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Editorial Results (free)

1. Steffner Adds SIOR Role to Real Estate Resume -

Since Joe Steffner opened his own commercial real estate firm 10 years ago, the industry veteran has had a front row seat to some wild changes in the industry.

He experienced everything from the boom days of the early- and mid-2000s to the depths of the recession and its crushing aftermath as the decade ended.

2. Screwpulp Carves Out Identity in Amazon-Led Industry -

It’s no secret Amazon is the subject of intense public scrutiny at the moment over a flurry of controversial decisions from the online retailing giant against some of the publishers with which it does business.

3. Green Mountain Consulting Finds Home Along Poplar -

Logistics vendor Green Mountain Consulting wasn’t necessarily looking to buy an office building when it began its search for more office space for expansion.

“We’re not getting into the commercial real estate business because we wanted to be in it; we got into it because we have a company to operate and needed the space,” said Jim Jacobs, one of Green Mountain’s co-founders.

4. Many Seek New Homes Near Cities But are Priced Out -

WASHINGTON (AP) – City living has been a blessing for Tim Nelson.

The Phoenix lawyer moved downtown a few months ago into a new $389,000 home with a warehouse-style floor plan, a Jacuzzi tub and kitchen counters made of Caesarstone quartz. His favorite coffee spot is three blocks away. When the Arizona Diamondbacks play on Friday nights, he can watch postgame fireworks from his deck.

5. Medical Makeover -

After suffering from years of benign neglect, a new, more invigorated Memphis Medical Center is finally beginning to take shape.

A drive or walk around the area these days shows the hallmarks of a changing landscape – bulldozers, backhoes, cranes and construction crews working feverishly to forge the new urban environment.

6. CBRE Memphis Joins Energy Star Program -

CB Richard Ellis Memphis has joined a national energy-saving program that could help the environment and benefit the company’s bottom line.

CBRE Memphis joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program as an Energy Star partner. Through the voluntary partnership, CBRE Memphis aims to help the environment and boost financial performance by improving the energy efficiency of properties it manages.

7. CBRE Memphis Joins Energy Star Program -

CB Richard Ellis Memphis has joined a national energy-saving program that could help the environment and benefit the company’s bottom line.

CBRE Memphis joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program as an Energy Star partner. Through the voluntary partnership, CBRE Memphis aims to help the environment and boost financial performance by improving the energy efficiency of properties it manages.

8. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

9. Attorney Pierotti Joins Thomas Family Law Firm -

Nicholas J. Pierotti has joined Thomas Family Law Firm PLC as an attorney, marking the firm’s expansion to include probate issues. Pierotti, a third-generation attorney, joins founder Justin K. Thomas in the Memphis-based practice and will work with clients on both family law and probate matters, including wills and estates.

10. Good Dog -

TRICKS YOUR DOG TEACHES YOU. Last weekend, the Lawsons’ church retreat was interrupted by loss. A dog had to be put down – more than a dog – Posey had to be put down. The fact that she had long been failing didn’t make the vet’s call any easier to answer, the drive north from Mississippi’s Camp Bratton Green any shorter. Posey came before the other children, before the move to Memphis, came to be part of everything and everybody for 16 years.

11. Cutting Edge -

Methodist Olive Branch Hospital opened its doors late last month, and hospital officials can expect to see dramatically reduced energy costs thanks to innovative, environmentally friendly design features like photoelectric glass and a geothermal heat pump system – one of the first of its type in a hospital in the U.S.

12. Local Startup Screwpulp Gaining Attention -

Memphis-based startup Screwpulp, which participated in the latest cohort of the Seed Hatchery accelerator, has been busy in recent weeks.

Earlier this month the company was chosen by a group of out-of-state investors as one of 20 finalists for the first-ever statewide demo day in Tennessee, being spearheaded by LaunchTN. For the Aug. 27 event, Screwpulp will be part of a group of 20 companies competing for the chance to participate in a master accelerator program.

13. Mud Island Apartments Sell for $43.6 Million -

A large apartment community on Mud Island has sold for $43.6 million. Riverset, a 500-unit apartment community constructed in 1988 and 1990, sold on May 31 for $43.6 million, or $87,200 per unit.

