Former AJC Reporter, Maria Saporta, Criticizes AJC

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Former AJC reporter Maria Saporta criticized the AJC on her blog for abandoning its downtown office location and moving to North Fulton, as well as its increasing Right-wing slant.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

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It is no secret that leaders in the newsroom now say that their target audience is not those living/working inside the perimeter. Instead, they openly covet readers living and working in the areas north of I-285, even telling reporters that the south side of the region is not a top priority.

This is not the first time the AJC has tried this failed strategy. A decade ago, the mantra was Gwinnett. The newspapers invested millions and about one-third of its staff to cover Gwinnett County. The logic was that Gwinnett was growing, and the AJC could save itself by catering to that growth.

It was a futile attempt. People living and working in Gwinnett did not identify with the AJC. After years of investing it a Gwinnett strategy, circulation in that county stayed flat.

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So the AJC’s attempts to appeal to conservative, Republican suburbanites by alienating its urban readers is not paying off — to the detriment of Atlanta and to the detriment of itself.

Look at how the AJC has covered Atlanta’s significant win of $47.6 million for a $72 million streetcar project to connect Centennial Olympic Park with the King District.

“Pricey streetcar won’t ease traffic” — the 1A Sunday headline blared. One had to read way down in the story to find out that the project was not aimed at easing traffic. It is part of a growing understanding that transportation and land-use investments must be linked to create communities that are not dependent on automobiles.

The next day, the 1A headline blasted one of Atlanta’s greatest affordable housing developers — Progressive Redevelopment Inc. “Taxpayers’ bill: $5 million-plus. Low-income housing developer faces defaults; families likely forced out.”

In addition to making several inaccuracies, the story had a definitive anti-Atlanta and anti-poverty-fighting slant.

Sadly, the AJC has a bias editor — an editor meant to remove all liberal biases within the newspapers news pages. Unfortunately, the newspaper has no bias editor to filter out the Fox News, conservative babble that distorts the information in those same pages.

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