Buckhead Business Radio:

Buckhead Business Radio spotlights thought leaders and companies doing business in and around the Buckhead community (the heart of Atlanta’s financial district) with compelling stories to tell. Join Host Rich Casanova Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am Eastern on

About Business RadioX®:

Business RadioX® interviews dozens of innovative entrepreneurs and successful leaders each week. Its mission is to help local businesses Get the Word Out about the important work they’re doing for their market, their community, and their profession. With a pro-business slant and a long-form interview format, guests don’t have to worry about being ambushed or talking in “sound bites.” Guests have enough time to tell their whole story and to share their insights and experience without interruptions. Business RadioX® hosts are business professionals interviewing their peers, drilling down on the critical issues, and delivering practical information to an engaged business audience. Business topics that are frequently covered include: Law, Finance, Healthcare, Technology, Trade Shows, B2B Marketing, Venture Capital, Training and Development and other issues impacting the business community. For more information, visit:

Georgia Candidates Debate on Public TV

By Walter Jones for Morris News Service

ATLANTA — Republican Senate hopefuls Jack Kingston and David Perdue pitch to voters in their own words — and challenge each other — in a televised debate Sunday.

It will be their final statewide opportunity before the runoff votes are counted July 22.

Their confrontation is the capstone in a series of half-hour runoff debates organized by the Atlanta Press Club and airing statewide by Georgia Public Broadcasting that also features congressional and school-superintendent races.

Ad spending in the Kingston-Perdue runoff has topped $11 million, blanketing news, sports and entertainment programing with an array of attacks on both men attempting to say what the other believes. So, the debate will give them a chance to speak for themselves.

It will also give them a chance to answer questions from a trio of professional journalists selected for their experience, objectivity and skill. Although the editorial writers at some of the organizations they report for may make political endorsements, the Press Club’s Debate Committee limits participation to unbiased reporters from the areas of the state voting in a given race.

“The Atlanta Press Club is known for organizing debates that are fair and balanced for all candidates,” said Lauri Strauss, executive director of the club. “We carefully select a diverse group of journalists to serve on the panels to ensure each candidate has an equal opportunity to share their views and what they hope to accomplish if elected into office.”

All but one of the candidates has agreed to participate. Brian Reese, a candidate in the First District congressional runoff for the Democratic nomination, declined because of long-standing prior commitments. As a result, the air time for that session will be halved as his opponent, Amy Tavio, fields questions from the journalists.

For television scheduling reasons, the First District debates will air Wednesday night.

Statement from Cohn & Wolfe on the Passing of Norman Wolfe

Norman Wolfe, co-founder of global communications firm Cohn & Wolfe, passed away on Wednesday, June 4. Norm founded Cohn & Wolfe with Bob Cohn in Atlanta in 1970, after a career in journalism where he became Executive Editor of the Orlando Sentinel. His passion was public affairs and he directed the crisis communications efforts for Cohn & Wolfe. Bob and Norm sold Cohn & Wolfe to Y&R in 1984 and led the agency as an independent network with a distinct identity. Norm retired from his position as Vice Chairman of Cohn & Wolfe in 1992 and continued to provide counsel on a number of clients for a number of years.

“We were very saddened to hear of the passing of Norman Wolfe. In 1970, Norm founded Cohn & Wolfe, along with Bob Cohn, and had the foresight and determination to imagine a public relations agency unlike any other,” said Donna Imperato. “Norm was a true visionary, baking branding and creativity into the DNA of the agency from the very start. He and Bob created a powerful consumer marketing agency that grew from Atlanta to New York and then went on to become a global leader. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Political Debates Still Important

By Lauri Strauss

The cornerstone of our republic is our election process. Elections matter, regardless of which side of the aisle one sits, and everyone should agree the best electorate is one that is informed about the issues to be decided and the candidates to take office.

Today’s political campaigns are waged in many arenas.

Candidates still use yard signs, pound the pavement and canvass neighborhoods to build name recognition and establish a base of supporters. Social media has elevated the game to a whole new level, allowing not just politicians, but the public at large to step into the fray.

