The corporate dominance of local markets like Nashville by companies like Gannett and Village Voice has subdued the debate, silenced conflicting voices, shuttered the unfettered marketplace of ideas, and steered the ship of state into dangerous and narrow straits. Robust competition and ownership diversity are more essential than ever to the economic health, vitality and viability of our community....
The monopoly of the media marketplace has led to less in-depth reporting on politics and elections, the environment, minority and labor affairs, education, government malfeasance, assaults on civil liberties and civil rights, and a score of other subjects. As a result, the identity, values and informational needs of our local community are at risk.
To meet his mission, Erland says the Free Press will have no salaried staff, though he hopes that will change as backers come on board. He's even editing without pay. Content will come from what Erland jokingly calls "cheap labor"--mostly the staff of Radio Free Nashville, whose hosts include community journalists such as co-founder Greg Welsch, Ginny's brother.
As for sales staff, the paper's writers can buy a page--roughly $100, which Erland says would cover printing costs of that page for 5,000 copies--and sell as much as half of it to advertisers, hopefully at a profit. Erland admits that "a lot of creative people aren't entrepreneurial, and vice versa," but he hopes for a model such as a theater reviewer buying a page, writing a review on half, and selling ads on the other half to make some money.
"What most people don't understand is the constant fire I am under by a small group of people who want to paint me as being against my own race. I am not against anyone and the wall that I was up against at this meeting I am not going to go into. The fact is I was told that here you go again, voting for someone who is a white male versus the black candidate. I was accused of this for the vote I made for the chair giving my vote to David Fox. I was accused of being against blacks by the rezoning vote, and now I had accusations around this situation. I was told 'we are watching to see if you do the right thing this time.' The fact is that my vote is not based on race 'ever' but I did have to lay it out there what I was challenged with."
So I get back to the office after a little vacation and find some voice mails from loyal readers waiting on my phone.
Most of the callers were veteran Metro cops, thanking the
Scene for running the cover story "Police State" last month.
"I've been a police officer for 17 years," said one, who
didn't leave a name. "I've been so mad (at the Scene) at times that I could
just pull my hair out, but thank you for doing such a good article." Other officers mentioned that pressure from Serpas to achieve certain numbers of
arrests and traffic citations hurt their ability to do really engage the community in a meaningful way or spend time on investigations.
Not everybody was happy with our story.
"I just called to say that I think your article on police
state (sic) in
I do have an attitude and maybe you don't need it, pal, but I'm certainly not "one of these people that likes to drive intoxicated." Riding my bike home from the bar is another matter, however...
"The hiring problem was underlined when two white coaches who had failed spectacularly in their previous jobs--Lane Kiffin with the N.F.L.'s Raiders and Gene Chizik at Iowa State--landed plum positions. Kiffin went to Tennessee, Chizik to Auburn. Meanwhile, the country's hottest young African-American coach, Turner Gill of Buffalo, was passed over. Gill took one of the worst programs in college football and turned it into a Mid-American Conference champion in three seasons. But he was overlooked for the marquee openings.""Failed spectacularly." Come on, Times, don't mince words--say what you mean. Of course, the writer is referring to Kiffin's recent tenure with the Raiders, where he went 5-and-15 over a season-and-a-quarter. Among the contributing factors discussed: Unlike in the NFL, prospective college coaches have to run the gauntlet of university administrators, athletic directors and boosters, who all have sway. As former Temple basketball coach John Chaney explained it, "It's all related to the fact that we want to make sure that we keep it safe and stay safe. And they do that by recruiting people that look like them and think the same way they think." That's a rather magnanimous way of putting it. Interestingly, before the Kiffin hiring, much of the chatter on the Vol Nation forums dismissed the 46-year-old Gill because, among other things, he was too young and inexperienced. "Too young yet. Has no idea what it's like to play the big boys," read one post. "Simply not ready to be handed the reigns [sic] of an elite big time program. He will be one day, but today is not the day," read another. It would be interesting to know what those Vols fans are thinking now, with the 33-year-old Kiffin at the helm.
Oh, dear sweet Livia... https://soundcloud.com/ichiromito/my-friend-rose?in=ichiromito/sets/music-for-boomboxes-2
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