Liz Garrigan says in a blog post that she'll be leaving the paper at the end of June to become editorial director of Magellan Media, an umbrella company of book imprints and (non-newspaper) publishing enterprises. "I'm attempting something pretty rare in journalism these days: a chance to make an exit while I'm still having an enormous amount of fun," she writes. "It might be a bit anticlimactic, but this is not a protest resignation, a corporate cost-cutting measure or a veiled firing." She says she hopes to continue contributing to the Scene, but "after 12 years at one place -- as political writer, news editor, associate editor, then editor -- it's time for this root-bound journalist to repot herself."

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Editor to Step Down

Mike Smith will replace Chris Ferrell, who announced his departure to start a new media company last month. Smith, who has been with the company since 1997, will also be associate publisher of Nfocus magazine. "It was important to me and the Scene to search internally for Chris Ferrell's successor," says Stuart Folb, group publisher of Village Voice Media, which owns the Scene. "After interviewing Mike, there was no doubt that my search was over and that he was the right person for the job."

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Names New Associate Publisher

"Chris Ferrell announced to the staff this morning that he'll be leaving the paper soon to start a new media company," the Scene reports. "I have worked with some of my favorite people in Nashville for the last three years, and week in and week out we put together a paper that matters to this city in terms of our coverage of news, our support of the arts and of culture," says Ferrell. "I have loved my time at the Scene. This was just too good an opportunity for me to pass up." Ferrell took over as the paper's publisher Jan. 1, 2005, succeeding founding publisher Albie Del Favero, now publisher of The City Paper.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Publisher Stepping Down

In a live chat yesterday, Liz Garrigan discussed her recent Washington Post piece on Fred Thompson's presidential chances and briefly highlighted two elements of alt-weekly journalism. After she said Al Gore won't enter the 2008 race because "he's got swimming pools to heat," a reader complained about Garrigan's off-hand remark. "Snarky asides help to pay my bills," she replied. Later, when a reader asked if she "might want to at least appear objective," Garrigan took the question head-on. "Part of what distinguishes alt-weeklies from mainstream media is that we don't peddle objectivity (or even think it's possible)," she said. "We do value fairness and balance but in the context of point of view. But that's another chat."

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Editor Talks Fred Thompson, Alt-Weeklies in Chat

Last month, the city's Metro Council passed legislation restricting the placement of news boxes and requiring publishers to pay permit fees and maintain their newsracks in good repair. But yesterday, as expected, Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed the bill. "The ordinance before me is an abridgement of a free press and raises significant First Amendment issues,” Purcell says. Meanwhile, 22 publishers, including AAN member the Nashville Scene, are working on a self-monitoring agreement intended to be a substitute for legislation. Twenty-seven votes would be necessary to override Purcell's veto -- the same number of votes that originally passed the legislation.

Continue ReadingNashville Mayor Vetoes News Box Ordinance

Last week, the alt-weekly sued the Tennessee Department of Corrections (DOC) for information about its review of the state's execution protocol. The City Paper reports that Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled yesterday that all documents relating to the review must be turned over to the Scene. "We're thrilled," says Scene editor Liz Garrigan. "This isn't really about the paper, this is about accountability in government." Bonnyman gave the state until Thursday to file an appeal. With the May 2 deadline for the DOC's recommendations looming, it's unclear what the Scene will be able to do with the documents, especially if the state continues to delay the process with an appeal. "Time is of the essence," Garrigan says, adding that she'd like to publish a story about the DOC's deliberations by the paper's next publishing deadline.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Wins Legal Fight Against Corrections Department

The Metro Council approved the legislation this week despite opposition from the Nashville Scene and other local publications. According to the Tennessean, the law takes effect July 1. It will restrict the placement of news boxes and require publishers to pay permit fees and maintain their newsracks in good repair. "I'm not sure what it's supposed to accomplish, other than that we'll all have to register with a government entity and keep the boxes in working order," Scene publisher Chris Ferrell says. The councilman who co-sponsored the ordinance says he would lead the charge to rescind it if local publishers developed a better, voluntary plan. An earlier self-policing plan submitted by publishers was rejected by the council.

Continue ReadingNashville Passes News Box Regulation

In February, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen issued an executive order halting all executions for 90 days so the Department of Corrections (DOC) could perform "a comprehensive review" of the state's execution protocol. Soon thereafter, the Scene filed an open-records request seeking information on the DOC's deliberations, but it was denied. With the May 2 deadline for the DOC's recommendations looming, the Scene filed suit yesterday in Davidson County Chancery Court. "We're talking about how we're going to go about killing people in this state," editor Liz Garrigan tells the Nashville Post. "We think that ought to be an open discussion." Nashville's City Paper reports the DOC has conducted its review entirely behind closed doors, with the exception of one 40-minute public forum.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Sues for Information Denied by Dept. of Corrections