Despite the move to digital, there may be no better way to truly understand candidates’ positions on the key issues and to evaluate their viability for public office than through a public debate.

For more than 20 years, the Atlanta Press Club has sponsored a debate series, today in honor of Charlie Loudermilk and Andrew Young. An open and honest forum is at the heart of the Press Club’s mission, and in 2014, the debate is as important as ever.

This primary season, the Atlanta Press Club will host a total of 9 debates for races at the state and national level. Once the primaries are decided, we’ll return with additional debates as we march toward the Nov. 4 general election.

Many of the races the Atlanta Press Club is featuring as part of this year’s debate series are already receiving national attention. But, these are races that can be impacted and decided at the local level.

The Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series gives voters the opportunity to educate themselves before they step into the voting booth. As an organization, we pride ourselves on bringing issues to be discussed to a public forum, and our debate series is no different.

Social media is fantastic, but don’t rely merely on the rhetoric, reposts or repackaged sound bites. Listen to the candidates for yourself, hear their statements and come to your own conclusion on who will best represent you – whether it’s in Atlanta or Washington. And please help us encourage the candidates to participate in the debates. Face-to-face debates provide some of the best opportunities for voters to learn about the candidates so they know who they want to support on Election Day.

We invite you to join us in person or online. Debates will be held at Georgia Public Broadcasting’s studio on 14th Street in Atlanta and will be broadcast live on public broadcasting affiliates statewide, streamed on and archived on

For a full schedule of debates, visit To attend the debates or for more information, call (404) 577-7377 or email

Ashes to Ashes – Mourning the Passing of Emory’s Journalism Degree

By RICHARD T. GRIFFITHS, vice president and senior editorial director of CNN as well as a member of the Emory Journalism Program Advisory Board

Note to readers: Richard Griffiths delivered these remarks on April 25 at a reception celebrating the Emory Journalism Program’s “18 years of courageous inquiry and ethical engagement.” As of now, Emory no longer offers a degree in journalism.

You know, from time to time, I’ve had a dear friend – someone I’ve grown up with – die.  There’s the disorientation.  How could this be?  What cruel joke of nature was played on my brilliant / funny / loving / challenging friend?

There’s a sense of loss, grieving at the sense that somehow he or she was cheated out of a full and complete existence.  So young, with so much to offer.  Never got to see how the children turned out, never got to meet the grandchildren.

I’m feeling a bit of that tonight.

As if a good friend has met an untimely death and we perhaps are all still processing it – Some of us in different stages of grief:  Disbelief, Anger. A few might have even reached acceptance.  (And some here are twitching at my use of “untimely death.”  Most editors and all journalism faculty will tell you that all deaths are untimely.)

Like all good departed friends, this journalism program has left a mark on each of us.

Just as good friends challenge us, push us, and tell us the truth we sometimes don’t want to hear, Emory’s journalism program has over the last 17 years challenged hundreds of students to more fully develop their critical thinking, taught them – you – not to be afraid to question authority, to hold those in leadership accountable.

That’s part of the reason perhaps this program did not go quietly.

Unlike my dear friends who have died, this program did not die a natural death.  It died young, a relative teenager, just as it was hitting its prime.

Certainly the administration has made its decision.  And certainly given that this program was resurrected in 1997 from the ashes of a previous journalism department closed in 1953, it is now not likely to be brought back to life.

So that brings us to the search for meaning.

At most funerals and wakes, a speaker or two will talk fondly about some of the foibles of the dear departed:  The eccentricities that made him or her beloved.

One of the endearing eccentricities I loved most about Emory’s journalism program is its co-major requirement… A requirement that not only must the Emory students develop the critical thinking skills, the writing, the reporting skills, but that every student had to have another major, a field of learning about which the journalism student also developed a passion.  Pre-med, mathematics, chemistry, sociology, anthropology, Chinese, French.  A way of better understanding the world and a way of expressing that understanding.

That’s what has made the Emory journalism students so consistently strong:  A specialist’s understanding and a journalist’s ability to convey the larger truths.

