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Editorial Results (free)

1. Events -

Methodist South Hospital will host a stroke support group meeting for survivors and caregivers Monday, June 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the outpatient rehabilitation center, 1251 Wesley Drive, suite 141. Dr. Hafiz Elahi will present “Stroke From the Neurologist’s Perspective.” Email patricia.morgan@mlh.org or rushali.naik@mlh.org.

2. Events -

Theatre Memphis will present “The Music Man” Friday, June 6, through June 29 at the theater, 630 Perkins Road Extended. Buy tickets at theatrememphis.org.

3. Events -

West Memphis will dedicate its Fallen Officers Memorial, honoring Crittenden County police and fire personnel killed in the line of duty, Thursday, June 5, at 10 a.m. in Worthington Park, at the corner of Worthington Drive and Missouri Street. Email hhammett@wmcoc.com.

4. Industrial Portfolio Sells for $43 Million -

4550 Swinnea Road6005 Freeport Ave., 3399 E. Raines Road
Memphis, TN
Sale Amounts: $10.1 million; $14.8 million; $18 million

5. Old Venice Pizza Owner Files Loan on Property -

The owner of the Old Venice Pizza Co. at 368 Perkins Road Extended in East Memphis has filed a $1.1 million loan on the property.

6. ‘Zeroing’ In -

Ron Ritchhart came to Memphis for a two-day symposium on Harvard’s Project Zero education research with a message about student-achievement testing he suggested U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan should hear.

7. Harvard Project Zero Comes to Martin Institute -

At a time when it seems every assumption about the mechanics of education is being questioned, educators at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero have been deconstructing the same assumptions and trying to analyze more objectively what should happen to help students learn.

8. Events -

Memphis Botanic Garden will host the Green Your Home Winter Plant Sale Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the garden, 750 Cherry Road. The sale will feature house plants, custom potting, terrariums and garden gift items. Admission is free. Visit memphisbotanicgarden.com.

9. Events -

Hattiloo Theatre will present “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” Thursday, Jan. 9, to Jan. 26 at the theater, 656 Marshall Ave. Visit hattiloo.org.

10. Events -

Graceland will host an Elvis birthday proclamation and cake-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 9:30 a.m. on the Graceland front lawn, 3734 Elvis Presley Blvd. Cost is free; cake and coffee will be served at the Chrome Grille after the ceremony. Visit elvis.com for other birthday events held through Saturday, Jan. 11.

11. Events -

Hattiloo Theatre will present “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” Thursday, Jan. 9, to Jan. 26 at the theater, 656 Marshall Ave. Visit hattiloo.org.

12. Events -

Playhouse on the Square will present “Almost, Maine” as part of the POTS@TheWorks series Friday, Jan. 3, through Jan. 26 at TheatreWorks, 2085 Monroe Ave. Buy tickets at playhouseonthesquare.com.

13. Events -

The Downtown Memphis Commission board will meet Thursday, Dec. 19, at noon in the commission conference room, 114 N. Main St. Visit downtownmemphiscommission.com.

14. Events -

Kiwanis Club of Memphis will hold its annual holiday celebration, featuring the Swing Time Explosion: Big Band Holiday Show, Wednesday, Dec. 18, from noon to 1 p.m. at The University Club of Memphis, 1346 Central Ave. Cost is $18 for nonmembers.

15. Events -

Talk Shoppe will hold a citywide networking party Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at DeVry University, 6401 Poplar Ave., sixth floor. Cost is free. Visit talkshoppe.biz.

16. Events -

The Downtown Memphis Commission will hold the Downtown Howl-iday pet and family parade Saturday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. from Court Square to AutoZone Park. Registration begins at 2 p.m. at Court Square. Cost is free. Visit downtownmemphis.com.

17. Events -

Talk Shoppe will hold a citywide networking party Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at DeVry University, 6401 Poplar Ave., sixth floor. Cost is free. Visit talkshoppe.biz.

18. Holiday Weekend Gives a Boost to Auto Sales -

DETROIT (AP) – The holiday weekend was good to U.S. automakers, as November sales rose 9 percent to beat strong numbers from a year ago.

Sales ran at an annual rate of 16.4 million cars and trucks last month, making it the best rate of the year according to Autodata Corp.

19. CubeSmart Sells Storage Facility for $7.9 Million -

2700 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38112
Sale Amount: $7.9 million

Sale Date: Nov. 4, 2013
Buyer: WCP/DSSH Holdings 16 LLC
Seller: CubeSmart LP
Details: Wayne, Va.-based self-storage real estate investment trust CubeSmart LP has sold the U-Store-It facility at 2700 Poplar Ave. in the 38112 ZIP code for $7.9 million.

20. East Memphis Retail Center Sees Positive Lease Activity -

The Shops at Chickasaw Gardens, on Polar Avenue near the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, has seen good leasing activity recently.

Shark’s Fish and Chicken, an Arkansas-based restaurant chain, signed a lease for 2,330 square feet at 3183 Poplar Ave., taking the former Back Yard Burgers space. David’s Frames & Art renewed its lease for 3,080 square feet at 3151 Poplar Ave. Create A Cig, an electronic cigarette shop, will open soon at 3175 Poplar Ave.

21. Events -

Ballet Memphis will present “River Project 2,” the world premiere of three works inspired by the Mississippi River, from Saturday, Oct. 19, to Oct. 27 at Playhouse on the Square, 66 S. Cooper St. Buy tickets at balletmemphis.org.

22. Events -

Business Over Coffee International will continue its Weave Your Own Web social media training series on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the group’s headquarters, 5865 Ridgeway Road, suite 300. Cost is free for members and first-time guests, and $10 for returning guests. Visit businessovercoffee.biz or call 820-4469.

23. Events -

The Booksellers at Laurelwood will host “I’m a Memphian” author Dan Conaway for a discussion and book signing Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. at the bookstore, 387 Perkins Road Extended. “I’m a Memphian” is a collection of Conaway’s “Memphasis” columns from The Daily News. Visit thebooksellersatlaurelwood.com.

24. Events -

In-Synk and The Daily News will host a Leadership Lunch & Learn book review and discussion on Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” Friday, Sept. 6, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Triumph Bank board room, 5699 Poplar Ave. Cost is $20. Visit seminars.memphisdailynews.com.

25. Events -

Playhouse on the Square will host a performance of “Les Miserables” to benefit the Memphis Child Advocacy Center Saturday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. at Playhouse, 66 S. Cooper St. A pre-performance reception and silent auction begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $60 and are available through MCAC, 888-4342.

26. Events -

Graceland will host the Elvis Week candlelight vigil Thursday, Aug. 15, at 8:30 p.m. at the gates of Graceland, 3717 Elvis Presley Blvd. Admission is free. Visit elvis.com/elvisweek for more information. More Elvis Week events are listed below.

27. Events -

The Daily News will host its HR Rules and Ramifications Seminar and panel discussion Thursday, Aug. 8, at 3:30 p.m. in the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art auditorium, 1934 Poplar Ave. The seminar will include an overview of changing employment laws and advice on dealing with real-life workplace issues. Paul Pattenof Jackson Lewis LLP will present the keynote. Cost is $25. Visit seminars.memphisdailynews.com.

