It was a Wednesday night, 9:15, and The Atlanta Constitution’s chiefs were in managing editor Jim Minter’s office sorting through a busy news day, debating the next day’s front page: Gov. Jimmy Carter was mad at legislators. Inflation was roaring. The Watergate investigation was accelerating. Hank Aaron was chasing the home run record. And the FBI thought kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst might soon be released.
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HOW WE GOT THE STORY
One of the most riveting stories from the archives of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the 1974 kidnapping of former Atlanta Constitution editor Reg Murphy. Staff writer Bill Torpy had heard versions of the story over the years and asked Murphy about it while working on an unrelated story last year. He soon realized it would make a good Personal Journey. In addition to reading 40-year-old newspaper accounts on microfiche, Torpy interviewed Murphy and Jim Minter, the former managing editor who helped free Murphy. Torpy also interviewed former newspaper staffers, family members and FBI agents. It’s a thrilling story filled with intrigue, and it speaks to a different era when Atlanta was just beginning to bust out of its small-town mindset and take its place on the national stage.
-- Suzanne Van Atten, Features Enterprise Editor