LOADING

Type to search

Lyle Harris Columns Main Slider

Lyle Harris is coming back home to SaportaReport

Lyle Harris
Lyle Harris Topics Lyle Harris will cover in his SaportaReport column (Collage by Britton Edwards)

By Lyle Harris

Who says you can’t go home again?

Nearly eight years ago, I briefly joined the ranks of SaportaReport shortly after its debut.  Following some career diversions that took me in a very different direction (namely, flakking for MARTA) I’m returning as a regular columnist and sometime-editor for SaportaReport, which has become one of the best, most influential newsblogs covering our region.

A lot of people have asked me why I’m taking this step, and why now.  The truth is that I’ve reached a point in my personal and professional life where I’m compelled by conscience to speak out candidly about issues that matter to me without worrying (too much) about getting fired. In fact, after seven years as MARTA’s chief spokesman, I voluntarily fired myself so I could freely embark on the next leg of my journey.

Lyle Harris

Topics Lyle Harris will cover in his SaportaReport column (Collage by Britton Edwards)

Going forward, I’ll mostly be covering three topics that I think are critically important to the future of our city, our region and the state of Georgia. I hope my experience and passion on these topics will prove useful to everyone and anyone who cares about this place we call home. Those issues include:

Transit and transportation: While we’ve seen isolated signs of improvement, Georgia remains a relative transportation backwater while the rest of the people-moving industry is going through a pre-Cambrian era of historic technological disruption. As a result, we’re losing our competitive advantage to other cities and regions that have embraced forward-thinking transportation solutions.

I wrote about transportation for many years as a reporter and editorial writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  During my stint at MARTA, I worked alongside some of the brightest, and finest people in the transit industry.  While there is still much for me to learn, my mission is to help accelerate the pace of change to ensure we don’t suffer through more mind-numbing, life-sucking, environment-killing auto-centric gridlock. We have the potential to become a regional think tank for transportation innovation, and my goal is to highlight the people, policies and politics we’ll need to reach that goal.

The Media: Oy! The Fourth Estate, locally and nationally, is in shambles. At a time when we need great journalism (and journalists) more than ever, local media outlets are cratering. As circulation and viewership have fallen, and the business models for newspapers and broadcast media have atomized, the quality of local reporting has grown unbearably awful.

Instead of providing us with information to help figure out what’s important, we’re bombarded with endless crime stories and empty-headed sensationalism. That kind of reporting only keeps us perpetually scared and misinformed. While I harbor no delusions about singlehandedly reversing these media trends, I’ll try my level best to serve as a watchdog for the often-misguided watchdogs.

Marijuana – Yep, you read that right. Marijuana is finally coming out of the closet in Georgia and across the country. Frankly, I want to help kick down the door. As an unapologetic capitalist, staunch supporter of civil rights, an advocate of criminal justice reform and a longtime marijuana consumer, I will be lending my editorial voice to help educate and inform Georgians about the growing marijuana movement that has the power to help and heal millions of people in a myriad of ways.

In the next several weeks, I’ll be launching a new hashtag to hear what others are saying and thinking about this game-changing issue.

I don’t consider this column to be my personal soapbox; my work will rely on factual reporting flavored with my own experiences and insights.  If and when I make a mistake, I’ll correct it promptly. Most of all, I intend to foster a civil, multi-faceted dialogue about these issues that ultimately moves all of us forward, which  I’m proud to say is a founding principle of SaportaReport, its writers and its namesake.

I’m glad to be back. Thanks for taking this journey with me and with us.

Tags:
Lyle Harris
Lyle Harris

Lyle Harris rejoins SaportaReport after seven years as MARTA’s chief spokesman. He will be covering three topics critically important to the future of our city, our region and the state of Georgia: Transit and transportation, the media, and marijuana legislation.

    1

You Might also Like

21 Comments

  1. Avatar
    mariasaporta October 3, 2016 11:57 pm

    Welcome back Lyle!  So glad you’ll be sharing your perspectives with SaportaReport!