28. Events -

The Tennessee 2013 Sales Tax Holiday will run from Friday, Aug. 2, through Sunday, Aug. 4. Visit tn.gov/revenue/salestaxholiday for a list of items that qualify as tax-free purchases.

29. Events -

Memphis Botanic Garden will host The 19th Hole Wine Tasting at the Garden, part of the Tuesdays on the Terrace wine-tasting series, Tuesday, July 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the garden, 750 Cherry Road. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers; reservations are required. Visit memphisbotanicgarden.com.

30. Events -

The Daily News will present Literatini, benefiting Literacy Mid-South, Thursday, June 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, 387 Perkins Road Extended. The event will include martinis and food, an auction, live music and a wine pull. Tickets are $50 per person or $75 per couple. Visit literacymidsouth.org.

31. Events -

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will host free tours of the St. Jude Dream Home Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 45 Dalton Cove in Eads. The house will be raffled June 23; tickets are $100. Visit dreamhome.org.

32. Events -

David Lusk Gallery will host an opening reception for Pinkey Herbert’s Circuit exhibit Friday, May 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the gallery, 4540 Poplar Ave. The show runs through June 22. Visit davidluskgallery.com.

33. Events -

The Peabody Rooftop Party will be held Thursday, May 23, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at The Peabody, 149 Union Ave. Gary Escoe’s Atomic Dance Machine will perform. Tickets are $10. Visit peabodymemphis.com or call 529-4000.

34. Events -

ArtsMemphis will present the Stax to the Max music festival Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. outside the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, 926 E. McLemore St. Admission to the festival is free; discounted museum tickets are $2 between noon and 5 p.m. Visit staxmuseum.com.

35. The New Beale -

Over the last four years, the next chapter in the development of Beale Street has been a stop-and-go affair. First would come announcements followed by silence from official channels.

Along with that silence, though, was quiet activity on the side, a movement that culminated with the March announcement of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s strategic planning committee’s report, “A Framework for Beale Street.”

36. Events -

New Ballet Ensemble will present Springloaded Friday, April 12, through Sunday, April 14, at Playhouse on the Square, 66 S. Cooper St. The annual event fuses ballet, contemporary and urban dance with works by local and guest choreographers. Visit nbespringloaded13.eventbrite.com for times and tickets.

37. Events -

The Cotton Museum will host Patrick O’Daniel, discussing his book “When the Levee Breaks: Memphis and the Mississippi Valley Flood of 1927,” Thursday, March 28, at 5 p.m. at the museum, 65 Union Ave. Cost is free and includes a complimentary museum tour and reception. Visit memphiscottonmuseum.org.

38. Events -

Nike Inc. will host construction symposiums for locally owned small, women-owned and minority businesses Thursday, Feb. 7, and Friday, Feb. 8, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the U of M Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, 1 N. Front St. Attendees will learn about construction opportunities at Nike’s Memphis expansion. R.S.V.P. to Brenda Montgomery at bmontgomery@memphischamber.com or 543-3500.

39. Events -

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center will hold its second annual Go Red for Women Fashion Show Friday, Feb. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UTHSC Student-Alumni Center, 800 Madison Ave. Tickets are $7, which includes lunch. Email eanderson@uthsc.edu.

40. Events -

The Blues Foundation will host the 29th annual International Blues Challenge Tuesday, Jan. 29, through Saturday, Feb. 2, in Beale Street venues and other Downtown locations. Visit blues.org for a full schedule and tickets.

41. Events -

Playhouse on the Square will present “Sunset Boulevard” Friday, Jan. 25, through Feb. 17 at Playhouse, 66 S. Cooper St. Visit playhouseonthesquare.org for times and tickets.

42. Events -

Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and Chandler Reports will hold the third Real Estate Road Show, a seminar about the growing portfolio of county-owned properties and how to buy them at tax sale, Thursday, Jan. 3, at 3 p.m. in the conference room at The Memphis Leadership Foundation, 1548 Poplar Ave. R.S.V.P. to csheffield@shelbycountytrustee.com or 432-4884.

43. Events -

Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and Chandler Reports will hold the third Real Estate Road Show, a seminar about the growing portfolio of county-owned properties and how to buy them at tax sale, Thursday, Jan. 3, at 3 p.m. in the conference room at The Memphis Leadership Foundation, 1548 Poplar Ave. R.S.V.P. to csheffield@shelbycountytrustee.com or 432-4884.

44. Events -

The 54th AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic, featuring Iowa State University vs. University of Tulsa, will be held Monday, Dec. 31, at 2:30 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, 335 S. Hollywood St. The Temptations will perform at halftime. For a list of bowl week events, visit autozonelibertybowl.org.

45. Events -

The Daily News will be closed Monday, Dec. 31, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Offices will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 8:30 a.m.

The 54th AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic, featuring Iowa State University vs. University of Tulsa, will be held Monday, Dec. 31, at 2:30 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, 335 S. Hollywood St. The Temptations will perform at halftime. Visit autozonelibertybowl.org.

46. Events -

The South Main Art Trolley Tour will be held Friday, Dec. 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the South Main Historic Arts District. Email info@southmainmemphis.net.

47. Events -

The South Main Art Trolley Tour will be held Friday, Dec. 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the South Main Historic Arts District. Email info@southmainmemphis.net.

48. Events -

The South Main Art Trolley Tour will be held Friday, Dec. 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the South Main Historic Arts District. Email info@southmainmemphis.net.

49. Events -

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America will hold a panel discussion about its “Research in Your Backyard” report on Tennessee clinical trials Thursday, Sept. 13, at 11:30 a.m. at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 Dudley St. Cost is free. Visit phrma.org.

50. Events -

Operation Feed, the annual workplace food drive to benefit Mid-South Food Bank, continues through June 29. Register at midsouthfoodbank.org or contact David Stephens at dstephens@midsouthfoodbank.org or 497-1153.

51. Thorpe Products Inks New Deal On Democrat -

Thorpe Products Co. is relocating its Memphis branch location to a site with higher ceiling heights and better proximity to its clients.

52. Events -

The Daily News will host its Health Care Reform seminar, part of the 2012 seminar series, Thursday, April 5, at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Ave. The seminar, which will include a keynote by Greg Anderson of Horne LLP and a panel discussion, will look at the impact of health care legislation and what can be expected through 2013. Cost is $25. Visit seminars.memphisdailynews.com for more information or to register.

53. Events -

The Daily News will host its Health Care Reform seminar, part of the 2012 seminar series, Thursday, April 5, at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Ave. The seminar, which will include a keynote by Greg Anderson of Horne LLP and a panel discussion, will look at the impact of health care legislation and what can be expected through 2013. Cost is $25. Visit seminars.memphisdailynews.com for more information or to register.

54. Changes in Dining Scene Highlight Dynamic Year -

On Thanksgiving Eve, we drove to the airport to pick up my stepson, one of whose flights had been delayed, so it was after 10 by the time he emerged from baggage claim. All being hungry, I drove to Cooper-Young, thinking we could easily get in at the recently opened Alchemy at 10:30.

