Consider this first issue an introduction and a manifesto against cynicism. The rest will be my notes before the apocalypse.
My beloved Atlanta doesn’t have to go to hell. Remind me I said that, later.
George Chidi, Pirate Journalist.
“Tear gassed again, god**mn it,” I shouted at my phone, while protesters at the corner of University and Pryor in Peoplestown scattered in the street. “What the hell. God**mn . Twice in a week is bull**it. That’s not fair. That’s fu**ing lovely.”
I was livestreaming my degradation on Facebook, speaking to everyone and no one in particular.
We are awash in lies about what happens in the world. I stood, pissed off and retching, unedited, to bear witness.
Someday I’ll start using that MBA again, I thought. “You miserable motherfu**ers. Who the f**k do you think you are?” I said, instead.
Behold George Chidi in his natural environment: the middle of a mess somewhere around Atlanta, mud on my shoes, stating pure intentions with dirty language. The blood you see on my hands will probably be my own.
We are living through rap battles turned into street warfare as the music industry reckons with out-of-town rappers claiming Atlanta credentials. Atlanta is a glittering Black Mecca in the media and the inequality capitol of America at the same time. Technology titans are opening up gleaming midtown skyscrapers while a sixth of the public has faced eviction in the last two years. We remain the front line for America’s political trench warfare. As a good friend of mine says, Atlanta influences everything.
You should understand why this newsletter is worth paying as much as a Netflix subscription to read. Atlanta is broken. Most people live in social, racial and economic siloes here. Multifactor insight – actionable intelligence – about Atlanta that can connect the business community to its politics and culture is hard to find. The only constant in Atlanta is change. You’re here for help learning about what comes next.
Behold, The Manifest Joys of Paying For This Stuff.
I’m a journalist. I hate asking people for money. It feels dirty. I’m getting dirty because I believe it’s just that important to get this done.
A major part of this project includes detailed analysis of crime patterns in Atlanta. Those files — 911 records, spreadsheets, regression analysis and the wonky stuff that can prove I’m not bullshitting people — will be available to paid subscribers as downloads as they are produced.
Similarly, I will be conducting lengthy interviews with interesting people, some of whom might have devious and nefarious purposes. The highlights go in the story. The raw files are for you.
Mostly, I’m asking you to help me help this city and this state. I’m asking you to keep people from making stupid decisions about public policy by gathering enough real information to make that less likely. I’m asking you to help me shake some trees, to cover the cost of the inevitable court battles for access, for the Big Data computing power, for getting cops and crooks and politicians drunk enough to tell me what’s really going on.
The payoff is, fewer people die and fewer lives are ruined for no good reason. That’s what I’m trying to deliver. Help me.