AJC & WSB Newsrooms Receive Gov. James M. Cox Award

01/23/2019

At Cox, protecting our First Amendment rights is one of the most important things we do. It’s been a key part of who we are as a company since Governor James M. Cox purchased the Dayton Daily News 120 years ago, and this work continues in Cox Media Group newsrooms across the country.

The Very Best of Cox
This was on display recently when a team of journalists from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV newsrooms exposed “systemic violations” of the Georgia Open Records Act. These violations were committed by city of Atlanta officials under the administration of former Mayor Kasim Reed. The reporting led to a criminal investigation and prompted an unprecedented agreement with the city that provides increased transparency for all citizens. The two newsrooms are a great example of what it means to be a force for good in the world. Because of their efforts, these two newsrooms were recognized with the Governor James M. Cox Award.

Cox Enterprises President and CEO Alex Taylor presented the award to Channel 2 Action News Investigative Reporter and Anchor Richard Belcher and AJC City Hall Reporter Stephen Deere Oct. 16 at InSideCox Live. Alex praised the two reporters and their respective newsrooms for their courageous work, adding that they “represent the very best of Cox.”

A Huge Honor

Shawn McIntosh, editorial director of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said that every day our journalists ask tough questions and hold government officials accountable.

“This award, and the backing of our company leaders, is a huge thanks and endorsement for the work we do,” Shawn said.

Giving Back
As part of a negotiated settlement of the complaint filed against the city of Atlanta with the state Attorney General’s Office, the city agreed to repay Cox’s $80,000 in attorney fees, which Cox decided to donate to the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

WSB-TV News Director Misti Turnbull and AJC Editor Kevin Riley presented the check to the foundation at a recent event. Misti said the money will be put toward training citizens and journalists on how to access public records and challenge agencies that are not complying with the law. The money will also help pay for educating government agency officials on the Georgia Open Records Act.

“It just goes to show that at the core of Cox all these years has been this awesome journalism that holds folks accountable and that makes the community better, and that’s exactly what we did through the process of the open records stories,” Misti said.

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