55. City Made Impact On Jobs While On Memphis Visit -

Many details about Steve Jobs’ brief time in Memphis in 2009 are still not known. That’s partly because of the late Apple Inc. CEO’s penchant for secrecy and the sensitive nature of his trip to the city, which came about because of his need for a critical liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital.

56. Apple Founder Visited Sun While Recuperating in Memphis -

Many details about Steve Jobs’ brief time in Memphis in 2009 are still not known. That’s partly because of the late Apple CEO’s penchant for secrecy and the sensitive nature of his trip to the city, which came about because of his need for a critical liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital.

57. Atlanta Investment Group Buys Holiday Inn Select -

5795 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38119
Sale Amount: $7.5 Million

Sale Date: July 19, 2011

58. Events -

The Memphis Mid-South Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will present “Summer Seminar: Federal Discovery Practice” Thursday, July 28, at 1:15 p.m. at the Clifford David and Odell Horton Federal Building, 167 N. Main St., 11th floor, Jury Assembly Room. To register, visit www.fedbar.org/memphis and print out the registration form and mail it to the address provided.

59. Events -

The Booksellers at Laurelwood will host a discussion and book-signing with Adam Ross, author of the new novel “Ladies & Gentlemen,” Monday, July 11, at 6 p.m. at the bookstore, 387 Perkins Road Extended.

60. Retailers Post Strong June Sales -

NEW YORK (AP) – Colossal discounts enticed consumers to shop like it was 1999 last month. But higher prices ahead could cause the party to end soon.

Warm weather and discounts of up to 80 percent on summer merchandise helped retailers deliver the best revenue gains since June 1999 in what's typically the second-biggest shopping month of the year. But pressure on stores to pass along higher costs for everything from clothing and handbags to food has raised concerns that the momentum may not continue heading into the busy back-to-school shopping season.

61. Events -

The Rotary Club of Memphis Central will meet Friday, July 8, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. Dee Floyd of Methodist Hospice will speak. Cost is $20 for nonmembers. For reservations, call Karen Shea at 683-9099.

62. St. Francis Opens Primary Care Clinic -

St. Francis Medical Partners unveiled its new location at 452 Perkins Extended Thursday during a ribbon-cutting event.

63. Shelby Drive Apartments Sell for $1.4 Million -

1500 E. Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38116
Sale Amount: $1.4 million

Sale Date: Feb. 25, 2011
Buyer: Saddle Vineyards LP
Seller: Everbank
Loan Amount: $2.5 million
Loan Date: Feb. 28, 2011
Maturity Date: March 10, 2016
Lender: Triumph Bank

64. Ongoing Foreclosure Crisis Far From Over -

The foreclosure crisis will get worse before it gets better – with 1 million homes foreclosed in 2010 and even more projected for default in 2011.

That was the message a room full of real estate professionals received this week when real estate information company Chandler Reports hosted its quarterly seminar on Shelby County Market trends, “Master Your Market: Year-in-Review.”

65. Cypress Realty Holdings Buys Millington Perkins Site -

8472 New Wilkinsville Road
Millington, TN 38053
Sale Amount: $1.3 Million

66. As Calendar Turns to New Year, Recipe for Success Unchanged -

It takes a particular poverty of the imagination to quote the opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” every time one writes a story summing up a year, and yet 2010 truly does seem as if it were “the best of times and the worst of times” in the local restaurant business.

67. Taking Care of Business -

A diverse mix of Memphis businesses is defying the odds and finding success spanning multiple family generations. Grant & Co., Champion Awards, Jim’s Place East, Barden Stone and Broadway Pizza are among the Memphis institutions thriving under second- and third-generation ownership and management.

68. Back on the Air -

After being silent and nearly forgotten for more than 50 years, the radio station that helped launch the careers of such music pioneers as B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Carl Perkins, Albert King – and even Elvis Presley – is back.

69. Events -

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will present “New Treatments, No Tricks,” a free seminar on minority participation in clinical trials, Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the UT Student-Alumni Center, 800 Madison Ave. To register, call 448-1938.

70. Events -

The Memphis Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals will meet Monday at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select East Memphis, 5795 Poplar Ave. The meeting will include new member orientation, an awards banquet and installation ceremony. Cost is $20. For reservations, contact Dianne Cordaro at 287-6009 or e-mail diannecordaro@yahoo.com.

71. Broadway Items Hit Bum Note With Sun -

The owners of the Memphis recording studio where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis held a jam session in 1956 are all shook up over souvenirs of a Broadway musical dramatizing the event.

72. Skypeck Elected to Brewers Association Board -

Chuck Skypeck, founder of Bosco’s Brewing Co. and Ghost River Brewing, has been elected to the board of directors for the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent brewers. Skypeck previously served on the board from 2001 to 2006.

73. Events -

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. will meet today at 9 a.m. at the Center City Commission, 114 N. Main St. For more information, call 575-0540.

74. Venice Tile Founder Emphasizes Variety, Selection -

David Gicking, a tile setter, opened Venice Tile & Marble Showroom in 1988 because he was bored with the bland, generic materials available at most local stores.

Today, his store offers about 260 lines.

75. Smith & Nephew Closes Deal On Former Harrah’s Office Building -

7216 Goodlett Farms Road
Unincorporated Shelby County
Sale Amount: $14 Million

Sale Date: Jan. 13, 2010
Buyer: Smith & Nephew Inc.
Seller: Harrah’s Operating Co. Memphis LLC

76. Events -

Christian Brothers University will present the fourth session of its Family Business Enrichment Series today from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Spain Auditorium in Buckman Hall. The topic of the lecture is “Integrating Closely Held Businesses Into Personal Financial and Investment Strategies.” For reservations, call 321-3999 or e-mail rsvp@cbu.edu.

77. Events -

The Greater Memphis Chamber will hold orientation today from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the chamber office, 22 N. Front St. The orientation is free for members and prospective members. To register, contact Alexis Rutland at 543-3511 or arutland@memphischamber.com.

78. Events -

The Memphis Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals will meet today at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select East, 5795 Poplar Ave. Cost is $22. For reservations, contact Dianne Cordaro at 287-6009 or diannecordaro@yahoo.com.

79. Work to Begin Soon On U of M’s ‘Penny’ Hall of Fame -

570 Normal St.
Memphis, TN 38152
Permit Amount: $2.9 Million

Project Cost: $2.9 million
Permit Date: Applied April 2009
Completion: Summer 2010
Owner: University of Memphis Foundation
Tenant: University of Memphis
Contractor: Patton & Taylor Enterprises LLC
Architect: Evans Taylor Foster Childress Architects

80. Deadline: What it's Really Like Inside the City's Big Daily - EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill Dries was a reporter at The Commercial Appeal from June 1997-October 2005. This story is based in part on his experiences there and more recent conversations with other CA staffers.

The fall evening six years ago when Chris Peck became the editor of The Commercial Appeal was treated with utmost secrecy inside the newspaper at 495 Union Ave.

Then-publisher John Wilcox was determined to prevent leaks of that night’s decision to any other media outlets. So not only would the choice be a secret to those outside the building, but inside as well.

