According to the paper’s public editor:
A year ago, the newspaper was losing money. Business leaders moved quickly to turn that around, making a series of painful expense cuts that included trimming home delivery to outlying regions and reducing staff. Printing was consolidated at the company’s Gwinnett County plant, meaning the downtown presses were no longer used. And so the downtown office, which was expensive to maintain and no longer fully utilized, became an obvious choice for savings.
As difficult as those cuts were, the work paid off. The AJC has been profitable for the past several months. And in the face of necessary changes, the newspaper maintained its focus on what is essential to readers: a comprehensive report with deep local news, business, sports and entertainment coverage; a diverse mix of opinion and expertise; and in-depth watchdog reporting on topics that matter to all of metro Atlanta.
The AJC has indeed been doing a good job covering the area despite its reduced staff. They also put an impressive amount of resources into investigative journalism — producing about 10 enterprise pieces a week.
I would also add that the paper has worked on listening to complaints about its liberal bias — both in the news section and on the editorial pages. The paper shifted its editorial board to the center a year ago.
The AJC should also be lauded for its embrace of networked journalism. They often use shout-outs to their Twitter followers to get information on developing stories. And anecdotal evidence shows they’re quite receptive to fixing the mistakes pointed out by their networked community. Earlier this year, I criticized a lede for unfairly portraying a suspect in a crime as guilty. They fixed it within 2 hours and alerted me via Twitter.
It appears that all these elements make for profitable journalism. Other news outlets should take note of the AJC’s approach to the news business.