|Circulation||231,094 (as of March 13, 2012)|
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is the only major daily newspaper in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It 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 two staffs were combined in 1982. Separate publication of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ended in 2001 in favor of a single morning paper under the Journal-Constitution name. The AJC has its headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, Georgia. It is also co-owned with television flagship WSB-TV and six radio stations, which are located separately in midtown Atlanta. Past issues of the newspaper are archived in the United States Library of Congress.
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 Constitution, as it was originally known, was first published on June 16, 1868. Its name changed to The Atlanta Constitution in October 1869. 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 August 1875 its name changed to The Atlanta Daily Constitution for two weeks, then to The Constitution again for about a year. In 1876 Captain Evan Howell (a former Intelligencer city editor) purchased a controlling interest from E.Y. Clarke Sr. 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. In October 1876 the newspaper became The Daily Constitution, before settling on the name The Atlanta Constitution in September 1881. During the 1880s, editor Henry W. Grady was a spokesman for the "New South", and encouraged industrial development.
The Constitution started a radio station, WGM AM 710, having received its Federal Radio Commission broadcast license in March 1922, just two or four days after WSB. It is 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. 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. (Patterson later left his post as editor over a dispute over an op-ed piece.) 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 Pulitzer Prizes in 1995 and 2006. Cynthia Tucker received a 2007 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. Both newspapers continued to be published for another two decades, with much of the same content except for timely editing. 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 previously.
Prior to the merger, both papers planned to start TV stations: WSB-TV on channel 8 for the Journal, and WCON-TV on channel 2 for the Constitution. Only WSB 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 the 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 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules preventing the excessive concentration of media ownership, preventing the combined paper from running two stations.[clarification needed]
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. The newspapers' editor, Bill Kovach, had resigned in November 1988 after the stories on banks and others had ruffled feathers in Atlanta and among corporate leadership, some of whom complained of a "take-no-prisoners" editorial approach.
The paper used to cover all 159 counties in Georgia, and the bordering counties of western North Carolina where many Atlantans vacation or have second homes, in addition to some circulation in other bordering communities, such as Tallahassee, Florida, where the Sunday AJC was available. Due to the downturn in the newspaper industry, it contracted dramatically in the late 2000s to only serve the metro area. From Q1 of 2007 to Q1 of 2010, daily circulation plunged over 44%.
The AJC has its headquarters in Perimeter Center, an office district of Dunwoody, Georgia. Previously the AJC headquarters were in Downtown Atlanta near the Five Points district. In August 2009, the AJC occupied less than 30 percent of its downtown location, which was outdated and costly to maintain. Later that year, the AJC consolidated its printing operations by transferring the downtown production center to the Gwinnett County facility. In 2010 the newspaper relocated its headquarters to leased offices in Dunwoody, a northern suburb of Atlanta. In November 2010, the former downtown headquarters was donated to the city of Atlanta, which plans to convert the building into a fire and police training academy.
The AJC has four major sections daily. On Sundays, it has additional sections. The main section usually consists of Georgia news, national news, international news, and business news. The Metro section includes major headlines from the Metro-Atlanta area. The Metro section usually reports the weather forecast. The Sports section reports sports-related news. Before social media became popular, the Metro and Sports sections contained "The Vent" features where readers vented about current events. The Living section contains articles, recipes, reviews, movie times, a Sudoku, a crossword puzzle, a word scramble, and full page of color comics daily. Comics are printed in a separate section in Sunday editions.