Then-Metro editor Charles Bernsen camped out in his small office at one end of the newsroom with the blinds drawn across its large window. He emerged just before the regular 11 p.m. deadline to tell editors on the copy desk he was sending the story, written from home by a trusted reporter.

The article by Tom Charlier in the Oct. 9, 2002, edition described Peck as “a veteran journalist who built a national reputation for innovative leadership and unblinking coverage of difficult topics” as the editor of The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash.

Otis Sanford, the CA’s deputy managing editor and the other finalist for the top job, was promoted to managing editor. It was the first of many changes in the past six years to the newspaper’s masthead, where its top leaders are listed.

New era dawns

Peck arrived in Memphis shortly after the article and, although he would officially take over in January after Angus McEachran’s retirement, there was a great deal of anticipation – and, uncharacteristically for a floor full of reporters – not much background checking on Peck.

Before selecting Peck, executives of the CA’s parent company, the E.W. Scripps Co., had set up a committee of CA employees and solicited their opinions on what they wanted to see in the next editor. Many said they wanted a new direction at the newspaper.

Peck came to Memphis from a short stint as the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He had served as editor at the Spokane Spokesman-Review just prior to the academic post.

Peck left that paper on the heels of a journalism controversy that got little play outside the Northwest and continued to linger as recently as two years ago. It concerned financing for a large public project involving the newspaper’s owners.

Meanwhile, hopes were high among some CA staff members that Peck would change the dysfunctional management style at the paper. Others believed no creative undertaking the size of a newspaper is possible without some level of dysfunction. And still others were leery about any optimistic assessment for any reason.

Bernsen was among the first to leave the CA after Peck’s hire. Louis Graham, who had been expected to head the Metro desk even if Sanford became the new top editor, replaced Bernsen.

Six years later, departing and current staffers describe the CA’s management style and newsroom atmosphere as “toxic.” They also complain that little has changed in terms of who runs the newspaper on a daily basis despite a frequent shuffling of the management chart.

None would talk with The Memphis News on the record for fear of reprisals. Even past staffers didn’t want their names used because of the prospect of doing freelance work for the newspaper. Those still in the newsroom and on the payroll wouldn’t talk on company phones.

Profits and losses

What ails The Commercial Appeal has a lot to do with what ails the newspaper industry in general these days. But that’s a black-and-white version that misses large colorful splotches unique to the institution.

Decisions made during the past six years to pursue a growth strategy targeting “suburban” readers, as well as longstanding practices for managing talent, have also helped bring the newspaper to where it is today.

Managers at the newspaper, in separate interviews with The Memphis News, insist it is stable, profitable and will remain a seven-day-a-week operation despite recent moves that severely cut the reporting staff, eliminated classified ads from the already thin Monday and Tuesday print editions and an admission that the newspaper probably won’t be covering less urgent topics in the future.

Asked if the demise of classified ad sections in the Monday and Tuesday editions could be a sign that the Monday and Tuesday print editions might vanish entirely, publisher Joe Pepe was unequivocal.

“No. That’s not going to happen, at least under my tenure here,” Pepe said. “A lot of the transactional classified business is done online anyway. Everything that you see in the paper every day of the week is also online. So putting the Monday and Tuesday (classifieds) online was essentially just a way for us to save on some newsprint costs while not taking away from the advertising.”

The CA is profitable, Peck and Pepe insist, although they won’t release any numbers.

“We’ve projected a profit for 2009,” Peck said. “We were profitable in 2008. So, I fully expect we’ll be profitable in 2009.”

Pepe responded, “Absolutely,” when asked if the CA is profitable. When asked if he would be more specific, he replied, “No. Good try.”

Doing less with fewer

The newspaper is not alone in its reluctance to give out specific financial data. Most businesses consider such information to be proprietary.

The optimistic assessment is in contrast to a letter subscribers got this month from Karl D. Wurzbach, vice president of circulation, saying subscription rates would go up by $2 a month effective Nov. 1.

“This is the only way we can continue to deliver to your home every day,” he wrote. “This increase is across the board, for everybody, with no exclusions.”

Wurzbach’s letter also noted that the CA had dropped home delivery to 11,600 subscribers in outlying areas during a five-month period. The weekday newsstand price had already increased from 50 cents to 75 cents.

“It was costing us more money to print and deliver than we earned in revenue,” he said in the letter. “No company can survive using that business model. … Simply put, we are making very difficult decisions to help our business survive.”

Both moves in the appearance and delivery of the paper came in the week after 20 reporters and editors faced the ultimate “difficult decision.”

The newspaper made the decision of whom to fire using a controversial system that ranks reporters in the particular section of the paper they work for. The key to the ranking is not reporting ability or even a byline count; it’s how a reporter gets along with his or her editor. It had already been a key to longevity at the CA before Peck arrived in Memphis and made it a formal part of employee evaluations.

“You have to grieve those who are no longer with us in a genuine way because they were great contributions,” Peck said. “But you really at that point also have to rather quickly turn your attention to the task at hand. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

But the veteran employees “grieved” by management are the same employees management had ranked as the least valuable in their respective departments.

That included Jimmie Covington, the longest-serving reporter at the paper until his dismissal in March after years of being shuffled from one suburban bureau to another. Covington was a veteran of the county government and Memphis City Schools beats.

The layoffs also included Frederic Koeppel and Christopher Blank, who provided much of the newspaper’s arts coverage and who apparently won’t be replaced with full-time reporters.

There’s now no mention of the “master narratives” Peck once included in his “blueprint” for the CA. They included long-form stories on race, the city’s musical heritage, barbecue and the river. It was to be a departure from the newspaper being what Peck referred to as a “news utility,” or all-purpose paper of record.

“What we have to do is prioritize our staff resources,” Peck said just weeks after 20 people in the CA newsroom either resigned or were fired in the latest series of cutbacks – the deepest to date for the editorial staff. “I think where that’s going to lead is making sure that we have the nuts and bolts of hard news coverage. That’s probably police reporting, court reporting, government reporting, school reporting. We want to make sure we’ve got those bases covered.”

Whatever is left of a full-time reporting staff will be devoted to issues and institutions such as FedEx, the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies, the economy and the medical center.

“If we run out of people at that point, then we’re going to turn to freelancers and more community-generated content,” Peck said. “I think we’ll be able to fill a lot of holes there if we need to and I think it will work out fine.”

Wanted: free (or reduced) labor

Pepe offered a basic definition of citizen journalism.

“All blogging is citizen journalism,” he told The Memphis News. “In a lot of cases it’s unsubstantiated. It’s not objective. It’s not edited content. It leans more toward opinion and subjectivity. Anytime we have citizen journalism, it’s still going to get edited. It’s still going to get verified. It’s going to get checked for facts before we post it. We apply the same rules to citizen-sponsored journalism as we do to our top line reporter.”

Sanford said citizen journalism “has its place” and has been discussed since the early 1990s. It shows up in the pages he governs in the form of opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Non-newspaper employees also serve on the CA’s editorial board.

