From today’s edition of The City Paper: After 13 years, The City Paper will cease operations with the publication of its Friday, Aug. 9 issue.
Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm, made the announcement to employees this morning.
“In the last few days, we made the difficult decision to stop publishing The City Paper,” he said. “After years of being subsidized by our investors and other Southcomm publications, we finally determined that there was not enough advertiser support for the free newsweekly model we were trying to sustain. The model proved very popular with readers, but in publishing the revenue doesn’t necessarily follow the readership.”
Ferrell said that the tough climate for advertising dollars made having multiple news properties extremely difficult, particularly a general interest publication like The City Paper. A portion of the staff will be laid off while others will be redeployed to other SouthComm publications.
“Going forward we will be merging some of our editorial resources into our profitable publications in Nashville in an effort to make them even stronger,” Ferrell said. “You will see some of the names you have grown familiar with in The City Paper in the masthead of the Nashville Scene and Nashville Post. Both publications will expand their news coverage to fill the gap left by the closing of The City Paper. David Boclair will continue his coverage of Nashville sports, for example.”
Full story HERE.
News release from Congressman Jim Cooper:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced three new additions to his Washington office.
Chris Carroll, a Tennessee native and most recently the Washington correspondent for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, will join as Cooper’s new press secretary on August 5. At the Times Free Press, Carroll reopened the Capital Hill bureau and won several awards for his reporting. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University’s Honors Program.
Carroll replaces Katie Hill, who has taken a job as communications director for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Cooper also announced the addition of a new staff assistant, Vic Goetz, a Nashville native and former intern, who graduated from Bucknell earlier this year. Goetz replaces another Nashville native, Kathleen Ambrose, who joined the staff of Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) this spring.
Cooper is also pleased to welcome a new health care legislative fellow, Paul Shorkey. Shorkey is a Rhodes Scholar and current candidate for M.Sci. in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford with a focus on U.S. health policy and health systems. He also holds a M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford and is a Morehead-Cain graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shorkey will work with Cooper on health care issues until the end of the year.
Shorkey succeeds Ruth McDonald, Cooper’s health care legislative aide, who will begin graduate school this fall.
SMYRNA, Tenn. — While Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney acted as master of ceremonies at an event hosted by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s reelection campaign Saturday, tea party activists held an event nearby to denounce the incumbent lawmaker’s voting record.
The contrast may illustrate the split within state Republican ranks now that the party holds a supermajority in the state Legislature, the governor’s office, both U.S. Senate seats and seven of nine U.S. House seats.
“We’re just sick and tired of the Republican establishment telling us we can’t have an open debate on Lamar Alexander’s record,” said Ben Cunningham, founder of Nashville Tea Party and Tennessee Tax Revolt, who served as master of ceremonies at the “counter-rally” attended by perhaps 200 persons from around the state — including a small group from Alexander’s native Blount County.
He said Devaney “is not supposed to endorse in a primary” but is effectively doing so by boosting Alexander’s re-election campaign toward a “coronation” by “trying to intimidate” prospective opponents.
“There is no primary now,” said Devaney when asked about the comments of Cunningham and others at the tea party gathering.
See also The Tennessean, which includes this paragraph: Jim Jeffries, a spokesman for Alexander, on Saturday night said that more than 500 people showed up for the Alexander campaign event at the Smyrna Air Center to honor Middle Tennessee Republican Party chairmen.
Gov. Bill Haslam has insisted that Tom Ingram, a lobbyist who gives him private advice for an undisclosed fee, does not lobby him on behalf of other clients. But WTVF reports that Haslam administration emails show Ingram clients had “enormous access” to the governor’s top advisers.
The story’s prime example is Chris and Andrea Ball, who had been cited in 2012 for operating a staff leasing company without a license, the station says. They showed up at a bill-signing ceremony shortly afterwards and a Tennessean headline on a story reprting this asked, “Who Invited This Couple?” At the time, Haslam aides told reporters it was a mystery who invited the couple to attend the signing of a bill that regulated staff leasing companies.
But emails obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates show Haslam’s administration was well aware of the couple. The Balls had hired Ingram.
His firm sent regular updates about the Balls to the governor’s chief of staff, Mark Cate.
…In March 2012, Marcille Durham of the Ingram Group sent an email to Cate, “Andrea Ball would very much like to visit with you, however briefly, regarding the Department of Insurance action that is driving her out of business.”
Cate responded that he talked with the Department of Insurance Commissioner and is “optimistic we can find a resolution.”
In April 2012, Ingram emailed Mark Cate about the Ball’s company, “Is there anytime today or tomorrow I can talk again about HR Comp Employee Leasing LLC. This is a very troubling case.”
A month after that, the Balls appeared at the bill signing.
Then in July 2012, Durham complained to Cate about a specific “fraud investigator” with the state. She was concerned about the “level of surveillance” on the Balls company.
Cate asked to be “kept in the loop.”
The emails show a level of access likely to make other lobbyists envious.
Ingram and his firm communicated regularly with Cate, even when he was on vacation in the Bahamas and on holiday weekends.
