TWO YEARS AGO, I SAT in a restaurant booth, getting an earful from a local chef. He’d read a feature story I wrote for Atlanta magazine on the rising Black restaurant scene in Westview and the West End. He hated it. He was furious. He claimed my article missed “the real story,” and that Atlanta media only focuses on newcomers to historically Black neighborhoods—not the actual issues most important to longtime residents of those communities.
I got defensive. I rambled on about the tight deadline, a narrow assignment, and the fact that the chef wasn’t even from the West End.
But I knew, in a sense, he was right.
I’ve called more than a few newsrooms home, from Creative Loafing to CNN, and I know that local journalism is broken. It was never perfect. More than ever, news organizations prioritize clickbait, viral videos, and memes. I’ve used my words, my voice, for a single goal: tell the urgent stories that center on the people who know those issues best.
It’s been easier said than done—until now.
Say hello to Canopy Atlanta, a digital publication with a bold mission to bring community-led journalism to the heart of storytelling. Our inaugural issue focuses on the West End, a neighborhood that predates the Civil War and was one of the first streetcar suburbs of Atlanta and is currently experiencing rapid change in the form of redevelopment and gentrification.