For those who haven’t seen it yet, Creative Loafing created this mock-up of a “Dunwoody Journal-Constitution” for their current issue, which features a lead article by Scott Henry entitled “‘Burbs or Bust”.
Many in-towners – including myself – have cited the paper’s move to Dunwoody and recent articles with a perceived anti-Atlanta bias to state show that “the AJC isn’t Atlanta’s newspaper anymore”. In his article, Henry speaks of recent editorial changes at the paper including the facts that “… reporters are now forbidden from using the word “sprawl” and other terms that seem to cast judgment on the suburban way of life. The paper has even appointed a “bias editor” to ferret out even the unwitting inclusion of a turn of phrase that might cause offense to Northside readers.”
It’s a cry of a wounded population, compelled to reference Ralph McGill in moments of nostalgia for the newspapers of old.
And yeah, it does suck that the city of Atlanta’s hometown paper has moved OTP and now caters to the more affluent northern suburbs. But we shouldn’t take it personally. As anyone with any amount of human contact knows, the entire newspaper industry is going through a period of serious flux, which will likely result in making the word “paper” obsolete in coming years.
As Henry notes, the AJC was bleeding $1 million a day in 2008. The old profit model no longer worked, so they moved and consolidated resources. That’s business.
Whether the city of Atlanta will suffer from having to share the spotlight in a more ‘burbs focused paper is yet to be seen. What the web has taken away from the big dailies, it has given back in the form of start-ups and “citizen journalists” hoping to fill the gap. Is it currently an adequate replacement? It depends on what you value. If it’s a more substantial focus on local coverage, then maybe. If it’s in-depth, investigative journalism, probably not. But that’s the world we live in.
Of course, none of this means that the CL mock-up isn’t hilarious!