Special editorial cartoon drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Luckovich in memory of Emory’s journalism degree

Nurtured by some very dedicated faculty, you have learned investigative journalism, crisp writing, video literacy, an understanding of story-telling, a history of the profession, a sense of the legal and ethical challenges that will await you.

And you have learned to develop that most valuable friend of journalism and a healthy society – curiosity.  Certainly, after this experience, you will likely be more prone to be skeptical as you question authority.

So, let me charge the graduating students and the students who will graduate next year, and the year after:

Do not allow the achievements of Emory’s journalism program – your achievements – to be forgotten.

Show the world what you have got, what you’ve learned, what you can accomplish.  Show the world that the critical thinking you learned in this program is worth something.  And when asked, proudly say that you are an Emory Journalism graduate.

Ten years ago, I was invited to begin regular talks to Emory journalism classes.  Those encounters grew to sometimes two or three times a year.  Every faculty encounter was positive, constructive, impressive.  As a member of the Journalism Program Advisory Board, I learned about the passion of the faculty and their drive to adjust the journalism offerings to meet the needs of a world that is changing at astonishing speed.  Sadly, many of those faculty are now leaving the university.

As the last act of the Journalism Program Advisory Board, I want to convey our thanks to each of the faculty for what you have done…

David Armstrong… for sharing his prodigious investigative skills that serve to keep society healthy.

Sissel McCarthy… for infecting others with your enthusiasm for journalism, both in your news literacy and electronic media classes.

Sheila Tefft… for inspiring the countless students to stretch their thinking and writing to reflect the large world we live in and for directing this program for nine years.

Hank Klibanoff… for your ability to discern truth, your passion for history and ethics, and your exemplary leadership.

I understate it when I say you have all made a real difference, changed the world in a positive and constructive way.

Isn’t that what we all strive for?  Whether a dear friend or a journalism program we all want to be remembered for making a difference.

The history of this program might ironically be ashes to ashes, perhaps. But this program is not mere dust.

It’s left a legacy of fine professionals in countless fields who understand journalism and its importance.  It’s left a legacy of serious journalists, in this room and in newsrooms around the world.

So, let’s think good thoughts about the dear departed.

Atlanta Press Club Asking Public for Best Stories Over Past 50 Years

By Maria Saporta for The SaportaReport

As a way to celebrate the Atlanta Press Club’s 50th anniversary, it is asking its members and the general public to get in the spirit.

The Club is issuing a public call for people to nominate the best Atlanta stories of the past 50 years.

The search, which will conclude in the fall with the announcement of “Atlanta’s Ten Best Stories” as determined by public voting, is entitled: “Finding Atlanta’s Best Stories: Journalism that Moved Us Over the Last 50 Years.”

The submissions may be any type of media story ranging from a hard-hitting investigative report to an unforgettable feature to an enduring column.

“The stories we will identify will highlight the role robust journalism plays in the lively, informative civic discussion that makes Atlanta great,” said Anita Sharpe, president of the Atlanta Press Club. “Over the past 50 years, the Atlanta Press Club has nurtured and promoted the professional development and public engagement our important media forum requires.”

The search begins immediately with a request for nominations from the public, educational institutions and media outlets for the best stories that “moved us” over the 50 years beginning Jan. 1, 1964 to the present.

Stories must be submitted by June 15, 2014. Entries may focus on an issue of national significance, but the submission must be centered on the 13-county metro Atlanta region.

Nominations must include a copy of the actual story in the form of a web link or a scanned reproduction.

Stories may be from any medium: broadcast, print or digital. Entries must be accompanied by a summary of no more than 150 words explaining what makes this story one of Atlanta’s best in the past 50 years.

“Already we’ve had some great discussions about all the wonderful stories in Atlanta’s history, and that’s the whole point – to get people talking about the importance of good journalism in our civic life,” said Betsy Riley, a member of the professional panel that will review the entries.

The panel will screen the entries and a list of finalists will be made available for public vote to determine the best 10 stories.

For additional information on guidelines for submission, please visit

Entries should be sent to this e-mail address:

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been serving on the board of the Atlanta Press Club for more than 25 years. I would like to thank fellow board member Jay Lawrence of Wells Fargo Banks for helping put this all together.