Our mission is to inform the public on the most critical issues facing metro Atlanta by providing in-depth reporting and presenting possible solutions with opportunities for civic engagement online and in the community.
Our definition of civic journalism
Civic journalism is a way to inform the public about the most critical issues affecting our community. The Atlanta Civic Circle will provide solutions-oriented reporting and analysis and create a forum where people can become more engaged in the decision-making process.
Who we are
In fast-evolving Atlanta, civic engagement has never been more crucial. Many residents, however, underestimate the impact they can have on the future of their city with efforts as slight as an occasional visit to a community meeting or casting a ballot in a local election. Equally underappreciated in Atlanta is the need to educate folks on how to make those easy steps. All too often, public meetings are underattended, local votes are determined by an invested few, and the direction of the city’s growth is left at the mercy of local leaders, from city, county, and state politicians to real estate developers to lobbyists and more. Therein lies a sense of urgency to usher more Atlantans toward a desire to have a say.
Enter the Atlanta Civic Circle, a nonprofit publication from the mind of Maria Saporta, the renowned veteran journalist who’s for 10 years run the civic-minded news outlet SaportaReport. The aim of the Atlanta Civic Circle is to harness the sense of engagement fostered by SaportaReport to build a better educated, more involved readership that shall shape the Atlanta of tomorrow. Step one is to develop expertise in one of Atlanta’s most daunting issues: Housing Affordability. Step two is to take on Democracy in our region.
Imagine, years from now, an Atlanta where the housing affordability crisis is but a distant memory, thanks largely to laypeople and their neighbors, and not just the powers that be. The Atlanta Civic Circle’s inaugural goal is to hone in on the core issues that have the city’s affordable housing stock in a downward spiral — and its displacement rates at record highs — and to direct readers toward the resources necessary to effect change. Expect glossaries, guides, and calendars to inform the masses on the problems Atlanta faces and the potential solutions to those problems.
We at the Atlanta Civic Circle, however, can’t tackle this alone, housing affordability and democracy are but the first two “Civic Circles” we aim to address. As we grow, we need Atlantans of all stripes to guide us toward the coverage and issues that matter most to them. These issues have plagued Atlanta for decades, but they’re far from the only hurdles to creating a world-class city. Perhaps tackling matters of environmental sustainability or homelessness or income inequality — all of which, granted, have current implications on our focus areas— will follow. But we’ll leave that up to you, the readers who appreciate that a vested interest in one’s community is vital to molding a city that prospers everywhere, rather than just a privileged few neighborhoods.
Want to help us choose our next focus area? Suggest a topic for consideration: Click Here
Editorial Independence Policy. Atlanta Civic Circle retains full authority over our editorial content. The reporting we provide will never be affected by the sources of our revenue.
Donor Transparency Policy: We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
Maria Saporta – Special Advisor
Maria Saporta is an Atlanta native and the daughter of European parents, who were active citizens of Atlanta. She is the mother of two children who also make Atlanta their home. Maria is a longtime Atlanta business and civic journalist. She spent 27 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as its business and civic columnist. She founded www.SaportaReport.com in 2009, which provides daily updates on local business, urban and civic issues focusing on metro Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond. Maria also provided columns and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, WABE/90.1 FM, and Atlanta Magazine among others. In 2017 SaportaReport received an award for Outstanding Public Outreach and Journalism from the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association. Maria was given the inaugural “Atlanta Hero” award by the Rotary Club of Atlanta on July 9, 2018. Most recently, in January 2019, Maria was inducted into Georgia Trend’s Hall of Fame.
Britton Edwards – Director
Britton is a PR and marketing specialist with 20+ years of experience in the political, consumer products, journalistic, and non-profit sectors. She spent the last six years working as a strategist and consultant for SaportaReport.com where she came to know the ins and outs of metro Atlanta’s business and leadership community. Britton played a critical role in the creation of the Atlanta Civic Circle from the beginning. She served on the Board of the Atlanta Civic Circle for two years leading up to the official launch. She is passionate about civic journalism and engaging our community in discussion and action around important issues to metro Atlanta. Britton is a graduate of The University of the South, Sewanee, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Innovation at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA. She is an alumna of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation leadership program Inspire Atlanta, class of 2019. Britton is married to Neil Edwards, and they have two beautiful children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauri Strauss- For Your Information
Lauri Strauss is president of Strauss Media and Communications LLC where she works with nonprofit organizations, including the Atlanta Civic Circle and the Atlanta Press Club. Previously, she served as president of the Atlanta Press Club for more than ten years managing the day-to-day operations, events, and fundraising for the professional journalism organization. Lauri’s background is in broadcast journalism, media relations, and nonprofit management working for companies including CNN, The Coca-Cola Company, and the American Cancer Society.
Lauri is enrolled in American University’s Master of Public Administration and Public Policy program. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2015, a board member for Ferst Readers, and an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and the Junior League of Atlanta. She sits on the advisory council for the Agape Youth and Family Center and serves in advisory roles for other nonprofit organizations.
Derek Prall – Editor
Derek Prall has been a journalist, editor and author for over a decade. Over the years he’s written for and managed numerous publications including the New Jersey Herald, American City & County magazine, Condenser and Talent Development magazine. Focusing primarily on politics and local government, Prall’s career has placed him in newsrooms and board rooms up and down the east coast. But, as an Atlanta native, his role as editor of the Atlanta Civic Circle has brought him back to civically engage with the city he calls home. Prall is a 2008 Furman University graduate and currently resides in West Midtown with his fiancé and their two cats.
Got a news tip? An idea for the site? Email Derek at email@example.com.
Sean Keenan — Journalist, Housing Affordability
Sean Keenan is a freelance reporter focused on social issues and politics. A housing reporter for the Atlanta Civic Circle and the associate editor for Curbed Atlanta, he’s also contributed reporting to the likes of The New York Times, Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing, and more. He’s also much too excited that he’s been cited as a reference on Wikipedia. Follow Sean on Twitter: @ThatSeanKeenan or email him with news tips and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tammy Joyner – Journalist, Democracy
Tammy Joyner is an Atlanta-based journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Daily Kos, The Atlanta Business Chronicle, Delta Sky Magazine, and other publications.
Before becoming a freelancer in 2017, she worked at The Charlotte Observer, The Detroit News, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While at The AJC, she was a business reporter and editor. She also covered government and political issues on metro Atlanta’s southside. During her career, she has covered a wide range of beats and topics, including the economy, the workplace, voting rights, and socioeconomic issues. She is a University of Michigan 2003-2004 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow. She and her partner David have two grown sons, a cat named Grady and a dog named Zeus. Want to reach out? Tammy can be contacted at email@example.com.
Hannah Jones – Social Media Manager
Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native who recently graduated from Georgia State University, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah is excited about the opportunity to serve the City of Atlanta and its people. Hannah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.