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Ken Sugiura’s Winning Streak in Sports Journalism

Ken Sigiura 06262024 (1)

Inspired by the grit and fervor of Chicago’s sports scene, Ken Sugiura grew up not just watching games, but living and breathing the stories of his hometown heroes. 

“I read The Chicago Tribune and Sports Illustrated cover to cover from the time I was probably 10 or 11,” Ken said. “What I like reading most is stories about people and not just, ‘Oh, he’s so fast,’ or ‘Look how many catches he made,’ but more like, ‘How did he or she get here? What motivates this person?’” 

This passion for storytelling is what shaped his career in sports journalism. Over the last 26 years, Ken has made a name for himself as a reporter — now columnist — at the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (part of the Cox family of businesses), where he’s been able to write stories like the ones he loved reading as a kid. 

“It's still where I probably get the most enjoyment on the job,” he said. 

Here, Ken shares how he discovered he had the chops to become a writer and why working at the AJC has been a game changer for his career. 


From reading headlines to reporting on the sidelines 

Ken’s first byline was in The Michigan Daily when he was a freshman at the University of Michigan.   

“The paper itself was big, so I had a lot of writing opportunities from the time I was a freshman,” he said. “I really enjoyed writing and I loved the atmosphere of a newsroom.” 

Working at the independent, student-run newspaper gave Ken a glimpse of what his life could be like as a sportswriter — working alongside people “who got me in a way that no one else did,” he explained.  

His job at the student newspaper was an extracurricular activity at first. But Ken started seriously considering a career as a sportswriter and explored his prospects in this field through newsroom internships, including a two-year internship at The Philadelphia Inquirer. During his time in Philadelphia, Ken went to a job fair in New York City, where he was able to meet recruiters from papers all over the country. 

“At that point I was thinking that I wanted to go back to the Midwest or maybe to California, where my sisters were,” he said.  

Instead, he interviewed and accepted a job at the AJC. Although moving to Atlanta came as a surprise to him, this is where Ken really came into his own as a sports reporter.  

“I often say I came reluctantly, but thankfully something was guiding me here, and this is the right place for me,” he said.   

Ken with his wife, Robyn, daughters Emi and Mika and son Kai on a family trip to San Francisco, CA.

Game-changing career growth   

Throughout his time at the AJC, Ken progressed from covering high school sports to the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia Tech sports beat, among other assignments. 

Ken is grateful for the opportunities he’s had to hone his craft covering different sports beats. For a time, he also covered news features, which helped him develop a better nose for news off the field. 

“It turned out to be a good opportunity to grow as a reporter,” he said. “I’m thankful that with each change, there came a new set of challenges and new ways to grow.” 

In June 2023, Ken made his debut as a sports columnist — one of the highest profile roles a sportswriter can aspire to. 

“I feel honored to be in this role — and this sort of speaks to how I’ve been supported [in my career],” Ken said. “I’m thankful that people at the AJC were willing to believe in me and give me a shot rather than go outside and find someone else to do it.”  


A winning culture  

Ken is grateful that the AJC continues to invest in sports coverage. He also appreciates how the AJC prioritizes quality journalism and looking after its employees. 

“This is a place where I’m going to be taken care of — and that’s not something you can say for a lot of other newspapers at this time,” he said. “As my career has progressed, newsrooms across the country have shrunk and opportunities are decreasing, and a lot of colleagues have lost their jobs.”  

The big difference in why the future feels so bright at the AJC, Ken explained, is because of the sense of stability that comes with being part of the Cox family of businesses. 

“I’m just so thankful to be working for a family-owned newspaper,” he said. “The Cox family have been supportive and patient and really invested in the AJC at a time where you don’t necessarily see that across the industry.” 

Want to come work with us? Explore open positions and join the Cox Talent Community today! 

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