Don’t Miss SPJ GA’s Holiday Mixer!

SPJ holiday

Join SPJ Georgia for their holiday mixer at Taco Mac in Lindburgh Station. Free to attend, appetizers and cash bar. December 1, 7:30 p.m. RSVP here!

Denis O’Hayer, Charlayne Hunter-Gault honored by Atlanta Press Club

By Rodney Ho, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Photo by Rodney Ho.

Photo by Rodney Ho.

Four journalists with Atlanta ties were inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame earlier this month at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. Their collective experiences span the past five decades.

The are a veteran radio/TV reporter of 35-plus years; a UGA grad who worked at CNN, the New York Times and PBS; an Associated Press political writer who covered seven Georgia governors; and a Pulitzer-Prize winning editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Read the rest here!

UN Foundation Announces Special Earth To Paris Climate Press Fellowship

The fellowship will provide selected journalists with a stipend to attend Earth To Paris during COP21, and will allow journalists direct access to experts and advocates.

The United Nations Foundation today announced a special global issues fellowship focused on climate change to be held in December 2015 as part of Earth To Paris and alongside COP21. As part of the fellowship, journalists will receive a stipend to help cover travel costs and will have access to exclusive briefings.

“We need the right mix of journalists, experts and advocates in Paris if we are to have a robust global conversation on climate change around the conference,” said Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at the UN Foundation. “We hope this fellowship will give journalists the tools and access necessary to advance their reporting on this critical issue.”

From November 30 to December 11, the United Nations is convening COP21, the Paris Climate Summit. Nearly 200 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will gather in Paris to revisit existing climate agreements and to achieve a new universal agreement on climate change. This new climate agreement will reflect a bottom-up approach based on national commitments.

As governments convene for the conference, Earth To Paris, a diverse coalition of groups – from foundations to technology companies to media organizations and more – will also convene around the need for strong climate action. At Earth To Paris – Le Hub on December 7 and 8, the UN Foundation and coalition partners will bring together global influencers, civil society groups, businesses, scientists, and citizens to showcase climate solutions and to highlight the connection between people and planet. Earth To Paris will engage people around the world in the United Nations dialogue happening in Paris during COP21.

The press fellowship will enable selected journalists to cover climate issues in connection with COP21 by attending Earth To Paris – Le Hub.

This fellowship is intended for any journalist who covers climate change or sustainable development issues and would find this opportunity beneficial to their reporting.

The application deadline is November 18, 2015. To apply, please click here. For more information please contact Eric Porterfield at

More information about Earth To Paris can be found here:


About the Earth To Paris Coalition
A diverse coalition of groups—from foundations to technology companies to media organizations and more—is uniting to launch Earth To Paris, an innovative coalition and convening strategy to drive awareness and host events that highlight the connection between people and planet and the need for strong climate action; to showcase climate solutions and innovations; to bring together communities to promote collaboration; and to engage people around the world in the dialogue taking place in Paris.

The convening partners of the Earth To Paris Coalition are United Nations Foundation, GOOD Magazine, City of Paris (Mairie de Paris), Mashable, UNFCCC, National Geographic Jynwel Foundation, UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and HAVAS Worldwide.

Collaborating partners include Action/2015, AFP Foundation, Avaaz, Better World Campaign, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Ceres, Climasphere, The Climate Reality Project, Collectively, Connect4Climate– the global partnership program of the World Bank Group,, Earth Day Network, The East African, El Pais, Enactus, Energy Future Coalition, European Foundation Centre, Fair Observer, Girl Up, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Global Citizen, Global Moms Challenge, GREEN Africa Directory, Helloasso, Impaqto, Love Song to the Earth, Make Sense, The Nature Conservatory, Nothing but Nets, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planeta Futuro, Rainforest Partnership, Rovio Entertainment, Scope Group, Sevenly,, Shot@Life, Sister Cities International , +SocialGood, +SocialGood Ghana, Social Good Week, Sustainable Energy for All, SXSW, SXSW Eco, Test Tube, Travel +Social Good, UNA-USA, Universal Access Project, Vice News, Voice of America, We Mean Business and the X Prize Foundation.

