Bert Roughton Jr., managing editor of the print version of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will visit Georgia Southern University Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m., to present this year’s Norman Fries Distinguished Lecture. His presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Performing Arts Center, corner of Chandler and Plant Roads.
In addition to discussing his experiences as a working journalist for more than three decades, Roughton will explore the role played by newspapers and other traditional media in today’s digital world.
Roughton began his college career at Georgia Southern University in 1973. He moved to Beirut in 1974 and attended the American University of Beirut in 1975, studying economics and comparative political systems. He returned to Statesboro, but eventually transferred to Georgia State University in 1977. He began his career in 1979 at This Week in Peachtree City and was hired by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1981.
A working journalist for three decades, Roughton has spent most of his career as a reporter covering everything from routine school board meetings to major plane crashes, war and the business and politics of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In 1997, Roughton won an AP first-place award for a series of stories on how well-connected consultants influenced real estate development in metro Atlanta. In 1998, he was posted to the London Bureau of Cox Newspapers, the chain of more than 30 papers that includes the AJC. While based in London he covered many topics including the troubles in Northern Ireland, the war in Kosovo, and Europe’s shift to a single currency, the Euro. He also wrote about the children orphaned by Africa’s AIDS epidemic, a project that merited a prestigious National Headliner Award in 2000.
In 2003 Roughton was named Metro Editor and placed in charge of the largest local news staff in the southeast. Named managing editor of the AJC in February 2007, he is responsible for determining the newspaper’s content and presentation and is playing a key role in reinventing the newspaper to compete in the digital age.
The Norman Fries Distinguished Lectureship Series began in 2001. It is funded by an endowment in honor of the late Norman Fries, who was the founder of Claxton Poultry. In his more than 50 years in business, Fries built the company from a one-man operation into one of the nation’s largest poultry production plants.