Thursday, January 31, 2008

Layoffs at Channel 2; weekend news broadcasts axed

It was due to changing media environment, station GM says.

Brinton retires again, this time from Channel 4

The "Word on the Street" reporter tells The Nashville Scene he has no plans to go back into television.

Channel 5 owner will sell station

Landmark says a deal could come within a few months.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dorsey to head communications for new Clement firm

Terri Dorsey, formerly of WSMV-Channel 4, will work for Clement & Associates, headed up by former U.S. Rep. (and Nashville mayoral candidate) Bob Clement.

'Tennessean' will no longer name juveniles until they're sent to adult court

Police reporter Kate Howard blogs on the change.

'DNJ' copy editor runs for Murfreesboro City Council

Jeffrey A. Weems is running for one of the three council seats on the April 15 ballot. Looks there are also three incumbents on the ballot.

UPDATE, posted Feb. 8: Mr. Weems doesn't work for the DNJ anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being 'friends' with sources: A discussion topic

OK, fellow Middle Tennessee journalists, your faithful chapter Webmaster has a question to throw out to y’all to maybe get some discussion going. What do you think about “friending” – or more likely “being ‘friended’ by” – sources and people you cover?

If you don’t know what on earth we’re talking about, here’s an explainer. “Social networking” Web sites are all the rage these days – MySpace, Facebook, etc. – and they let you have online “friends” who keep up with your goings-on and communicate back and forth with you. The phenomenon has created its own verb form, “friending,” for the act of asking someone to be your online “friend.” (And the reverse is to “be friended by” another online user.)

Journalists are doing social networking, myself included (heck, and those of you in Middle Tennessee may have noticed that the revamped has its own system of online “friending”). So, I’m figuring that it’s just a matter of time before some well-meaning source somewhere in the USA sends a “friend” invitation to a journalist.

If you’re that journalist, what do you do? (And if this has happened to you, what did you do?)

I’m old-fashioned, and my gut instinct is to say “you should politely decline. We cannot allow there to be friendship or a perception of friendship with sources.”

But is online “friending” the same as being friends with someone in real life? Will sources make that distinction? More importantly, will our readers/audiences make that distinction?

I’d been thinking about this for several weeks now. But I saw Michael Silence’s post yesterday on the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Web site – which picked up a snippet of a piece about journalists creating a “digital identity” – and thought I should post on the blog about it.

What are your thoughts?

Get ready for more chapter programs soon!

We forgot to mention in our recent post on the January luncheon that the Middle Tennessee Pro Chapter is planning more meetings this spring, including one in the works on the proposed federal shield law in March or April. We're also aiming at having an evening social function sometime between now and Memorial Day, Chapter President Milt Capps said. And the regional conference will be in New Orleans around the end of March. It'll be a joint regional with Region 8.

'Scene': Passel of staffers leave 'Tennessean'

The Nashville Scene's Matt Pulle writes about the recent departures of several staffers from the Tennessean newsroom. (Honest disclosure: I'm a Tennessean employee and worked with nearly all the people mentioned in the story. This blog has only about three readers, and all of them know that already, but I add that disclaimer just as a matter of principle.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We're social bookmarking, y'all

We've got a new feature here at, everyone -- you can now social-bookmark our posts. See something you like? Add it to digg or whatever suits your tastes. Just click the little icon at the bottom of the post.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brewer calls for more coverage of executions

We had a great turnout last Thursday at Sunset Grill for the Middle Tennessee Pro Chapter’s first program of 2008, a luncheon with guest speaker and SPJ national president Clint Brewer.

The executive editor of The Nashville City Paper and former president of the Middle Tennessee Pro chapter, Brewer touted the important work the Society is doing, called on his fellow Tennessee journalists to provide more coverage of executions in the state prisons, and talked about the expansion, online and otherwise, of The City Paper.

He began by saying he’d just gotten back to Nashville from Fort Worth, where the SPJ chapter traditionally “brands” the new national president, presenting him with a cattle brand with his/her initials on it.

Brewer lauded the progress made in Congress of the proposed federal shield law, which has passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, becoming successful “beyond the wildest dreams of a lot of people.”

“This is not a country where we need to be putting journalists in jail,” Brewer said.

The president also reported that SPJ recently made a $20,000 donation to the Chauncey Bailey Fund, which was created in honor of the Oakland Post editor who was killed by someone he was writing about.

Membership in the society is around the 9,000 mark, Brewer said.

