The Atlanta Press Club was founded in 1964 by a group of print journalists who included such notables as Celestine Sibley, Calvin Cox, Hal Gulliver and Raymonde Alexander of The Atlanta Constitution, and George Goodwin, the club’s first public relations member. As the group grew, broadcast journalists were included in the Club roster.
The Club created Second Tuesdays, informal monthly programs that gave guests a chance to speak freely, knowing their remarks would be kept off-the-record. Meeting regularly at DeKalb County Commission Chairman Manuel Maloof’s restaurant, the Club soon turned the neighborhood place into a hangout for reporters and politicians alike. Manuel’s Tavern was frequently “standing room only” as the Second Tuesdays tackled issues such as city politics and equal pay for women in the newsroom.
With the 1980’s membership surge and a desire to be closer to the day-to-day action, the Club opened offices at CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. Reflecting Atlanta’s growing position in the international community, the Press Club was active in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, providing information and hospitality to visiting journalists.
In 1997, the Club moved to Georgia Public Broadcasting, the most technologically advanced public broadcasting facility in the nation. The Club has capitalized on this partnership by expanding its televised programming, including its political debate series, one of the largest and most extensive in the country. The Club rode the new wave of electronic journalism when it made its 1998 televised debate series available on its web site in full motion video and real audio.
Today, the Club is located in 191 Peachtree Tower, located in downtown Atlanta. Journalists from the print, broadcast, and online communities comprise over half of the Press Club’s 600 member roster, making it one of the largest and most dynamic press clubs in the U.S. Editor & Publisher Magazine has described the Atlanta Press Club as “resurgent, a glaring anomaly at a time when press clubs around the country are fading into oblivion, victims of shrinking city press legions and changing journalistic culture.”