Yesterday afternoon, the Scene
and the City Paper
reported the grimy details of Pedro Garcia's memo, which, among other things, cast board chair Marsha Warden as a conniving segregationist. The Tennessean
published nothing. Today, the paper relegated the news of the memo to a back-page column
by Dwight Lewis, who managed to overlook the juiciest revelations from the former schools director's missive. Here we have a public record offering a fascinating look into a racially polarized school system and your daily newspaper doesn't think that's a front page story?
I don't know how dailies can stem their circulation declines—if I did I'd be lying on a beach somewhere—but downplaying sensational and
important stories doesn't sound like much of a game plan. Over the last year or more, The Tennessean
, which is losing more readers than most papers, has tried to reinvent itself, by offering an array of silly content online—from slideshows of pets to shopping blogs. But all that does is dare readers to find their news elsewhere while putting a once respected paper in competition with hundreds of teenagers who can blog about fluff better than a newsroom ever could.
Then again, The Tennessean
did write this story
about a couple who met at a gas station. That's circulation gold right there.