How metro columnist Bill Torpy presses on

I guess I’m an accidental Georgian, but I think many of you are, too. I came for three years – 31 years ago – and fell in love with Atlanta.

I came in 1990 to cover Atlanta’s growing exurbs for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two months later, there was a big announcement conveyed by this newspaper’s headline: “It’s Atlanta!” Yes, Atlanta, the underdog city, had pulled it off – we (yes, it was now a “we”) were getting the Olympics.

I liked the guile, the moxie, the can-do, I’ll-show-you attitude of a city wanting to prove its mettle to the world. I wanted to be a part of it and stick around for the Big Show.

Since then, my wife, Julie, and I had four kids and have put them through Catholic schools and three have attended the University of Georgia. Thank you, Zell Miller and the lottery.

Over the years, I’ve covered explosive development in the exurbs, gripping change in the state, politics and crime in the city and suburbs. In 2014, I became the Metro columnist, a job that puts my picture on the page and allows me to sweep up behind the news, to look at things that get missed in the first rush of coverage.

If I can make you chuckle or want to choke me, all the better.

I’ve always wanted to look out for the little guy, those getting bullied, because I was that guy and learned how to fight to stick up for myself.

A newspaper should be a mirror to the community it covers. It should point out when we live up to what we should be and when we fall short. It should also discuss, debate and exhort how we can do better.

It has been a privilege to work for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a family-owned paper with a long history and one that has remained solvent and independent of corporate raiders. That is a big thing. Newspapers have taken it in the chops the past 15 years and we are glad for all the support, especially from our readers and subscribers. (We love our subscribers!)

The events of recent years show how important independent, fair and fearless news gathering is to a free society. We all need the full picture, not sound bites, not talking points but the truth as best as we can find it.

We do it for you and certainly couldn’t do it without you.

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