Fifteen Years of Atlanta Progressive News
(APN) ATLANTA — Upon the fifteen year anniversary of Atlanta Progressive News, News Editor and Founder Matthew Charles Cardinale issued the following remarks:
Fifteen Years of Atlanta Progressive News
Happy anniversary to us!
In celebration of our fifteen years of publication, please consider a donation to support the lawsuit brought by APN’s Editor against Brian Kemp.
Cardinale v. Kemp challenges Brian Kemp’s Shelter-in-Place Order for its failure to allow for protesting government (even with social distancing) consistent with the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Thank you for your support and readership for fifteen years!
Gather round chil’ren, it’s time to tell the story of how Atlanta Progressive News got started.
It was literally fifteen years ago: November 23, 2005.
If Atlanta Progressive News was a child, my child would be in high school!
Picture it: Shirley Franklin was Mayor of Atlanta. Hurricane Katrina had just devastated New Orleans. And the idea of the Internet as a means for receiving news was a strange and foreign concept to a lot of people!
And there I was, 24 years old, displaced from New Orleans and looking for a place to start an online news service that would harness the power of the Internet to empower the people of one city to make a meaningful difference in the democratic process.
We would cover news that would bring us closer to our progressive priorities: affordable housing, a clean environment, peace, elections integrity, universal health care – you know, the basics.
Little did we know that in order to fulfill our mission, we would have to become a guardian of the people’s ability to make public comment, and a proponent of open records and open meetings.
In 2012, I famously won a Georgia Supreme Court ruling after a two year, multi-faceted campaign that included litigation with no attorney; APN news coverage; and song. All this to learn how the Atlanta City Council voted while having lunch at the Georgia Aquarium.
Today, we’re still fighting for open meetings and the City Council is still operating in secrecy!
Currently, we are challenging the City of Atlanta over two closed Executive Sessions held by the Community Development/Human Services Committee and the Finance/Executive Committee – where Councilmembers privately discussed an illegal ordinance under the false pretense of threat of litigation.
And we’re fighting for compliance with the Georgia Open Records Act! The City still routinely responds late or not at all to records requests; or they wrongfully withhold records; or they gather records and then mysteriously decide not to release them; or they claim records don’t exist when they do.
We are boldly going where even the Attorney General, Channel 2, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have not gone before: which is, to seek an Open Records Consent Decree.
You may have noticed some changes to our news team.
Gloria Tatum, who joined APN in 2009, started her own blog, Streets of Atlanta, last October, after ten years with APN. Please be sure to follow her blog here:
Welcome to our new writer, Adrian Paulette Coleman, who is a Canopy Atlanta fellow and public access television advocate.
This year, we have seen the fruits of our labor in a number of ways.
After years of providing a unique and necessary voice in Atlanta’s media ecosystem, Georgia turned blue in the November 03, 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
So many individuals, organizations, and funders are responsible for the change that has taken place in Georgia. For fifteen years, we advanced progressive causes and a progressive worldview; and we helped weave together the voices of so many organizations who could not get coverage for their events, reports, or press conferences.
To be sure, we are not taking credit for turning Georgia blue, but like so many Shake’n’bakes, we helped!
After years of our lone coverage in the media wilderness of the problems with electronic voting, Georgia finally adopted a new E-voting system that includes a voter verifiable paper audit trail.
While problems still apparently remain, this year, Georgians voted on machines that produced a paper ballot that voters could check and which remained on record as a back-up to the electronic system.
In the year ahead our coverage priorities continue to include the environment, elections integrity, Atlanta City Council and 2021 Municipal Elections, the Georgia Legislature, and more.
We also have taken a special interest in covering the challenges facing our civil liberties during this extraordinary SARS-2 a/k/a COVID-19 pandemic.
We published a review of several federal court rulings overturning Shelter-in-Place Orders in states across the U.S. this year, for example, that was not only exclusive to the Atlanta news media but to the national news media.
The corporate media has, much like after the events of September 11, fostered a “groupthink” situation where to question any aspect of the government’s response to SARS-2 is to be against health, or against science. Science is no longer a method, in which we all can think critically, but a monopoly of favored and powerful institutions demanding censorship of critical voices.
Atlanta Progressive News will continue to advance our core values, including the First Amendment that makes our publication possible.
In the years ahead we will continue to find ways to make significant contributions to the news and information required to empower you, our readers, to make a difference in government; to have access to government; to have the right to make public comment; to have the right to protest, even during a pandemic.
Thank you for coming with us on this journey,
Matthew Charles Cardinale
Founder and News Editor, Atlanta Progressive News