By the time George Cogswell, president and publisher of The Commercial Appeal, finished announcing that Louis Graham would become the newspaper’s new editor, many employees began standing and cheering, according to the CA’s report on the naming of the new boss. Cogswell moments earlier Monday referred to “the campaign” by many inside and outside the newsroom to persuade him and the newspaper’s corporate parent, Scripps Howard, to make Graham, 56, the successor to Chris Peck, who retired March 17 after more than 10 years leading the newsroom.
Graham, managing editor since 2011 and interim editor since Peck’s departure, was one of three finalists who interviewed last month. Cogswell quoted such words and phrases sent to him about Graham as “leadership” and “compassion” and “integrity” and “best boss I’ve ever had.”
“I have found him to be of the highest integrity and someone who truly cares about Memphis,” Cogswell said. “His 33 years at The Commercial Appeal will serve our readers incredibly well and will provide our newsroom with the leadership necessary to leap forward with our digital content platforms.”
News release from Tennessee Republican party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–The General Assembly today adjourned the first session of the 108th General Assembly. The conclusion of the session comes in a mere 33 legislative days–the earliest adjournment since 1990.
A number of Tennessee’s top priorities are on their way to becoming law thanks to the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (R–Blountville) and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R–Nashville). They include:
•Cutting taxes for all Tennesseans with reductions to the grocery tax, death tax, and Hall tax.
•Adding $100 million to the state’s rainy day fund for future emergencies.
•Placing a permanent ban on the state income tax before voters.
•Reforming the state’s antiquated worker’s compensation laws to provide certainty for businesses while protecting the rights of workers.
•Rejection of federal takeover of Tennessee’s health care system.
•New laws addressing gang violence, prescription drug abuse, repeat domestic violence offenders, and synthetic drugs
•Reducing government by placing a limit on the number of bills each Member of the House can file.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney congratulated the GOP Members of the General Assembly and remarked, “Tennesseans expect their elected officials to meet, conduct business in an orderly and efficient manner, and then return home instead of wasting valuable taxpayer dollars. That is exactly what Lieutenant Governor Ramsey, Speaker Harwell, and all the legislative Republicans have done. Tennessee is cementing its reputation as a land of opportunity for every citizen to succeed and prosper because of their hard work.”
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The editor of The Commercial Appeal is retiring after 11 years in the paper’s top position.
Chris Peck notified the staff Thursday afternoon.
Scripps newspapers Vice President of Content, Mizell Stewart told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/XMfhVc) managing editor Louis Graham will serve as interim editor. He said a national search for Peck’s replacement — both in and out of Scripps — will take place immediately aiming to hire a replacement within 90 days. Scripps is the parent company of the publication.
The paper hired Peck, 62, in 2002 to replace the retiring Angus McEachran.
Peck is a past president of the Associated Press Managing Editors and the current secretary of the American Society of News Editors.
Stewart said Peck would continue to contribute to the paper’s editorial pages
From the TFP’s Alison Gerber: At a time when many newspapers are scaling back coverage and closing bureaus, the Times Free Press is doing something to buck the trend. We’re sending a reporter to Washington, D.C. and reopening the bureau we closed there in 2008.
Reporter Chris Carroll, who covers politics for the newspaper, moves to Washington this week. And, while D.C. reporters are notorious for practicing “pack journalism,” where everyone follows the herd to the biggest story of the day, Carroll won’t be following anyone. That’s not his nature nor his assignment.
He’ll be there to cover Washington through the lens of what readers in Tennessee and Georgia care about and report on the states’ congressional delegations. And this is a good moment in time to do that.
For the full editorial page column, click HERE.
News release from Vanderbilt University:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s Bill Haslam is a remarkably popular Republican governor during a politically divisive time in the nation’s history, making him a politician to watch, says a Vanderbilt University political scientist.
Haslam has a 68 percent job approval rating, according to new analysis of data from a Vanderbilt Poll conducted late last year. In comparison, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has received a surge of national attention for his actions and comments in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has a 67 percent job approval rating in his home state, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Taking into account margin of errors for the polls, Christie and Haslam are in “a dead heat” as far as popularity ratings in their respective states, said John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt.
“But Christie’s popularity is inflated due to the aftermath of Sandy,” Geer said. “And so even with that jump in popularity, he and Haslam are tied. Prior to Sandy, Christie’s approval was about 20 points lower. So within that context, Haslam is doing amazingly well.”
Haslam also has more support from across the aisle than Christie, picking up 60 percent approval from Democratic voters. “In today’s polarized environment, these data,” Geer contends, “are really eye popping.” Christie has a 40 percentage point gap between Democrats and Republicans even with the post Sandy bounce and Haslam’s is half that. Haslam also enjoys equal support among men and women, which again is highly unusual in today’s politics.
“Overall, these are the kind of numbers that are likely to draw the attention of Republicans and Democrats nationally as discussion heats up about the 2016 presidential election,” contends Geer.
The Vanderbilt Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. More information is available online at the website of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt.
State Sen. Janice Bowling of Tullahoma will not be removed as a member of the Republican State Executive Committee after all.
She had been more or less automatically removed earlier for missing three consecutive meetings of the Executive Committee, according to state GOP Chairman Chris Devaney. But Bowling disputed the contention (Previous post HERE) and party officials have accepted her point.
Devaney’s letter to Executive Committee members explaining the situation is below.