About United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit

AAJA Atlanta Chapter Student and Early Career Journalists Workshop

Hear from industry professionals in print, broadcast and multimedia in the ever-changing landscape of journalism. Network and establish contacts with other students and early career journalists. Bring your resumes, reel and business cards! Tickets and more information here.
Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (EST)
CNN World Headquarters – 190 Marietta Street Atlanta, GA 30303

Jon Meacham’s ‘Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush’

By Jim Kelly, New York Times

Meacham Headshot -- credit Gasper Tringale copy


George H. W. Bush is unusual among modern American presidents in that after he left the White House in 1993 he never produced his own full-scale autobiography. True, he co-wrote a book about his administration’s foreign policy with Brent Scowcroft, his national security adviser, and then allowed a collection of his letters and diary excerpts to be published. But he showed no interest in writing the kind of doorstopper others have given us, nothing on the order of “RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon,” “Ronald Reagan: An American Life” or Bill Clinton’s “My Life.” Even Hillary Clinton, who may yet be president and thus get her own chance to add to the genre, has already written two thick memoirs, either of which, if you accidentally dropped it on your foot, might leave you limping. Read the rest here or purchase tickets to hear Jon Meacham speak at the Atlanta Press Club on December 14.

AHCJ Panel: The Rise in Heroin Use

UnknownHeroin-related overdose deaths in the U.S. have nearly quadrupled since 2002, and use of the drug has increased by 63 percent, according to the CDC.

Part of this surge is the relatively cheap price of heroin. Another factor is the crackdown on the misuse of prescription opiate drugs.

The Atlanta chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists is holding a panel discussion on heroin on Nov. 18th at 7 p.m. We will meet at the Berthold Building on Monroe Drive in Atlanta.

On the panel will be Sissy Weldon, 27, a former heroin user who is in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. She is the co-founder of Atlanta in Recovery, a nonprofit organization with the mission of empowering individuals by promoting a positive, sober, and active lifestyle. Currently, she is the outreach coordinator of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse where she works to facilitate connections and conversations among young people combatting and confronted with substance use challenges.

Sissy will be joined on the panel by Dr. Michael Fishman, the director of the young adult program at Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, and Robin Elliott from Georgia Overdose Prevention. In 2011 Robin lost her son, Zack, to a heroin overdose. He was 21 years old.

AHCJ will provide food and beverages (nonalcoholic, at the request of our speakers). Parking is free.

Location: The Berthold Building

741 Monroe Drive NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30308

Date: Nov. 18

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

RSVP: Please RSVP to Andy Miller at

Please note: When you RSVP we will give you the code to get into the building and access the parking.

Community loses beloved journalist

From the Marietta Daily Journal


Joe Kirby, 30-year MDJ employee and editorial page editor, lost his battle with cancer overnight. He will be missed by friends, family, colleagues and this community.

CARE President and CEO Michelle Nunn to address humanitarian crisis during Atlanta Press Club appearance

ATLANTA — CARE President and CEO Michelle Nunn will offer her perspective on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, during an exclusive appearance before the Atlanta Press Club on Oct. 1. 

Nunn will share insights about the people behind the crisis, the challenges they face and the humanitarian needs in Syria and neighboring countries, such as Jordan and Turkey. Former CNN president Tom Johnson will lead the conversation.

After an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2014, Nunn joined CARE as its president and CEO, effective July 1. Her Atlanta Press Club appearance comes as she reaches the 100-day mark leading the 70-year-old international humanitarian aid agency.

“As a global community, we are failing to meet the enormous threshold of need,” Nunn wrote in a Sept. 11 op-ed published on “Humanitarian organizations on the ground are falling short of resources and simply need more support. The needs for health care, education and basic supplies are immense. This even as refugees are paying large sums of money and risking their lives to crawl into unstable boats or walk hundreds of miles across Europe.”

She added: “The long-term solution, of course, is peace. We need new diplomatic efforts to ensure the enforcement of U.N. resolutions calling not only for a peaceful, political solution to the conflict in Syria, and also protection of civilians and access for humanitarian assistance.”

The event scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 at the Commerce Club in Downtown Atlanta. Tickets are $40 for nonmembers and $30 for members, and tables are available for purchase.

Johnson, a former senior executive at four U.S. news organizations: CNN, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald and Texas Broadcasting Corp., is a 2011 inductee into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame.

For more information, call 404-577-7377 or visit

How Hacks, Hackers Unite in the Newsroom

By Maggie Lee

Storytelling is no longer just words on a printed page, spoken into a mic or told in images.  Now that hackers join the hacks in newsrooms, it’s possible to bring all those elements together and give viewers some space to explore the story they want.

On Sept. 22, a team from the AJC will explain how they combined the crafts of coding, reporting, photography and research for their Battle of Atlanta microsite, an interactive look a at Atlanta and Atlantans during and after the Civil War, right up to today.

The talk is free and it is also the official reboot of the Atlanta chapter of Hacks/Hackers.   