“Now, I am a traditional, old-fashioned journalist,” Sanford said. “And I believe that while citizen journalism has its place, I’m not one – and maybe this is an old-fashioned view – but I’m not one to think that citizen journalism can ever take the place of the traditional journalism that I know and love. I just don’t believe that.”

The names of reporters and photographers cut in the most recent round of layoffs are already turning up in CA coverage as freelancers. Instead of a straight name with “The Commercial Appeal” below it, their names now appear with the phrase “special to The Commercial Appeal” and, of course, they receive no health benefits or regular paychecks from the newspaper.

Worldwide wakeup call

Before Peck’s arrival in Memphis, the CA was more than out of touch with the need for an Internet presence. The newspaper was hostile to such a move.

Posting a story on the Web site that was anything more than a teaser paragraph before the actual newspapers rolled of the presses and into delivery trucks was seen as handing the story to the competition.

It was a philosophy that had served the newspaper well in competing with television news, even with the rise of 24-hour cable news channels.

However, there have been consequences for being late to the Internet party, and financial consequences for not taking the Internet seriously.

“Right now all the revenue is generated off advertising,” Pepe said of print journalism’s gradual realization that it needed to be in the Web business as well. “Until search engines are firewalled – until all local media either together or individually start charging for content online – it’s going to continue to be a source of non-revenue in terms of content. That then means that revenue for all Internet ventures will be based on advertising.”

After Peck arrived, the move to unique content for the Web site was still slow in coming.

Editors exerted the same multi-tiered control over copy that might mean a story was not edited for Web or print until later in the day, closer to the print deadline.

Scraps often erupted over how copy was edited after it left the editors and went to the “new media” department. It might be a change in a few words or a new, snappier lead (first sentence), but some editors clearly didn’t like having their work changed as much as they might have imagined reporters liked having their work rearranged.

Reporters are expected to take such changes without protest, and protests are rare even when edits distort meaning. Reporters can always fall back on the excuse that the story got messed up after it was out of their hands.

But that brings into play another rule for newsroom survival – always, always make a hard copy of the story you turn in to your editor.

The anonymity of snark

The comments section on www.commercialappeal.com, where readers may post their thoughts at the bottom of stories, has been wildly successful if you look just at the number of comments some stories generate in a short amount of time.

But success isn’t the word that comes to mind if you start to read the comments on a regular basis.

They routinely crackle with racial tension and even racial slurs. When some staffers complained about the slurs and called for better policing of such comments, Peck reportedly asked for a list of what slurs should be considered cause for removing comments.

Sanford had a different take in March as he spoke at a University of Memphis panel discussion about race and the media.

“Please stop reading those comments,” Sanford told a crowd of 100 people on campus. “You’ve got … anonymous people who go on our stories … and make unbelievably goofy and stupid comments. And then that becomes, unfortunately, the reality. And we have to stop that. We can’t stop the comments because the Web people have told us, ‘Well, that’s how you get people in there.’ But please don’t listen to that.”

To civic groups and even individual citizens who contact the paper with complaints and concerns, Sanford is its face, voice and ears. When the CA participates in media forums, chances are the speaker will be Sanford.

For the past two years, Sanford has been in charge of the paper’s editorial board and Viewpoint section. It’s a position that evolved after editorial page editor David Kushma’s departure, when Kushma’s duties came to be included in Sanford’s.

“That just didn’t work right,” Sanford told The Memphis News. “We had a lot of discussions about this. Corporate was even involved in it. We agreed that the editorial pages, Viewpoint, the editorial board – we would sort of restructure the newsroom operation and the editorial board and the editorial opinions of the paper so that would fall directly under the publisher and I would be running that. I think that was a good thing to do.”

That means that Sanford works for Pepe, not Peck, as he did when he was managing editor.

Gum-popping good times

Peck met with each reporter in his office shortly after he arrived in Memphis. He appeared to be taking notes on a legal pad as he listened to their comments and suggestions.

However, trying to find Peck’s strategy over the years has been no simple matter. There wasn’t much beyond slogans that included “rebuilding the jet while flying it” or “building a 21st century newspaper.” The latter phrase was still being used six years into the new century.

One reporter who tried to get into Peck’s head in terms of management philosophy hit a brick wall with a thud, although he is still employed at the CA.

On that occasion, Peck was in no mood to discuss philosophy despite a casual-sounding e-mail asking if the reporter had a few minutes to talk. Instead of a dialogue, Peck gave the reporter $50 in cash and a list of books he could buy to read. He also sent the reporter back to the night cops beat for objecting to how a story was edited.

The editorial page and op-ed page were the first parts of the paper that changed. Peck wanted more letters to the editor. He also wanted to stop the practice of rigorously fact-checking letters.

This drew dissent from Kushma, who was eventually overruled and left in the first round of buyouts in 2003 that followed Peck’s arrival. Some of the other changes were in the Metro section – the hard news engine of the paper.

Reporters were switched around, which is a normal part of life at the city’s daily newspaper unless you are declared immune from such changes. The six or seven Metro editors were immune for the most part from the changes.

The newspaper’s home office in Cincinnati had long maintained that the paper was top heavy with such editors. Peck talked a lot about change, but didn’t change that.

At one of Peck’s first meetings with the Metro staff, a reporter asked Peck when there would be changes for the editors as well. Peck’s answer was to talk about Dentyne gum and how the company that makes it had allegedly improved its sales figures by repackaging the gum.

The analogy was that the CA was going to undergo a similar repackaging: What was under the wrapper would remain the same.

For weeks after the meeting, fellow reporters left numerous packages of Dentyne on the questioner’s desk.

Before Peck answered the question, some staffers remained hopeful because they saw most of the problems with the new management as a result of Peck having to answer to John Wilcox, the CA’s publisher. It was a key difference in the management structure.

Before Wilcox’s arrival, McEachran had served as editor and president – a title that gave McEachran near absolute power over everything the newspaper did, editorially and otherwise.

The Dentyne story showed that if there was a struggle between Wilcox and Peck, it wasn’t much of a difference of opinion. They essentially agreed on a newsroom strategy that continued to unfold.

Neighborly gestures

Of those at the top of the masthead, only Sanford has seen all of the changes unfold from one regime to the other.

“In terms of news, certainly the newspaper has changed dramatically under Chris,” Sanford told The Memphis News. “There have been significant changes in focus and really in newsroom culture.”

Asked to characterize whether the change has been good, bad or indifferent, Sanford said, “I’m not going to say. I’m going to let others decide that. The readers can determine that.”

Peck’s take on newsroom culture at the CA is almost as neutral.

“The culture is not one where people are necessarily beaming with big smiles every day because it’s a difficult time in the industry,” he told The Memphis News. “I think that I have tried to be very realistic with people with what’s going on in the business – and very realistic about our expectations of what we need from our staff, from my office all the way down to the last person who leaves at night.”

The Neighbors sections were abolished with Peck’s settling in – sections included every Thursday for each zone of the city that also contained honors rolls of all schools in and out of the zone, and other such listings. It had the kind of items that readers might like to cut out and post on their refrigerators. No matter where you lived in Memphis, you got a Neighbors section.

