AJC loses well-known bylines; Bisher may keep column

Furman Bisher, the dean of America’s newspaper sports columnists, appears on a stunning list of talent set to leave the AJC staff voluntarily as part of the daily’s downsizing.

Unlike others on the list, Bisher actually may continue to produce work for the paper. There was talk inside the newsroom about him staying on as a contracted columnist rather than an employee.

But colleagues were able to confirm the names of more than two dozen other journalists who’ll be leaving the paper over the next few months — most at the end of August. A handful are relatively young talents; most are newsroom veterans who represent whole blocks of the AJC’s institutional knowledge.

Among them: film reviewer Bob Longino, investigations editor Jim Walls, and a slew of familiar bylines responsible for some of the paper’s best work over the last two or three decades. Opinion column editor David Beasley also appears on lists circulating among newsroom staffers, but colleagues I contacted weren’t sure whether he did take the paper’s buyout offer. (UPDATE: Beasley confirmed this morning that he’s taking the buyout.)