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    scfranklin October 4, 2016 9:49 am

    Good news for all of us. Welcome back to the public dialogue. WIsh you would add public education to your portfolio. It is at least as important a marijuana,

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    pwilson October 4, 2016 1:05 pm

    Welcome back Lyle. Looking forward to your topics for discussion.  I am especially interested in what you think about gentrification in the city of Atlanta.  How developers and realtors are pushing people out of their homes in Old Fourth Ward.   No affordable housing.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Lance Russell October 4, 2016 2:25 pm

    Welcome back Lyle.Our region needs strong, reasoned, experienced advocates to shine light on our transportation challenges and the Saporta Report is a great place for your voice.I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Equitable October 4, 2016 7:18 pm

    Hooray on all fronts!

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Maria Saporta October 4, 2016 9:29 pm

    Welcome back Lyle Harris!

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Burroughston Broch October 4, 2016 10:33 pm

    “I don’t consider this column to be my personal soapbox; my work will rely on factual reporting flavored with my own experiences and insights.”
    “…I will be lending my editorial voice to help educate and inform Georgians about the growing marijuana movement that has the power to help and heal millions of people in a myriad of ways.”
    Please explain the apparent inconsistency between the above excerpts from your post.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
    1. Lyle Harris
      Lyle Harris June 14, 2017 5:58 pm

      I don’t see the inconsistencies. Perhaps you care to enlighten me or, better yet, stop hiding behind a pseudonym so we can assess your motives just as you’ve questioned mine.

      0

      0

      Report

      Reply
      1. Avatar
        Burroughston Broch June 14, 2017 9:32 pm

        Your Statement 1. You don’t consider this column to be your personal soapbox.
        Your Statement 2. You will be lending your editorial voice to help educate and inform Georgians about the growing marijuana movement.
        Your Statement 2 means you will be on your soapbox about marijuana; this conflicts with Statement 1.
        QED

        0

        0

        Report

        Reply
  8. Avatar
    J Strickland October 5, 2016 9:41 am

    Fascinating topics. I look forward to sharing my morning tea with you. 🙂

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    Gwen Davis October 5, 2016 1:10 pm

    Lyle, Congrats on ‘firing’ yourself! New adventures, opportunities are sure to follow.
    I look forward to reading your reports  — and possibly contributing in some way.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Michael Walls October 6, 2016 7:51 am

    Michael Walls

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    Michael Walls October 6, 2016 7:52 am

    Welcome back Lyle. Look forward to getting to read you regularly.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Butler 63 October 6, 2016 6:52 pm

    Welcome back and looking forward to your reporting -a little more light is always welcome if you are willing to take on the issues of the day and avoid the cheer leading and brand building that has become Atlanta b

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    Jeff D October 11, 2016 11:17 am

    From AJC editorialist to SaportaReport columnist, you’re still a terrific writer and thinker. Congratulations!

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    Tom Oder October 12, 2016 9:11 am

    Good for you, Lyle! Look forward to following your reporting.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    T Gaskin October 13, 2016 2:06 pm

    Wishing you all the best, it will be nice to know that Public Transportation has another voice in GA.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    Collie Burnett October 14, 2016 1:18 pm

    Welcome I loo forward to your reporting and take on various regional issues.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  17. Avatar
    Collie Burnett October 14, 2016 1:19 pm

    Welcome back. I look forward to your writings and take on regional issues.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  18. Avatar
    lance robertson October 19, 2016 12:23 pm

    Mr. Harris congratualations, I have getting man tears reading your story. PLEASE PLEASE reach out to me as I like to lend my support and best wishes on your next chapter. lance@rmg-eco.com sooner rather than later my friend.

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply
  19. Avatar
    John Keys October 19, 2016 3:51 pm

    Best Wishes, Lyle. It’ll be good to read your thoughts on issues in addition to transit and mobility options. You’re a great asset to our region, with good insights! Glad you’re back into the “broader loop.”

    0

    0

    Report

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.