The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is the only major daily newspaper in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is the flagship publication of Cox Enterprises. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of the merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. The two staffs were combined in 1982. Separate publication of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ended in 2001 in favor of a single morning paper under the Journal-Constitution name. The AJC has its headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, Georgia. It is also co-owned with television flagship WSB-TV and six radio stations, which are located separately in midtown Atlanta. Past issues of the newspaper are archived in the United States Library of Congress.
The Atlanta Journal was established in 1883. Founder E.F. Hoge sold the paper to Atlanta lawyer Hoke Smith in 1887. After the Journal supported Presidential candidate Grover Cleveland in the 1892 election, Smith was named as Secretary of the Interior by the victorious Cleveland. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Margaret Mitchell worked for the Journal from 1922 to 1926. Important for the development of her 1936 Gone With the Wind were the series of profiles of prominent Georgia Civil War generals she wrote for The Atlanta Journal's Sunday magazine, the research for which, scholars believe, led her to her work on the novel. In 1922, the Journal founded one of the first radio broadcasting stations in the South, WSB. The radio station and the newspaper were sold in 1939 to James Middleton Cox, founder of what would become Cox Enterprises. The Journal carried the motto "Covers Dixie like the Dew".
The Constitution, as it was originally known, was first published on June 16, 1868. Its name changed to The Atlanta Constitution in October 1869. It was such a force that by 1871 it had killed off the Daily Intelligencer, the only Atlanta paper to survive the American Civil War. In August 1875 its name changed to The Atlanta Daily Constitution for two weeks, then to The Constitution again for about a year. In 1876 Captain Evan Howell (a former Intelligencer city editor) purchased a controlling interest from E.Y. Clarke Sr. and became its editor-in-chief. That same year, Joel Chandler Harris began writing for the paper. He soon invented the character of Uncle Remus, a black storyteller, as a way of recounting stories from African-American culture. In October 1876 the newspaper became The Daily Constitution, before settling on the name The Atlanta Constitution in September 1881. During the 1880s, editor Henry W. Grady was a spokesman for the "New South", and encouraged industrial development.
The Constitution also established one of the first radio broadcasting stations, WGM, which began operating on March 17, 1922, two days after the debut of the Journal's WSB. However, WGM ceased operations after just over a year, and its equipment was donated to the then-Georgia School of Technology, which used it to help launch WBBF (later WGST, now WGKA AM 920) in January 1924.
In late 1947, the Constitution established radio station WCON (AM 550). Subsequently it received an authorization to began operating an FM station, WCON-FM 98.5 mHz and a TV station, WCON-TV, on channel 2. However, the merger with the Journal required major adjustments. Contemporary Federal Communications Commission "duopoly" regulations disallowed owning more than one AM, FM or TV station in a given market, and the Atlanta Journal owned WSB AM 750 and WSB-FM 104.5 as well as WSB-TV on channel 8. In order to conform with the duopoly restrictions, WCON and the original WSB-FM were shut down, and the WCON-TV construction permit was canceled, allowing WSB-TV to move from channel 8 to channel 2. In addition, in order to standardize with its sister stations, WCON-FM's call letters were changed to WSB-FM.
Ralph McGill, editor for the Constitution in the 1940s, was one of the few southern newspaper editors to support the American Civil Rights Movement. From the 1970s until his death in 1994, Lewis Grizzard was a popular humor columnist for the Constitution. He portrayed Southern "redneck" culture with a mixture of ridicule and respect. Other noteworthy editors of The Atlanta Constitution include J. Reginald Murphy. "Reg" Murphy gained notoriety with his 1974 kidnapping. Murphy later served as editor of the San Francisco Examiner.
The Constitution won numerous Pulitzer Prizes. In 1931 it won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for exposing corruption at the local level. In 1959, The Constitution won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for Ralph McGill's editorial "A Church, A School....". In 1967 it was awarded another Pulitzer Prize for Eugene Patterson's editorials. (Patterson later left his post as editor over a dispute over an op-ed piece.) In 1960, Jack Nelson won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting, by exposing abuses at Milledgeville State Hospital for the mentally ill. In 1988 the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning went to the Constitution's Doug Marlette. Mike Luckovich received Pulitzer Prizes in 1995 and 2006. Cynthia Tucker received a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.