Peck wasted no time in making the refrigerator postings a rallying cry for what was to replace Neighbors. They would be hyper-local sections that would contain only news about that part of the county. Some would be written by a staffer, but most often written by citizens in that area. Often, the citizens were members of a group or organization that was the focus of the piece.

Soon the philosophy began to apply to the news that appeared in other parts of the particular delivery zone.

Not every section of the city got a suburban edition. Vast sections of North and South Memphis as well as Frayser and Raleigh were out of the loop.

Peck first pleaded ignorance to and has since repeatedly denied a central tenet of life in Memphis. Memphians often have family that might live in another part of town. Thus someone Downtown might want to see the honor roll of Tara Oaks Elementary School in Collierville or someone in Bartlett might be interested in what is happening in Arlington.

This often led to readers wondering what they missed in other parts of the city, and being suspicious of only receiving certain news.

New suburban bureaus were opened as full-time postings in Mississippi and Arkansas and state Capitol coverage from Jackson and Little Rock, respectively, was abandoned. Meanwhile, the newspaper’s greatest success in a suburban edition was being changed to make it fit the cookie-cutter mold of the new suburban bureaus.

Escape hatch

The newspaper’s DeSoto County edition opened late in McEachran’s tenure. It was one of the few times McEachran talked about marketing studies as he explained a concept to the newsroom. But it was because the data were clear.

DeSoto County readers wanted a newspaper that covered North Mississippi and did not mention Memphis, at least on the front page. The DeSoto County bureau had a separate sales and management staff. And the CA edition delivered in DeSoto County had its own front page that was DeSoto County-centric. It was even called The DeSoto Appeal. And it was a hit out of the box, with plans to duplicate the model in Tipton County while maintaining a different model within Shelby County because of the differences in attitudes clearly shown in the marketing study.

Peck wasn’t interested in the distinction.

When Pepe arrived as publisher in late 2005, the CA got someone with experience in such suburban editions. Pepe came to Memphis from St. Louis, where he headed the Suburban Journals – a collection of 38 weekly community newspapers.

Pepe said the CA’s suburban business strategy as modified several times over has worked. That strategy is to get advertising from small businesses in the community receiving the directed section – businesses whose reach and revenue can’t sustain a pitch to the paper’s larger audience.

“In St. Louis, they’ve been in place for 50 years,” Pepe said. “So they were humming. Here, we’ve had them in place for three or four years. I would suggest that if we’d not done this, that we would have even greater financial problems, only because the dependency on the larger advertisers would have been even greater than it is.”

“Zoning,” as it’s called, is now a three-day-a-week proposition.

“We still do zoning Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. We have a suburban, urban and a DeSoto zone. I think that’s where we need to be,” Peck said. “What we’re trying to do is balance the best of both worlds. Make sure our readers have the best of what’s going on in greater Memphis, but that we also provide a degree of zone content that is either geared toward the metro area, the suburbs or DeSoto County.”

But the practice has been much different than the theory behind the advertising and the needs of news consumers. As valued as the suburban coverage has been throughout Peck’s tenure, the bureaus have been places where reporters with troublesome attitudes toward editors have been exiled.

It was the next destination for many of those summoned for personal meetings with Peck as the first round of buyouts began in late 2003. In some cases, reporters have welcomed the assignment to be able to get out of the Downtown newsroom.

In the doghouse

The first round of buyouts under Peck in 2003 was brutal – even more ham-handed and graceless than anyone imagined possible. And the CA is not an organization noted for having an optimistic outlook.

All employees who were older than 40 and had been at the company 20 years or more got packets outlining the terms of the buyout. But within that group, Peck singled out about a dozen copy editors, reporters and photographers, including some of the most senior reporters and photographers in the organization. He had already begun discussions with several in the group who had been ill or had surgery.

Each got an e-mail from Peck asking if they had a few minutes to talk in his office. Peck would later quarrel with an assertion that he had threatened those in the group in the one-on-one talks. But he did tell each of them that if they didn’t take the buyout, they would be assigned more onerous duties.

One was told that if he didn’t take the buyout, he would be working nights and weekends. When the employee said he already worked nights and weekends, the meeting ended abruptly. A features reporter and another reporter each were told they would be working the night cops beat if they didn’t accept the buyouts.

The night shift started at 4:30 p.m. and ran until 1 a.m. or so. It involved listening to a police scanner and checking for such news that had to be written on deadline. The night cops reporter is the only news reporter on duty at the paper after 5p.m. unless there’s a late City Council meeting or someone on dayside decides they are on a roll and continues working.

Most papers have the night cops beat, and it is usually where beginning reporters start. It’s a good way to learn the basics of print reporting and determine whether a reporter can hold up under deadline pressure. At the CA, it is a beat assigned to reporters who are out of favor – firmly, decisively and usually terminally out of favor.

Under Peck, even summer interns don’t have to work night cops.

The Newspaper Guild, the union that represents reporters, photographers and copy editors, took the unusual move of passing a resolution that complained about Peck’s singling out employees. The same day the union passed the resolution, Peck called into his office the reporter who had made the proposal. I was that employee.

“I would really like for this not to find its way to Cincinnati,” was his reaction after he quarreled over whether his other talks with employees had amounted to threats.

The guild membership had voted unanimously for the resolution to be sent to Scripps management in Cincinnati. Peck later talked union leaders out of sending it, despite the membership vote.

Some of the squeezed employees took the buyout. Others stayed and were shuffled out to the suburban bureaus the following August, and were among those laid off this past March.

‘Treacherous ground’

The guild’s idea of a protest was to have reporters in the newsroom wear green on certain days of the week. This signaled that contract negotiations weren’t going well or weren’t going at all.

It’s been six years since the last labor contract expired that included guaranteed annual raises. Then the guild went to the idea of wearing green buttons – no words on the buttons, just green buttons that Scripps brass in town would see during their visits to Memphis. The brass never got near the newsroom. Still later, the guild kept the idea of the green color scheme but added the wording “We All Merit A Raise” to protest the company’s proposal of merit pay raises instead of a percentage raise guaranteed in the contract.

At one point, the guild was optimistic that the company was getting the message. So the guild urged members not to file grievances against management to keep the goodwill going.

In October 2007, the most visible sign of dissent in years came outside the framework of the guild and stalled contract talks. As the CA prepared to publish a series of articles on the impact of Memphis businesses around the world, a lead piece about FedEx to be sponsored by FedEx was ordered rewritten and the reporter, Trevor Aaronson, refused. The newspaper had approached FedEx about sponsoring that particular piece. Dozens of staff members, in a rare public move, signed a petition objecting to the practice Peck referred to as “monetizing content.” They felt it crossed the line separating the editorial part of the newspaper from sales. National trade magazines and blogs, which normally overlook the CA, took note of the flap.

Peck retreated, telling Editor & Publisher, a print trade magazine, “I went to our publisher and said, ‘We have probably gone half a step more than we should have gone on this project.’ It is treacherous ground when you start talking about having an advertiser in a section that has them in the reporting.”

Aaronson later left the CA, but has been quoted as saying he enjoyed the freedom he was given to pursue his own interests.

“I don’t care to talk about my experiences there,” Aaronson wrote in an e-mail.