Hacks/Hackers is an international grassroots journalism organization with dozens of chapters and thousands of members across four continents. Its mission is to create a network of journalists (“hacks”) and technologists (“hackers”) who rethink the future of news and information.


Tuesday, Sept. 22
Doors at 6:30 p.m.
Discussion at 7 p.m.


223 Perimeter Center Pky NE
Atlanta, GA 30346
(Across the street from Dunwoody MARTA station)


More info:
Hacks/Hackers Atlanta

Local news directors react to Roanoke shooting: ‘This one hits close to home’

Channel 2 Action News news director Mike Dreaden, Fox 5 news director Mike McClain, CBS46 news director Larry Perret and NBC news director Jennifer Rigby at the Atlanta Press Club luncheon event. Credit: Rodney Ho/

Channel 2 Action News news director Mike Dreaden, Fox 5 news director Mike McClain, CBS46 news director Larry Perret and NBC news director Jennifer Rigby at the Atlanta Press Club luncheon event. Credit: Rodney Ho/


By Rodney Ho
Originally published on Wednesday, August 26 on the AJC’s Radio & TV Talk blog.
Rodney is a member of the Atlanta Press Club board of directors.


At an Atlanta Press Club luncheon today, executives at all four local stations echoed the same theme after the tragic Roanoke shooting of two news employees on live TV this morning: sadness with a reminder of standard vigilance while on location.

“This one hit close to home,” said Jennifer Rigby, news director at NBC affiliate 11 Alive (WXIA-TV). “I do hold a little concern about a copycat. This person was determined to get attention. He posted video. He tweeted on his own Twitter account… We have to be vigilant.”

Larry Perret, news director at CBS46, said he sent a note out to staff telling camera crews to leave a scene if they don’t feel comfortable. “We just want to emphasize to be on guard,” he said.

Mike Dreaden, news director at Channel 2 Action News as part of the ABC affiliate (WSB-TV), said staff discussed the situation at the early morning meeting. “We’ve had cases where crews have been held up and equipment stolen,” he said. “We are already conscious of security issues. We are out here and visible and easy to identify. This reminds you how careful you have to be.”

A few weeks ago, a television camera operator was pistol-whipped during a live report in San Francisco. The thief made off with cameras from two different TV stations. A suspect was arrested a few days later.

Rachel Tobin, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter and former Atlanta Press Club president who now works at Jackson Spalding, asked for a moment of silence for the deaths of  WDBJ7 photographer Adam Wardand WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m. during a live broadcast near Roanoke. (Details of the tragedy here.)

Otherwise, nobody said anything as provocative as then 11 Alive news director Ellen Crooke in 2009 when she said local news “sometimes stinks.” Since then 11 Alive has focused less on crime stories than their rivals and now uses the phrase “Holding the powerful accountable.”

Perret, who joined perennial fourth place CBS46 less than a year ago, was amusingly self deprecating. When asked by Saporta Report’s Maria Saporta about staffing challenges, he said his corporate bosses at Meredith gave him a greater budget to invest in news but wouldn’t say how much staff he has now for competitive reasons.

Then he added, “Less than WSB,” the long-time No. 1 station in town with the biggest crew in town. Pause as people chuckled. “A lot less.” That garnered a bigger laugh.

(WSB lists 27 reporters, 10 news anchors, five meteorologists, two sports anchors on its site not counting two anchors emeritus still listed in John Pruitt and Monica PearsonCBS46 has 26 total reporters and anchors listed on its site, 41 percent fewer than WSB)

In fact, nobody said they were cutting budgets and many have reclassified jobs with a greater focus on digital and social media.

Each station defined their missions. Channel 2, as usual, is the king of breaking news. Fox 5 prides itself on investigative work, as does 11 Alive. CBS46? Enterprise stories nobody else has in an effort to differentiate themselves though he admitted, “Easy to say, hard to do.” He also hopes the new anchors and reporters they’ve brought in are “authentic and connect with people.”

Read my story from June about CBS46’s recent radical changes.

There were several questions about seeking stories that connect online via social media. Fox 5 news directorMike McClain said a recent video it posted of a man at the top of an overpass with an American flag honoring the Chattanooga shooting victims generated more than 10 million views. He said it was “very touching. Folks shared it. It’s not just about creating TV content and pushing it out.”

McClain also noted that Facebook is a major driver of social referral traffic, 10 to 1 over other sources.

Rigby said some stories show surprising legs. A crime story about a Conyers mother killed by her twin daughters generated huge traffic and is buoyed every time NBC or anybody else airs something about it.

The Press Club has held similar events in 2009 and 2013.

This is what I wrote in 2009.

Here was my recap of the 2013 event.