OLD Media Moves

Two longtime Atlanta biz reporters taking buyout

April 10, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Two reporters on the business desk of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — Robert Luke and Tom Walker — have accepted the paper’s buyout offer and will be leaving the paper soon, according to a memo from editor Julia Wallace distributed Tuesday at the paper.

In addition, two other members of the biz desk — copy editor Steve Phenicie and former assistant business editor David McNaughton — are also taking the buyout. McNaughton has been an editorial page writer in recent years.

AJCIn her memo, Wallace said, “As I told you last week, we will be losing some excellent staffers, who have made the newspaper and ajc.com better every day. These folks are irreplaceable, and we will miss them. But we are fortunate to have such a strong and deep staff still here, and we continue to have one of the best newsroom staffs in the country.”

Walker has been writing about the stock market and investing for the Atlanta paper since way before I was a high schooler in the suburbs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Luke, meanwhile, is a jack of all trades who could cover anything and used his expertise as an investor himself to understand the business world. Both were extremely knowledgeable about Atlanta’s business world.

In an e-mail, Luke said, “When Tom, Dave and I leave June 30, we’ll take with us a combined 96 years of business writing experience. Dave McNaughton and I go back nearly 30 years. We both worked in the business news department at The Detroit News. Tom, of course, is the dean of Atlanta business journalism, with 41 years. He served as business editor of The Atlanta Journal during the ’70s.”

McNaughton was the old-style business editor on the desk who handled all of the corporate earnings. He understood a balance sheet better than a lot of executives. What I remember about Dave is his dry wit that could make a tense situation less so.

I enjoyed working with all of these business journalists while on the AJC’s biz desk from 1994 to 1997. They all helped me become a better business journalist. They will be missed.

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