The favored few

The stage for the latest round of layoffs that came in April was set with the release of fourth-quarter figures for Scripps.

Profits were way down. The chain ended the year with its share prices down 51 percent or $22. The chain announced it would freeze the pension plan, cutting 401(k) matching funds from the company. At the CA, the 401(k) match has always only applied to managers.

Mark Watson, head of the triumvirate of labor unions at the CA, including The Newspaper Guild, broke the news about the layoffs, calling it a “crisi-tunity.” He was among those laid off weeks later.

The weekend after the announcement, Peck in his Sunday column once again lectured about the hard economic times.

From the start, Peck’s quest was to garner favorable attention within the city and in journalism circles across the country by winning awards. At first, he touted every award the paper won, which, for writing and reporting, were usually the monthly Scripps awards from the home office in Cincinnati.

But he later reversed that and said the paper should note only awards of national stature. Photographers regularly won those, but reporters didn’t.

When some reporters complained their work was always excluded from consideration, Peck directed that reporters submit on a monthly basis any work they wanted to be considered for award entries.

Those suggestions were then forwarded to the very editors who had been excluding their work in the first place and who remained in control of contest entries.

Like other newspapers, the CA’s approach to awards is sometimes to deem a story to be eligible for an award, possibly before the first interview is done or the first word is written.

But a contest entry had to have the right byline as well – the right reporter doing a story for a contest was usually not the one covering the beat from which the story arose.

Pamela Perkins, who left the paper voluntary in the November 2008 round of layoffs, along with music writer Bill Ellis, who left in 2005, won a national award in 2004 from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri for their continuing coverage of the return of Stax Records and the surrounding Soulsville neighborhood in South Memphis. Their writing won first place in the arts and entertainment category of the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards.

There was no companywide e-mail congratulating them as there had been for awards in the monthly Scripps competition.

Stephen Price’s work as one of several reporters working on the deadly shooting of a child on Rosamond Avenue in 2002 caught the attention of Florida’s Poynter Institute, a leading journalism think tank. Other reporters deemed more worthy were praised the next day in the inevitable self-congratulatory e-mail in which management separated those it favored from those it didn’t.

Price had blended into the neighborhood crowd as police cleared reporters from the area, came back with the story no one else had and wrote it on deadline.

The Poynter Institute carries a lot of weight in Peck’s newspaper philosophy. Several times, he’s used Poynter fellows to mediate discussions with community leaders about the newspaper’s policies. But when Price’s account of the shooting aftermath in the Rosamond neighborhood was reprinted in Poynter’s annual anthology of the nation’s best journalism of the past year, CA management once again did not acknowledge the accolade.

Curious ideas

As the 2004 presidential season began, Peck revealed an important part of his views on political coverage to an editors’ forum in Washington. It was the same night as the Iowa caucuses.

The remarks to the American Press Institute gathering didn’t get much publicity, even after they showed up on an industry blog. It took a few more months. He never said anything about it to anyone who worked at the CA.

Peck said having reporters cover campaign events was a waste of time and resources. Instead, he said citizen journalists should cover the events – those who were already going to attend the rallies anyway.

“We have to get over the notion that we have to do it all ourselves,” he told Chad Capellman of API as he talked of having editors find volunteers to write summaries of what was said. “It’s not doing the democracy any good to send out a reporter to write down a regurgitation of what a candidate is saying in a staged event.”

Peck also said newspapers should compete with comedy shows such as “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” as a source of political information. Also, Peck called for focus groups of readers to determine what issues should be discussed.

“Don’t let the candidates drive coverage of the three issues they want to ride to get elected,” he told the API group.

Being the newspaper’s political reporter had been a difficult posting for some time, even before Peck arrived in Memphis. Bernsen had a checkered history of political coverage that turned into a deep distrust and contempt for politics when he became the head of Metro.

Each election season he would dutifully call those assigned to political coverage to his office and haul out a set of his own news clippings, which he said illustrated the kind of reporting he wanted. Under no circumstances, he insisted, would the candidates be setting the agenda for the newspaper’s coverage.

Such tension is normal in the planning of most media coverage of politics. It’s a game candidates, their representatives and the reporters who cover them play constantly.

Bernsen’s decision was not to play the game at all. He did not want coverage of campaign events and rallies. And the end of an election meant the end of political coverage. Any attempt a candidate made to establish or give voice to an issue was uniformly rejected even if it obviously hit a nerve with voters. To him, the whole process was rigged and the newspaper’s view was the only valid one.

There was supposed to be a wall between the reporting that was allowed on the political process and the endorsements of candidates that the CA editorial board made. Most candidates interested in the newspaper’s endorsement never believed there was a wall. If there was, they reasoned, editors not on the board would still find a way to limit or tilt coverage of those who weren’t endorsed.

Prism of perception

The CA began 2009 with a curious 15-part series that recapped the public life of Mayor Willie Herenton.

Herenton has had problems with the newspaper throughout that public life. And similarly, the newspaper’s leadership has had problems seeing straight when the subject was Willie Herenton.

The paper’s until then consistent political coverage was missing in action when Herenton launched a surprisingly strong-willed bid for mayor in 1991. Editorially, the newspaper had strong reservations about the People’s Convention that Herenton took by storm, clearing the first political obstacle in what became a historic campaign.

His willingness to participate in the convention, whose goal was to come up with a consensus black challenger to incumbent Dick Hackett, put off those in the newspaper’s front office. It translated to next to no coverage of a campaign effort that was on the streets every day, while Hackett pursued the local equivalent of a rose garden strategy of speaking to small groups at select backyard parties.

When Herenton won, the ambivalence turned into hostility.

Herenton had a good relationship with several reporters who had covered his tenure as city schools superintendent – even through the sexual harassment lawsuit that came near the end of his tenure there and just before his entry into the 1991 mayor’s race. (The harassment case stemmed from a relationship Herenton had with a teacher.)

Those reporters had to walk a fine line. A favorable comment by Herenton in public that got back to editors could mean that reporter would be perceived as biased toward Herenton. The problem many reporters had with walking the tightrope was editors increasingly viewed a reporter’s duty to the paper as a requirement to shank their sources in print to show where their loyalties lay.

The editors were convinced a 2005 recall petition mounted by radio talk show host and blogger Thaddeus Matthews would succeed. They considered it a foregone conclusion that Matthews would gather more than enough signatures on the petitions and do it well before the deadline to file with the Shelby County Election Commission.

The newspaper’s planned coverage moved past the recall drive itself. The editors ordered up a piece on who was likely to run in the recall election that followed. They approached at least two reporters with the task before the effort flagged just enough for the piece to become an article on who might run for city mayor in 2007.

The fact that politicos across the city were still waiting to see if the 2006 county elections would offer any opportunities didn’t cross their minds. Calls to those politicos were met with widespread laughter and wonderment at the eccentric methods afoot at the CA. The petition drive failed and Matthews backed Herenton’s 2007 bid for re-election.

Distance learning

By this past February, CA management signed off on a content-sharing agreement with fellow Scripps paper The Knoxville News Sentinel, as well as The Tennesseean newspaper in Nashville and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Feb. 5 agreement was already in effect by the time an internal memo from News Sentinel management surfaced in early March in Editor & Publisher.

