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Prototype of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution redesign
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Cox Enterprises
Publisher Michael Joseph
Editor Julia Wallace
Founded Constitution: 1868
Journal: 1883
Journal-Constitution: 2001
Headquarters 72 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
 United States
Circulation 211,420 Daily
405,549 Sunday[1]
ISSN 1539-7459
Official website

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the only major daily newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and its suburbs. The AJC, as it is called, is the flagship publication of Cox Enterprises. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of the merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. The staff was combined in 1982. Separate delivery of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ended in 2001.[2]

The AJC reaches a total print and online audience of more than 2.2 million people each week. Every month, more than 2.3 million unique visitors access the newspaper's Web sites, including and[3] From 2003 to Oct. 31, 2008, the paper also published accessAtlanta, a free tabloid-sized entertainment paper. In March 2009, the AJC launched a new free classifieds site called ajcexchange. Ajcexchange allows users to share their listings on a variety of social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Delicious.

Subsequent to the staff consolidation of 1982, the afternoon Journal maintained a center-right editorial stance, while the editorials and op-eds in the morning Constitution were liberal. When the editions combined in 2001, the editorial page staffs also merged. The editorials and op-eds have attempted to strike a more "balanced" tone. Most of the paper's editorial stances have been closer to those of the old Constitution. The combined paper endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004; in 2000 the Constitution endorsed Al Gore while the Journal endorsed George W. Bush. The paper condemned Bush's decision to allow the National Security Agency to spy on phone conversations in the United States without a warrant by calling his actions a "clear, present danger".


The Atlanta Journal

The Atlanta Journal was established in 1883. Founder E.F. Hoge sold the paper to Atlanta lawyer Hoke Smith in 1887. After the Journal supported Presidential candidate Grover Cleveland in the 1892 election, Smith was named as Secretary of the Interior by the victorious Cleveland. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Margaret Mitchell worked for the Journal from 1922 to 1926. Important for the development of her 1936 Gone With the Wind were the series of profiles of prominent Georgia Civil War generals she wrote for The Atlanta Journal's Sunday Magazine, the research for which, scholars believe, led her to her work on the novel. In 1922, the Journal founded the South's first radio station, WSB AM 740 (now 750). The radio station and the newspaper were sold in 1939 to James Middleton Cox, founder of what would become Cox Enterprises. The Journal carried the motto "Covers Dixie like the Dew".

The Atlanta Constitution

Constitution building 1890

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868. It was such a force that by 1871 it had killed off the Daily Intelligencer, the only Atlanta paper to survive the American Civil War. In 1876 Captain Evan Howell (a former Intelligencer city editor) purchased a controlling interest and became its editor-in-chief. That same year, Joel Chandler Harris began writing for the paper. He soon invented the character of Uncle Remus, a black storyteller, as a way of recounting stories from African-American culture. During the 1880s, Constitution editor Henry W. Grady was a spokesman for the "New South," and encouraged industrial development.

The Constitution started the second radio station, WGM AM 710, having received its Federal Radio Commission broadcast license in March 1922, just two or four days after WSB. It now succeeded by WGST AM 640, though its original facility (after frequency changes to 1110 and 890) is now WGKA AM 920. The station folded after just over a year, and was donated to the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech).

Ralph McGill, editor for the Constitution in the 1940s, was one of the few southern newspaper editors to support the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1946, reporter David Snell uncovered that Japan had developed its own atomic bomb prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[4]

From the 1970s until his death in 1994, Lewis Grizzard was a popular humor columnist for the Constitution. He portrayed Southern "redneck" culture with a mixture of ridicule and respect. Other noteworthy editors of The Atlanta Constitution include J. Reginald Murphy. "Reg" Murphy gained notoriety with his 1974 kidnapping. Murphy later served as editor of the San Francisco Examiner.

The Constitution won numerous Pulitzer Prizes. In 1931 it won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for exposing corruption at the local level. In 1959, The Constitution won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for Ralph McGill's editorial "A Church, A School....". In 1967 it was awarded another Pulitzer Prize for Eugene Patterson's editorials. In 1960, Jack Nelson won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting, by exposing abuses at Milledgeville State Hospital for the mentally ill. In 1988 the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning went to the Constitution's Doug Marlette. Mike Luckovich received a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 and 2006. Cynthia Tucker also received a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.


Cox Enterprises bought the Constitution in June 1950, bringing both newspapers under one ownership and combining sales and administrative offices. Separate newsrooms were kept until 1982, though both papers continued to be published. The Journal, an afternoon paper, led the morning Constitution until the 1970s, when afternoon papers began to fall out of favor with subscribers. In November 2001, the two papers, which were once fierce competitors, merged to produce one daily morning paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The two papers had published a combined edition on weekends and holidays for years.

Prior to the merger, both papers had planned to start TV stations: WSB-TV 8 for the Journal, and WCON-TV 2 for the Constitution. Only WSB actually got on the air (making it the first TV station in the South), moving from channel 8 to WCON's allotment on channel 2 in 1951 to avoid TV interference from a nearby channel 9. (WROM-TV since moved, leaving WGTV on 8, after it was also used by WLWA-TV, now WXIA-TV 11.) This was also necessary to satisfy FCC rules preventing the excessive concentration of media ownership, preventing the combined paper from running two stations.

In 1989, Bill Dedman received the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for "The Color of Money," his expose on racial discrimination in mortgage lending, or redlining, by Atlanta banks.[5] The newspapers' editor, Bill Kovach, had resigned in November 1988 after the stories on banks and others had ruffled feathers in Atlanta. (see Anne Cox Chambers).

In 1993, Mike Toner received the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for "When Bugs Fight Back," his series about organisms and their resistance to antibiotics and pesticides.

Julia Wallace was named the first female editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2002. In 2005 she was named Editor of the Year in 2005 by Editor and Publisher magazine.[6]

Mike Luckovich again won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial cartooning in 2006, an award he had received in 1995 under The Atlanta Constitution banner.

Circulation and relocation

The paper used to cover all 159 counties in Georgia, and the bordering counties of southwestern North Carolina where many Atlantans vacation or have second homes. Due to the downturn in the newspaper industry, it contracted dramatically in the late 2000s to only serve the metro area.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has its headquarters in downtown Atlanta, where as of August 2009 the company had 850 employees. During that month it occupied less than 30% of its downtown location since it had consolidated its printing operations in Gwinnett County in 2008. In 2010 the newspaper plans to relocate its headquarters to leased offices in the Perimeter Center area of Dunwoody for financial reasons.[7]


  1. ^ "ABC: AJC circulation dives 23 percent". Atlanta Business Chronicle. American City Business Journals, Inc. 2009-10-26.  
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ ""1946 Atlanta Constitution Atomic Bomb Articles"". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 4, 2009.  
  5. ^ The Color of Money
  6. ^ American Society of Editors Mag. March 7, 2003. Editor and Publisher Mag. January 24, 2005
  7. ^ Collier, Joe Guy. "AJC moving from downtown to Perimeter Mall area." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 17, 2009. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.


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