Nashville's police chief and director of schools both came from out of town, and Desperately predicts The Tennessean's next editor will too. Tennessean publisher Leslie Giallombardo insists that the paper's managing editor, Dave Green, is a serious candidate to replace Frank Sutherland and is intested in the job, but few people think he has the temperment and the vision to run a newsroom. When Sutherland steps down on Sept. 30, Green will be the paper's interim editor. Other than Green, no else at 1100 Broadway will be considered, Giallombardo says.
Giallombardo is already conducting telephone interviews with prospective candidates and, though she won't name names, she says that there's a certain type of editor we can expect: someone already editing a Gannett paperperhaps one a bit smaller than The Tennessean. If you're at a larger paper, why would you want to take a step down the corporate ladder. And if you're editing a smaller paper, you're probably not ready to make the jump to a mid-market daily. That's how chain journalism works.
Meanwhile, the Tennessean publisher says flat-out that she wants someone in the Gannett family. She's not entirely closed to interviewing candidates from outside the chain, but as of now doesn't plan on it.
"Having been with the company for 25 years, I think we have a certain philosophy about how we conduct business, and it's easier for people inside our culture to adjust," she says.
And yet an infusion of new ideas is exactly what the paper needs. In 2001, Gannett tapped Knight Ridder's Paul Anger to be editor of The Des Moines Register, and he's won acclaim both inside and outside the chain. There is, we have reason to believe, a world outside of Gannett, and it would be in the paper's best interest if its publisher considered outsiders for editor.
Still, the publisher has some more positive criteria she's willing to share. Giallombardo says she wants her next editor to "have a real solid nose for investigative reporting." It's an interesting remark given how that's largely perceived as the daily's most glaring shortcoming. Finally, the publisher says she's less likely to pick a No. 2 editor at any of its larger dailies like Detroit News or the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Then there are people who have little chance of being tapped. During moments of wishful thinking, several journalists and others have mentioned Scene editor Bruce Dobie as a possible Sutherland successor. It certainly couldn't hurt for Giallombardo to talk to him, but the chances of his being recruited are as remote as those of Dan Rather spotting a phony document. That's because Gannett tends to be risk-averseas Giallobardo has exemplifiedand would be loath to introduce the kind of clash of cultures that Dobie's presence would necessarily mean. That's not to say, however, that he wouldn't do a good job.
Giallombardo wouldn't comment on Dobie's possible candidacy, although she does say that two people in Nashvilleoutside of The Tennesseanhave expressed interest in the job. Once again, she wouldn't name names.
Finally, after a week of reflection, we're not sure Sutherland's departure was as entirely as organic as he has portrayed it, and that probably doesn't bode well for Dave Green. Why is Sutherland only editing the paper until the end of the month? And even if Sutherland departed The Tennessean exactly on his own terms, it's been a while since he's been Gannett's golden boy. The paper's circulation, as everyone knows by now, has been receding for years and the newspaper itself hasn't produced blockbusters for a while. So we just don't think Giallombardo will opt for Sutherland's top lieutenant.
The Meredith Corp., WSMV-Channel 4's parent company, has blocked access to several television industry Web sites.
"Our policy is that the Meredith Corp. owns the computers and computer networks, and we maintain the right to block access to sites that may be counterproductive to running a successful television station," says company spokesperson Jody Judge. "They may include gambling sites, pornography sites or any other place that may be inappropriate to...a successful business."
Meredith started blocking the site newsblues.com a few weeks ago, shortly after the popular industry Web site posted an item mocking new weekend anchor Terri Merryman. The site pointed out that the photo of Merryman posted on the station's Web site is from many, many years ago, although it's anachronistically attached to her current bio.
Amazingly, Meredith doesn't see the hypocrisy of a media outlet making it harder for its reporters to find out stuff about their industry. "There are a lot more credible sources to get your information than some of these sites," Judge replies about newsblues.com.
Here's another idea: why not let the reporters and anchors decide that for themselves?
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