SPJ is also launching a “Citizens’ Journalism Academy,” intended to bridge the gap between citizen journalists/bloggers and those in more traditional media, talking about journalistic principles such as accuracy and fairness. The academy program will include four seminars, in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Greensboro, N.C.

After talking about SPJ, Brewer talked about The City Paper, and not surprisingly, there were several pointed questions from the attendees in light of Matt Pulle’s column last week in The Nashville Scene, which said The CP planned to go online-only.

The City Paper is “aggressively going toward more online journalism, as is the rest of the world,” Brewer said. Chapter President Milt Capps of the Nashville Post Co. followed up – was there a timeline by which The City Paper intended to drop its print edition and go online only? No, there’s no timeline, Brewer said. The goal is not to do away with the print product, he said.

The publication is becoming less of a newspaper company and become more of a media company, he said, with new blogs and online products, and niche offerings like the Dining Compass.

Brewer said he was proud of the aggressive reporting The City Paper had done, listing major scoops about the MS-13 gang, human trafficking in Nashville, and former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr.’s possible run for governor. He also said he was proud of having hired and trained strong young journalists

Brewer called on his fellow journalists to make a better showing at the drawings for media witnesses to executions. Spots are going unfilled, he said, and the press has to be there to serve as watchdogs of government action.

“Folks, we need to cover executions in the state of Tennessee,” he said.

Brewer also talked about the proposal in the legislature to weaken the state’s open meetings law. The state’s rural publications are not as organized as the urban ones, while the legislature is led by lawmakers from rural areas, he said.

Brewer also entertained one last question about The City Paper’s most famous staffer, columnist Rex Noseworthy. Brewer said he never can seem to find Noseworthy in the office, and said he’d probably fire him pretty soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ludye Wallace among Nashville's freelancers

The former Metro Councilman is sporting a press pass these days, The Tennessean's Colby Sledge reports.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Allen of 'City Paper' new deputy press sec for Cooper

Reporter Jared Allen of the Nashville City Paper is the new deputy press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.

National President Brewer to speak to chapter Jan. 17

Start the new year right with a renewed commitment to the Middle Tennessee Pro Chapter --don't miss the first luncheon meeting of 2008.

WHO: Clint Brewer, executive editor, Nashville City Paper, and National President, Society of Professional Journalists
WHAT: Luncheon speaker, SPJ Middle Tennessee Pro Chapter
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008, 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Sunset Grill, 2001 Belcourt Ave., Nashville (37212)
WHY: Brewer will report on The City Paper and the progress and challenges facing the national Society of Professional Journalists.
HOW: Register in advance, pay at the door. RSVP to or call (615) 250-1544. Charges: $15 SPJ Members, other journalists and students; $25 all others.


Miller takes on new role with AARP

Veteran Capitol Hill reporter Karin Miller is the new associate state director of communications for AARP. Here's the press release:

Karin Miller Joins AARP Tennessee Team in Key Role
Former AP Reporter Heads Up State Communications

Nashville, TN--AARP has appointed Karin Miller to the position of Associate State Director of Communications for AARP Tennessee. Miller has more than 15 years of experience as an Associated Press reporter, spending much of her time covering Tennessee politics. Prior to her career with the AP, she wrote for The Tennessean and the Nashville Business Journal. She is a graduate of Belmont University.

“Her experience with the media, combined with her knowledge of Tennessee and the General Assembly, will help AARP move its policy agenda and promote critical issues of importance to our members,” said Rebecca Kelly, AARP Tennessee State Director.

As a member of the Capitol Hill Press Corps, Miller established a reputation for accuracy and integrity that won her the respect of her colleagues across the state, as well as the elected officials she covered.

“I am thrilled to join AARP at a time when its voice is becoming so relevant as our population ages,” said Miller. “I look forward to helping AARP communicate its positions on such critical issues as retirement security, health care reform and making our communities more livable.”

Miller, who will be responsible for creating and implementing communications strategies for AARP’s work throughout the state, will replace Patrick Willard, who was named AARP Director for Advocacy in October.

Enter your best work now for the Green Eyeshade Awards

Journalists in Tennessee and other Southern states can enter the 2007 contest. Deadline is Feb. 6.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

DNJ: More power to the ombudsman

The new state open records ombudsman needs more authority, the Daily News Journal says in an editorial.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

'Washington Post' blogger lauds Humphrey, Cromer

The Tennessee Journal's Ed Cromer and the Knoxville News Sentinel's Tom Humphrey have been called on by name as among the best political writers in the nation, in a list compiled by Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza.