Cynthia Tucker, one of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s highest-profile columnists for more than 20 years, is leaving the AJC to become a visiting professor at the University of Georgia’s journalism school.
Tucker, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, assumes her new role Aug. 12, the AJC and UGA announced Wednesday.
They said her position at UGA will be part of a partnership between the AJC and the university’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Tucker, 56, was editorial page editor of AJC from 2001 to 2009, when she moved to Washington as a political columnist in a realignment of the opinion-editorial department.
Her last regular column appeared Sunday.
She said Wednesday she feels “a twinge of sadness” at ending her long run as a columnist.
“But I’m very excited at the prospect of teaching at a university and the opportunity that will give me to write in longer form as well,” she said, adding when asked, “There’s definitely a book in my future.”
Tucker said she will move back to Atlanta from Washington and commute to Athens, where she expects to start teaching a course in persuasive writing in the spring semester.
An Alabama native and Auburn University graduate, Tucker began her career in 1976 as a reporter at The Atlanta Journal. After a stint at the Philadelphia Inquirer and as a freelancer, she returned to the Journal as a columnist and editorial writer, then moved to the editorial page of The Atlanta Constitution, which she said was “a better fit for me.” At the time the papers had separate editorial pages, with the Journal leaning right and the Constitution left.
She was promoted to editorial page editor of the Constitution in 1992 and held the same role when the papers’ editorial pages were combined in 2001.
While she is well-known for a liberal take on national politics, the Pulitzer judges honored Tucker for writing passionately on voting rights, racial stereotypes and the failings of African-American leaders.
AJC editor Kevin Riley said Tucker’s column won’t be replaced “because quite simply, there is no replacing Cynthia Tucker.”