It costs more now to print and deliver a newspaper. That’s the reason the AJC cited Sunday for announcing that it would eliminate its Sunday @Issue opinions section, starting next week. @Issue was the liveliest section of the newspaper. Yesterday’s @Issue consisted of two broadsheets folded into eight pages. We’re trying to picture how its elimination will substantially save precious money spent on newsprint and fuel.
The untold story is the one behind the scenes, nicely outlined last week in Creative Loafing. The Loaf has a long list of familiar names that will leave the newspaper in the most recent buyout upheaval. Among them: Columnists Furman Bisher (who may continue to write freelance) and Maria Saporta. From the Loaf:
According to sources who said they had direct knowledge, the familiar bylines taking the buyout include golf writer Stan Awtrey, college football editor Tony Barnhart, city and regional editor Arthur Brice, high school sports writer Curtis Bunn, real estate (and former government) reporter Julie Hairston, investigative reporter Ann Hardie, veteran reporter Bill Hendrick, news feature writer Michelle Hiskey, “Technobuddy” columnist Bill Husted, higher ed reporter Andrea Jones, film reviewer Longino, Gwinnett reporter Rebecca McCarthy, Cobb reporter Tom Opdyke, Horizon reporter David Pendered and Saporta.
The article says that 73 AJC staffers accepted the buyout. The high number means the AJC will avoid involuntary layoffs of editorial staff. But imagine being among those left behind; this Loaf quote from an unnamed staffer says it best: “All the people who are leaving wish they were staying; all the people who are staying wish they were leaving.”