John Huey buys movie rights to the “The Race Beat”

Former Atlantan John Huey has bought the option to make the Pulitzer Prize-winning book — “The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of the Nation” — into a movie.

Huey, editor-in-chief of Time Inc., personally bought the option for the movie rights instead of it being a Time Warner project.

The Race Beat was co-authored by Hank Klibanoff, former managing editor for news for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Gene Roberts, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It’s a done deal,” Klibanoff confirmed. “I just love the idea of working with John. He’s a force of nature. He was a wonderful writer and a very assertive reporter.”

Huey is a former reporter with the Atlanta Constitution, and Klibanoff said he ran across several of Huey’s stories while doing rrecent research. After leaving the Constitution, Huey joined the Wall Street Journal and helped launch its European edition.

Huey joined Fortune Magazine in 1988, and he has held several positions with Time Warner ever since. He also co-authored the book: “Sam Walton: Made In America,” an autobiography of the late founder of Wal-Mart.

In an email response to a question about the project, Huey wrote: “Nothing to report at this time other than I can confirm that I acquired the option to the book.”

Klibanoff said the option is for one year with the ability to renew that option for another year. Klibanoff said that he likely will serve as a consultant on the movie project.

 “John has not done a film before, but he knows a lot of people who have,” Klibanoff said. “He’s brought a lot of passion to this. When he read the book, he was pretty moved by it.”

The Race Beat outlines how America became aware of its race problems and the role that the press played in exposing the problem. The book also traces how after decades of ignoring the civil rights struggle, the national press began to appreciate the historical significance of the movement.

Asked about the next step for the movie project, Klibanoff said: “I don’t have any idea what to expect.” But Klibanoff said that he and Huey “share the same level of excitement about this project.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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