Making news

First female AJC publisher leads paper in digital age

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Making news

Amy Glennon (right)

Photo by: Andrew Davis Tucker

Amy Glennon would hang out of the windows at the old Red & Black student newspaper offices in downtown Athens whenever she heard sirens, hoping they would lead her to another story for the newspaper.

Glennon’s experiences as a student journalist propelled her into a career in media. She’s now the first female publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the South’s largest newspaper.

“I was given opportunities to do some things,” says Glennon (ABJ ’90), during an interview in her corner office at the AJC headquarters at Perimeter Center in Atlanta. “Was it because I was a woman or not? I don’t think so. It was because I was here.”

She first experienced the industry at the Red & Black, learning the importance of deadlines, ethics and management. It was the best experience she could have had at UGA, says Glennon, who was the fall 2013 undergraduate commencement speaker.

“The decisions you make as a student editor at the Red & Black are the same journalistic decisions you make as you get out here,” says Glennon, an emeritus member of the Red & Black board of directors.

Through her classes with the late Grady College Professor Conrad Fink, a former Associated Press foreign correspondent and executive, Glennon grew fascinated with the intersection of strong journalism and the business side of the industry. She joined the AJC in 1992, serving in a variety of editorial roles, such as features editor, and business positions, including vice president of circulation, before being named to publisher in 2012.

It almost didn’t happen. At one point early in her career Glennon was considering a job with Microsoft, which she thought would offer her the management opportunities she desired. Then-AJC editor Ron Martin told her if she stayed, he would help introduce her to those opportunities at the newspaper. A “mini internship” enabled her to spend a week at different intervals in circulation, advertising and other departments.

Like other working moms, she struggles with “work-life navigation,” as she calls it. Glennon credits her husband, Mike, for taking a stronger role in parenting their girls, Kate, 12, and Abby, 10.

While she can’t attend all of her kids’ activities, Glennon commits to at least one activity, such as helping coach her daughter’s fourth-grade basketball team. “It’s the highlight of my week” she says. “It’s the most fun thing I do.”

The newspaper industry still hasn’t found the slam dunk for making money online, and the 146-year-old paper—which reaches 1.7 million people daily—wrestles with its business model changing to print/digital. Glennon says her management style encourages transparency, collective thought and teamwork. As she’s learned in her own career, timing is everything.

“Everybody’s habits are changing. Our challenge is to be in the right place as that’s changing,” she says. “It forces us to be ahead in our thinking, ahead in our development, but trying to be right on time with the delivery of what that product is that they want right now.”

—Lori Johnston is a writer living in Watkinsville, and a frequent contributor to the AJC.