Atlanta Business Chronicle
The emergence of the Atlanta Business Chronicle and similar newspapers across the country occurred at the end of the 1970s, as publishers attempted to reach the untapped readers and advertising dollars of the business community, which was largely underserved by the mainstream media. The challenge for such publications lay in changing the dynamic between the press and corporate America, which had historically viewed each other with suspicion.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle was launched in 1978 by Bob Gray, a publisher, and Mike Weingart, the paper's first editor. Weingart commuted to Atlanta from his home in Houston, Texas, where the two men earlier had started the Houston Business Journal. At the time of the paper's inception, the suburbs of Atlanta were flourishing, while downtown development and the real estate community struggled. According to Carol Carter, who served as the paper's editor from 1980 to 1983, "In 1978, local business news barely existed. Business was buried behind the sports section [in the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution]. . . . We spent more time on the phone explaining who we were than reporting a story."
In 1980 the Scripps Howard Corporation bought the Houston-based Cordovan Corporation, which at that time owned the Atlanta Business Chronicle as well as several other business journals. In 1986 the publication was sold to American City Business Journals, today the nation's largest publisher of metropolitan business newspapers, with publications in forty-one markets as of 2007.
Despite the disadvantage of competing as a weekly paper against the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city's major daily, the Business Chronicle has broken several major stories during its history. In 1988 the Chronicle published one of its most important stories when it was the first to reveal, under editor Anita Sharpe, that the Japanese firm Sumitomo Life Insurance Company was purchasing the IBM Tower in Atlanta for $300 million. During her tenure, Sharpe led the Atlanta Business Chronicle to two Loeb Awards for investigative reporting.
During the 1990s the publication was ahead of the curve on several other stories, particularly the prospects of the Atlanta-based Internet service provider MindSpring (later EarthLink) and its founder Charles Brewer, as well as Scientific Atlanta, a communications and entertainment technology company. The paper was also the first to report on the introduction of a new area code (770) in Atlanta, as well as on the city's loss, to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., of a joint venture between telecommunications corporations MCI and British Telecom.
The paper provides coverage on several major areas, including banking and finance, the hospitality industry, information technology and telecommunications, medicine and health care, real estate, and politics. The Atlanta Business Chronicle also maintains a Web site, which provides access to updated daily news, as well as to major stories from the print edition. As of 2007 David Allison is the paper's editor, and Ed Baker is its publisher.
Alan Sverdlik, Cleveland
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.