Bruce Dobie, co-founder and editor of Nashville Scene, will be leaving the paper next month. The 46-year-old father of two tells the Nashville Post that alt-weeklies "need to be young" and that he doesn't have as firm a grasp on how best to cover the city for a young audience as he once did. To adapt to the 24/7 news cycle favored by many 18-35-year-olds, he believes that the paper must establish an online presence and be willing to continually reinvent itself. Dobie's successor will be current associate editor Liz Garrigan, who's been at the Scene for eight years. "The Scene's a great paper now," she says. "With new energy and more aggressive reporting, it will be better."
It began innocently enough. Nashville Scene editor Bruce Dobie ran a generally positive review of Warren St. John's new book on football fans. St. John, in town for a book tour, read the review, but it was the caption under his photograph -- "Warren St. John uses race in the worst kind of way: to make himself look honorable" -- that caught his attention. The New York Times writer called Dobie to complain. He called again (and again and again). Finally, he wrote a piece for Slate in which he trashed Dobie, the paper and the reviewer. Dobie responds with an open letter to St. John: "You really are capable of offering only part of the truth, the part that burnishes your own image of yourself."
When the Nashville Scene ran a five-part series skewering the Tennessean, the local daily countered with a string of full-page, color ads belittling the circulation figures of its alt-weekly competitor. Tennessean Publisher Craig Moon tells AJR that the Scene's take-out had nothing to do with his decision to run the ads. The Scene published its own ads in response and Editor/ Publisher Bruce Dobie warns darkly: "Never pick on someone smaller than you."