Piedmont Park with an Atlanta skyline. (Photo by Kelly Jordan.)

By David Pendered

Something feels right in my departure from SaportaReport coinciding with the return of a Swedish musician to a stage near metro Atlanta.

Sofia Talvik performed April 2 at The REP, in Seaside, Fla. (Photo by David Pendered.)

Sofia Talvik was on her way to perform in Decatur in 2020 when COVID-19 scuttled her schedule and sent her home to Europe. Talvik has resumed her U.S. tour and is to perform on April 30 at the Sautee Nacoochee Center, north of Gainesville.

I wrote four stories about Talvik. Not because she was particularly known to SR readers, but because Talvik represented all of us trying to navigate the unknown and unknowable of the pandemic. Talvik served as a stand-in for what the poet William Blake described when he wrote in “Auguries of Innocence:” “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”

Through my stories, I have tried to report the news as straight and honestly as I could. When possible, I have tried to remember the perspective Blake portrayed. I sought to include context that is intended to show how the news of the day fits into a broader issue facing our community. My goal was to provide additional information that can help readers come to their own conclusions about the story of the day, not to select information intended to guide readers toward a specific conclusion.

This effort propelled me to travel to show how other communities are responding to situations similar to those our readers face. Most recently, it was a trip to Down East North Carolina to report the experience there with the commercial oyster industry Georgia hopes to expand. A trip to Columbus established that breathing difficulties reported there were due to smoke from fires in Alabama, not to an early arrival of ozone season that could manifest in metro Atlanta. A trip to a phosphate mine in rural eastern North Carolina shed light on a proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp. Multiple trips to the Florida Panhandle over many years provided reporting to address how the people and economy there are responding to the changes in river flow from Georgia into the Apalachicola Bay, and its failed oyster industry.

South River’s Panola Shoals, a picturesque destination for recreation. (Photo by Kelly Jordan.)

The weekly guest columns have been my responsibility since autumn 2015. My approach has been two-fold: To provide a platform for regular folks to discuss civic issues in a civil fashion, and to showcase writers who could serve as role models. One debate unfolded in a yearlong series in 2021 on the pros and cons of Atlanta’s proposal to increase the density of dwellings in existing neighborhoods. One showcase is on the homepage now, the latest installment in a five-year series from Georgia Tech’s Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain that has given a voice to scholars and scientists, many of them students and many of them women, whose work to improve our community may not otherwise be represented outside academia.

Since April 2011, Maria Saporta has graciously allowed me to be part of what we call this grand adventure of SaportaReport. Maria’s commitment to the editorial content and Thought Leaders is without question. The sister site, Atlanta Civic Circle, is the result of Maria’s intent to focus our community’s attention on key issues of affordable housing and democracy, with more topics on the horizon.

Maria has provided me the latitude to develop content in both the news and guest column spaces. Maria has been an honest broker when readers went to her to complain or question my coverage. Maria’s practice has been to forward me emails from readers, advising the sender and me to work things out. Even now, Maria has been gracious as I step away from SaportaReport to take on a new challenge in Atlanta. Maria is both a professional colleague and a personal friend.

As are so many of you. Thank you for your interest in the stories and columns I’ve presented. Thank you for taking the time to add comments. Thank you for your continued support of SaportaReport. It is a grand adventure.

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written...

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  1. David, it is hard for me to imagine SaportaReport without you. We have worked together for decades, and you have been constant companion as we traveled along this journey. Thank you for your dedication and loyalty to SaportaReport for the past 11 years. We never knew how long this grand adventure was going to last, but I always thought we would be together flowing through all the ups and downs. I wish you the best in your next adventure. Please know, you’ll always be part of the SaportaReport family. With love and respect, Maria

  2. David,
    Thanks so much for your dedication to journalism. Your columns were timely and important to the Atlanta Metro area and beyond. Quite often something you wrote informed me for the first time about an issue of real interest to me. I also worked with you a couple of times as a guest columnist. You were so helpful, easy to work with and completely supportive. You made being a guest columnist an enjoyable experience.
    You and your voice will be missed here at the Saporta Report, especially by me.
    I wish for you the best in your future endeavors.

  3. David, there is a saying that it’s the people who make a place great and I can say undoubtedly that you have made Georgia better by sharing your thoughtful articles through the SaportaReport. Your stories will be missed and I hope Sally and I can still walk with you on the trails.

  4. Thank you, David, for many years of fine reporting. You have illuminated the serious housing issues facing low income and marginalized city and regional residents in extremely useful and important ways. Your work on these conditions and on other dimensions of inequitable growth and development very frequently led the way to much broader understanding of the real costs of present development systems. Your insights and perspectives will be missed. Wishing you the best, my only regret is that we weren’t able to collaborate more.

  5. David – Your work for the SaportaReport is an honor to our community. Your sense of context and perspective in telling a whole story will be sorely missed.

    Thank you for your contribution to a better Atlanta. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

  6. Thank you for such a gracious farewell. Your articles always have been in-depth, educational and interesting. You have been an integral part of the Saporta Report. We readers will miss you as you move onto life’s next phase. Best wishes.

  7. Thanks so much for your honest, all encompassing coverage – you will be missed, David! I do hope Cornwall beckons at some point soon in your travels, be well!

  8. David, I’ve enjoyed your writing and perspective for decades snd was so pleased when you joined SaportaReport.
    Thank you for your countless contributions to intelligent and effective journalism in our region. (Of course I will soccer for anybody that quotes William Blake!) I wish you well in your next endeavor I’m sure it will be wildly beneficial. Your friend Nan Orrock

  9. Thanks for all your excellent writing these past years in what is indeed a grand adventure, this publication. Best of luck in the next part of your journey.

  10. In this era of sound bites, viral memes, and fake news, carefully researched efforts to dig into what works and what doesn’t in policy, planning, and community building, are too often hard to find. David Pendered’s reporting in Saporta Report has helped focus attention on finding solutions to the challenges in our community with objectivity, and insight. Thank you David for your contributions to making the Atlanta region better!

  11. Thank you for all the Sunshine in Georgia, David. Your honesty and ingenuity will be missed here, but I can’t wait to see where you land next. It’s a lucky spot wherever it may be.

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