Blake Pera and Tommy Bronson III with CB Richard Ellis’ Memphis multifamily division represented the seller, Auction Street Associates LP, in the sale to TMF II Riverset LLC.

14. Mud Island Apartments Sell for $43.6 Million -

A large apartment community on Mud Island has sold for $43.6 million. Riverset, a 500-unit apartment community constructed in 1988 and 1990, sold on May 31 for $43.6 million, or $87,200 per unit.

Blake Pera and Tommy Bronson III with CB Richard Ellis’ Memphis multifamily division represented the seller, Auction Street Associates LP, in the sale to TMF II Riverset LLC.

15. Seed Hatchery Teams Begin Next Steps -

Participants in this year’s cohort of the Seed Hatchery startup accelerator now face perhaps the most important piece of the 90-day program that puts them through an entrepreneurship boot camp.

16. Choose901 Celebrates One Year of Upbeat Message -

One phrase has been popping up in the local social media world with increasingly frequency over the past year.

Choose901.

It refers to a campaign led by the civic group City Leadership, and it’s designed to do exactly what the name says.

17. State Systems Installs Green Ballast Lighting -

State Systems Inc., a privately owned total protection company based in Memphis, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s light ballasts in its corporate headquarters and warehouse facility at 3755 Cherry Road.

18. State Systems Installs Green Ballast Lighting -

State Systems Inc., a privately-owned total protection company based in Memphis, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s light ballasts in its corporate headquarters and warehouse facility at 3755 Cherry Road.

19. Bronson Sporting Goods Adopts Green Lighting -

Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, a local sporting goods provider for 86 years, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s patented daylight harvesting fluorescent light ballasts in its new East Memphis location at 964 June Road.

20. Bronson Sporting Goods Adopts Green Ballast Lighting -

Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, a local sporting goods provider for 86 years, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s patented daylight harvesting fluorescent light ballasts in its new East Memphis location at 964 June Road.

21. McLain Joins Counterpart in Copywriting Role -

Rebekah McLain has joined Counterpart Communication Design as copywriter. In her new role, McLain will write copy for print and websites, with areas of expertise including higher education, security and disability law, neuropsychology and hospitality.

22. Midtown Momentum -

The Midtown real estate market has long been an anomaly compared to its Bluff City counterparts, with fundamentals as diverse as its demographics.

“The types of real estate that you’ll find in Midtown can be some of the most expensive or some of the most modest when it comes to prices and facility,” said Gary Myers of Gary Myers Co. “Retail in particular.”

23. Green Ballast Installs Smart Lighting for Belz -

Commercial real estate developer Belz Enterprises is installing vapor tight fluorescent fixtures with Green Ballast Inc.’s light ballasts in a structured parking garage facility in Memphis.

24. Midtown Utopia -

Of Memphis’ tales of humble beginnings, of which there are many, the fluctuating renaissance of the Cooper-Young neighborhood is certainly compelling throughout.

The area has cycled from its 19th century roots to 1970s crime and neglect to its present-day status as one of the largest historic districts in the Southeast, a magnet of all ages and walks of life. All thanks to individuals and organizations that wouldn’t settle for sub-par quality in their tiny town within the bustling Bluff City.

25. Impact of Election Woes May Linger -

The confirmation last week of the suspension and probationary period for Shelby County Elections Administrator Richard Holden may not be the end of his difficulties.

26. Holden Suspended by Election Commission -

Shelby County Elections Administrator Richard Holden has been suspended for three days and put on probation for six months following the suspension because of the way the Aug. 2 elections were conducted.

27. Brown Joins REACH As Vice President -

Stephen Brown has joined REACH Human Capital as vice president of business development. In his new role, Brown will assist companies in selecting and training employees.

28. Hinte Expands Role At Second to Nunn -

Lowell Hinte has been promoted to account manager and designer at website- and branding-design company Second to Nunn Design. Hinte has served as a designer at S2N since 2009. In his expanded role, Hinte will ensure clients’ expectations are met on key projects regarding strategy, vision, quality and schedule.

