The Tennessee alt-weekly celebrates the anniversary with a special issue with a number of essays looking back at how Nashville has changed in the past two decades -- and how the Scene has changed with it. "For our 10th anniversary issue, the Scene laid out an exhaustive history of how much the paper had changed in that brief, whirling, taken-for-granted decade," managing editor and longtime staffer Jim Ridley writes. "There's even more to cover now in the Scene saga -- a two-decade rollercoaster by which a local shopper transforms into a successful alt-weekly and ultimately a link in a national chain, while the media 'landscape' gradually comes to resemble the black-lighted computer ether-world of the '80s sci-fi fantasy Tron."

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Turns 20

Louisiana's Independent Weekly reports that in 2008 it had to lay off one employee and that it recently instituted "a single digit, company-wide salary cut." The Nashville Scene says it is eliminating its books section, as well as News of the Weird and the New York Times crossword. Boise Weekly's publisher says that even though the "last quarter of 2008 was very disappointing ... it might have been the best we will see for awhile." Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader says goodbye to two of its departing editorial staffers, and Nat Hentoff talks to the New York Times about his plans post-Voice.

Continue ReadingMore Papers Tighten Belts

Three alt-weeklies have recently cut back in freelancer-generated content areas. SF Weekly theater reviewer Chloe Veltman writes that the paper's weekly Stage setion "will drop from three plays -- my 1,000-word column plus two 200-word capsule reviews -- to just my column." Over at sister paper the Nashville Scene, books contributor Maria Browning says on her blog that the book page has been eliminated from that paper altogether. And up in Massachusetts, Worcester Magazine will stop running the local bi-weekly comic "Action Geek."

Continue ReadingPapers Continue to Cut Freelance Costs

Former stripper Michelle Peacock was exonerated by a jury of all charges on Tuesday, the Nashville Scene reports. Peacock is seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from reporter P.J. Tobia, the Scene, and its parent company in a defamation suit over an October 2007 story which cited an arrest report detailing the alleged prostitution.

Continue ReadingWoman Suing the Nashville Scene Found Not Guilty of Prostitution

Calling Michelle Peacock's defamation suit "a masterpiece of minimalism," the On Point blog from Courthouse News Service notes that the paper has little to worry about. "[Peacock] won't be able to gloss over the common-law privilege which protects reporters from liability when they fairly and accurately report the information in a public document," On Point reports. "In commenting on Peacock's alleged mid-afternoon handjobs, the Nashville Scene didn't say anything that was not in the police reports. So the privilege clearly applies."

Continue ReadingOpinion: Nashville Scene is Protected from Former Stripper’s Lawsuit

The Scene and staff writer P.J. Tobia were hit Wednesday with a defamation suit filed by a former stripper in response to a story published last October, the Nashville City Paper reports. Scene parent company City Press LLC, which is owned by Village Voice Media, was also named in the suit. Michelle Peacock alleges that Tobia's representation of her in the article resulted in injury to her character and reputation, and she's seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. In the story, Tobia cited a police report that stated Peacock twice "offered to manually stimulate (an undercover cop) until ejaculation for $100 U.S. Dollars." According to the suit, Peacock "continues to suffer a diminution in her earnings and earning capacity" since the strip club refused to allow her to continue working there after the Scene story was published.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Sued for Defamation

In the fifth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, the Nashville Scene writers Tracy Moore and Matt Sullivan talk about their work on Nashville Cream, which garnered a first-place win in the blog category. In a city so strongly associated with country music, they chose to go a different way with the Scene's music blog, which has helped it stand out. "There's a misconception that Tennessee only covers country and honky tonk," Moore says, "So when I took over [the site], I really made the rock scene my thing."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Tracy Moore and Matt Sullivan

Outgoing editor Liz Garrigan reports that she had "openly recommended Scene managing editor Matt Pulle for [her] job, and he was seriously considered." But in the end, Village Voice Media brought Pete Kotz over from the soon-to-be-defunct Cleveland Scene, a move that was criticized by some of the paper's staff. "Bypassing Matt sent exactly the wrong message to the city: It said that the Scene is just another interchangeable cog in a big corporate wheel," one staffer says anonymously. Former Scene media critic Henry Walker agrees. "The idea of an alternative weekly paper importing an editor would have been almost unthinkable just a decade ago," he says. "[But VVM] has pioneered the adoption of a cookie-cutter news and design formula and the employment of fungible editors among the alternative weeklies." VVM executive editor Michael Lacey, for one, isn't buying Walker's critique. "For nearly 40 years, we, like most alternative newspaper owners, have selected editors, writers and columnists based upon their skill, not their birth certificate," Lacey says. "Walker's simplistic comments reflect parochial jingoism."

Continue ReadingNew Nashville Scene Editor Gets Mixed Reaction

Cleveland Scene editor Pete Kotz has been named the new editor of the Nashville Scene in the wake of last week's news that the Cleveland paper will be merged with Cleveland Free Times in July. On July 1, Kotz will replace Liz Garrigan, who announced she was leaving the Nashville alt-weekly in May. "I know Pete from editors' meetings and conventions and can say unequivocally that he's a wonderful guy, a talented journalist and a good soul, if not the 'dangerously handsome man' he claims to be," Garrigan writes. "He has five kids, loves to 'bust a phrase,' holds dear the value of a great story, and prefers to chase his whiskey with beer."

Continue ReadingFrom Scene to Scene: Cleveland Editor Heads to Nashville