By: Joe Strupp
At the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday morning, the fatal courthouse shootings and related the carjackings of two AJC employees forced editors to not only launch expansive coverage but also to worry about their workers.
Managing Editor James Mallory said a one-hour lockdown of the paper’s offices shortly after 9:30 a.m. made it difficult for some to enter the building but did not keep reporters and editors from leaving. He said the paper deployed “most of our Metro staff and two people from the business section” for the story.
“We are about four miles from the courthouse, but we are only a few blocks from the garages” where two AJC workers, including reporter Don O’Briant, were attacked, he told E&P. “As soon as we heard something was going on in the area, the lockdown was done. We have our own security team here, and they did it.”
Mallory said some employees were likely delayed entering the building but were allowed in with company identification. He said visitors and non-employees had to wait until the lockdown ended.
Mallory said he knew something big was happening nearby after hearing a flood of sirens outside his window. “The volume of the sirens caught my attention,” he said. “You can tell the difference between one police car and five police cars. This was a lot of sirens.”
The managing editor said several AJC workers had already been to see O’Briant at the hospital, “and he seems to be doing well,” Mallory said. “Nothing I’ve heard has said it was life-threatening.”
The paper will not run an extra edition today, according to Mallory. But he said the Saturday edition will include three additional pages. “We are able to do the coverage with that,” he said. “We are already making plans for the Sunday paper, too. It will not be larger, but it will have extensive coverage.”