Monday, October 19, 2009

Peach Buzz buzzkill

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 10:30 PM

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This is the pits. We've gotten word that Peach Buzz columnist Rich Eldredge quit the AJC last Friday after being told he was being reassigned. Here's the internal memo that went out to the newsroom — somewhat prematurely, it would now seem:

Jennifer Brett joins the Opinion/Insight group as Peach Buzz columnist and blogger. Jennifer will report on the comings and goings of Atlanta's celebs and VIPs. Jennifer will start Monday.

Rich Eldredge joins the Breakihttp://blogs.creativeloafing.com/freshloaf/wp-admin/post-new.phpng News group, bringing a wealth of reporting experience and deep local connections. Rich will start Monday.

Oops, maybe not.

This is bad news for all concerned. I've argued before that a society/celebrity column has a place in a major daily newspaper and that Eldredge, who took over the gig full-time in 1996, was "easily the best Buzz-er the paper has had in the last 20 years."

I can attest from experience that being bounced from a comfortable beat can be a jarring, horrendous experience for a journalist. On the other hand, it often goes with the territory. It's a shame that the AJC management and Eldredge couldn't work out a mutually agreeable solution. Instead, Peach Buzz loses his wry voice and the paper loses his "reporting experience and deep local connections."

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