The CA and the Knoxville newspaper had used such a strategy for years in covering politics. The result was that the CA continued to do without any local political coverage beyond biographical pieces introducing candidates.

Statewide races for governor and the U.S. Senate were covered from Knoxville or by the CA’s Nashville bureau chief, Richard Locker, or in some cases by Bartholomew Sullivan, a former CA reporter who now works for the Scripps News Service’s Washington bureau. That meant candidates for statewide office coming to Memphis were usually covered before they got to the city or after they left.

The agreement was most visible during the 2006 U.S. Senate race between Republican Bob Corker of Chattanooga and Democrat Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis. One of the campaign’s crucial events was a showdown between the two at Memphis International Airport.

Corker had called a press conference there. Ford crashed the event ahead of time and the two faced off in the airport parking lot – a few inches from each other with television cameras and microphones surrounding them.

There was no CA reporter in the press pack. Sullivan covered what became known as the “parking lot debate” from the D.C. bureau.

...

81. Former Cordova Applebee’s To Be Converted to IHOP -

1106 N. Germantown Parkway
Cordova, TN 38016
Sale Amount: $1.3 Million

Sale Date: April 2, 2009
Buyer: Hotcakes Cordova Venture LLC
Seller: Gourmet Systems Inc.
Loan Amount: $1.6 million
Loan Date: April 2, 2009
Maturity Date: Sept. 30, 2014
Lender: Branch Banking and Trust

82. Florida Investor Buys SE Memphis Retail Center -

6990 Shelby Drive
Memphis, TN 38125
Sale Amount: Quitclaim

Sale Date: Aug. 1, 2008
Buyer: Gator Shelby Partners Ltd.
Seller: Shelby Square LLC
Loan Amount: $4.3 million
Loan Date: Aug. 1, 2008
Maturity Date: N/A
Lender: Bank of America NA
Details: Miami-based real estate investment firm Gator Investments, operating locally as Gator Shelby Partners Ltd., has entered the Memphis market with the acquisition of the Shelby Square retail strip center on the northeast corner of Riverdale Road and Shelby Drive.

83. Just a Matter of Time -

David Goodwin Jr. is a veteran real estate developer and the fifth generation of his family to go into the development business.

That's why he regards housing downturns - such as the one that took hold soon after the credit crunch unfolded in 2007 - from a historical point of view.

84. Events -

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra will host violinist Susie Park for "Park and Mozart," part of the Paul and Linnea Bert Chamber Series, today at 8 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 1000 S. Cooper St. Tickets are $45 and can be bought by calling 537-2525, visiting the MSO box office at 585 S. Mendenhall Road, or going to www.memphissymphony.org.

85. Events -

The Memphis Regional Chamber will hold its monthly "Breakfast Forum: News and Networking for Business Professionals" today from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Marriott East, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd. The cost to attend is $20 for chamber members and $30 for nonmembers. For more information, visit www.memphischamber.com or contact Ericka Milford at 543-3518 or emilford@memphischamber.com.

86. Events -

master IT will host a business seminar, "Business Unplugged," today from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology, 365 Innovation Drive. Several speakers from technology companies will be in attendance. For more information or to register, visit www.master-it.com/unpluggedevent.html or call 377-7891.

87. Events -

Rhodes College will present Qubad Talabani, representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to the United States and son of the current president of Iraq, who will speak on "The Other Iraq" today at 5 p.m. in the Blount Auditorium of Buckman Hall on the Rhodes campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. Call Dr. David Romano at 843-3572 for more information.

88. Events -

Deborah Brasfield of Brasfield Enterprises will hold a seminar titled "How to Buy a House Without Losing Your Shirt" today at 6 p.m. at the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce building, 2195 S. Germantown Road, Suite 101. The event is free. Call 652-8619 for reservations or more information.

89. Events -

The Center for Southern Folklore presents singer/songwriter Kate Campbell today at 8 p.m. at 119 S. Main St. Tickets are $25 for the best available seats. The remainder cost $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Call 525-3655 or visit www.southernfolklore.com to purchase tickets.

90. Events -

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra presents "Around the World" with guitarist Lily Afshar today at 8 p.m. at the Buckman Performing & Fine Arts Center, 60 Perkins Road Ext. The concert in the Paul and Linnea Bert Chamber series features music influenced by African folk mythology, tango rhythms and Argentine folk music. For tickets, call 537-2525 or visit www.memphissymphony.org.

91. Events -

The Friends of the Memphis Public Library presents its library book sale today through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cossitt Branch Library, 33 S. Front St. For more information, call 415-2700.

92. Events -

Talk Shoppe presents "Preparing the Seller for Marketing Their Home," a free seminar, today from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South, 3693 Tyndale Drive. Earlaine Winterowd, a Realtor with Diamond Realty and an instructor at the Professional School of Real Estate, is the speaker. For more information, call Jo Garner at 482-0354.

93. Events -

Cotton Inc. and the New York Board of Trade host "Hedging With Cotton Options" today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Ave. The free seminar provides information to cotton growers for the 2007 season. Lunch is provided. To register, call 212-748-4094 or 919-678-2271 or e-mail rallen@nybot.com or kwriedt@cottoninc.com.

94. Events -

South End Developers LLC hosts the Downtown Home Show at South End today at 11 a.m. at the Riverside 648 Condominiums, 648 Riverside Drive. Eleven developments are participating in South End's first spring home show. Model townhomes, condominiums and lofts will be on display. Call 461-1662 for more information.

95. Events -

The Memphis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) holds a membership breakfast meeting Tuesday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Holiday Inn-University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. Carolyn Hardy, president and CEO of Chism Hardy Enterprises LLC, is the guest speaker. She will discuss her career successes as the first black vice president for the Memphis Coors Brewing Co. and the future of her newly formed corporation. Cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Call 844-3738 or visit www.nawbomemphis.org for reservations.

96. Archived Article -

3845 Crowfarn Drive
Memphis, TN 38118
Sale Amount: $2.8 million

Sale Date: Dec. 14, 2006

Buyer: Cabot II-TN1W09 LLC

97. Oak Hall Purchase BringsBuilding, Land Under Same Owners -      Oak Hall, a five-story, 91,000-square-foot office building at 555 Perkins Road Extended, has been transferred to a new ownership group, marking the first time the building and the land have been under the same ownership.

98. Events -

The Memphis chapter of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center hosts "Business Start-Up" today from 10 a.m. to noon at Renaissance Business Center, 555 Beale St. The free seminar will outline the first steps in starting a business. For information, call Yolanda Handy at 333-5085.

99. Rhodes College Singers Perform at Calvary and the Arts -

Nov. 28

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a free tax preparer seminar from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. Attendees will hear from speakers from the IRS, the U.S Department of Treasury and the Social Security Administration. For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

100. Wal-Mart Gains More Ground In Greater Memphis -

In Memphis, answers to the question "What hath Wal-Mart wrought?" are about as numerous as the amount of shelves the world's largest retailer keeps stocked with its famously deep-discounted merchandise.