29. Residential Greening -

There was a time not so long ago when potential homebuyers had to demand energy efficiency in new homes.

Nowadays, green features are more of an expectation than an extra.

“I would venture to say that just about everybody asks about energy efficiency,” said Martha Fondren, director of sales and marketing for Grant & Co. “They may not say it in those words, but they ask us about what kind of furnaces we are using, what kind of faucets, what kind of insulation. What are the standard things that people can expect when they walk in the home in order to save them money on the utility bills because that’s a huge expense.”

30. Alliance Helps Businesses Implement Green Practices -

A public-private partnership called Team Green Zone, spearheaded by the Bartlett Area Chamber, is helping Mid-South businesses implement long-term sustainable practices to protect the environment while helping businesses boost their bottom lines.

31. Teacher Evaluation Sparks Debate Among Educators -

The schools consolidation planning commission hasn’t made any decisions yet about teacher pay and benefits or suggestions about how many teachers the merged school system might need.

But when it got its first look at the human resources overview last week, there was immediate discussion about which direction to go in teacher evaluation.

32. Miconi Finds Success During First Year -

Start-up firm Miconi Project Management has completed several projects in the Memphis area in recent months, and has more in the pipeline.

Warren Miconi founded the firm on April 1. It provides real estate project management and consulting services to clients with operations in Mississippi and the Mid-South.

33. Spurs Hand Grizzlies 4th Straight Loss, 83-73 -

MEMPHIS (AP) – The San Antonio Spurs hardly looked like an aging team playing the second night of a back-to-back.

But the Memphis Grizzlies sure appeared to be a team still in a haze from a four-game road trip.

34. Uphill Battle -

After retiring from her nearly 30-year career at FedEx, African-American business executive Edith Kelly-Green embarked on an entrepreneurial venture when she bought 11 Lenny’s Sub Shop locations.

Three decades of working for a Fortune 500 corporation paved the way for her new enterprise as a franchisee.

35. New Dishes -

Memphis’ eyes were bigger than its stomach in 2011, but in a good way.

Some local restaurateurs launched completely new concepts; others entered new submarkets with additional stores. Even a handful of national retailers entered the Memphis market after having locations elsewhere in Tennessee for years.

36. Willow Lake Apartments Fetch $7.8M -

A North Hickory Hill apartment complex has traded hands for the second time in 18 months.

Bloomington, Minn.-based New Life Core Willow Lake LLC has bought Willow Lake Apartments at 2774 Mendenhall Road from NW-Willow Lake LLC for $7.8 million. The purchase was financed with a $7 million loan through KeyBank NA.

37. Baseball Players: Chew on This -

“Senators urge baseball players to chew on smokeless tobacco ban,” the headline read “Chew.” Get it? I mean don’t get it. Don’t use tobacco, please. Smokeless or the other kind. From a health perspective, it’s not worth it.

38. Schools Planning Commission Begins Work -

The 21-member schools consolidation planning commission goes to work Thursday, Sept. 29, in a conference room at the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement in Shelby Farms.

39. Events -

The Memphis Claims Association will meet Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5:15 p.m. at Side Street Grill, 31 Florence St. The topic discussed will be furniture and cabinet damage claims. Cost is $25 for members and $35 for guests.

40. Events -

The Tennessee Beta Unit of Parliamentarians will hold its monthly meeting and educational program Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. at the Poplar-White Station Branch Library, 5094 Poplar Ave.

41. Have ‘Mondegreens’ Had Their Day? -

The word “Mondegreen” made it into the dictionary in 2000, 46 years after it was coined. I guess I haven’t written about it since before that time.

The word was come up with by American writer Sylvia Wright, in a 1954 essay in Harper’s. As a youth, Wright heard her mother read from “The Bonny Earl o’ Moray”: “They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray/ And laid him on the green.”

42. There’s Greenbacks In Going Green -

Ray’s Take: Going green is a noble goal, but what really interests me is turning green behavior into more green in your wallet. It’s doubly satisfying when you shrink your carbon footprint and increase your spending (or saving) power at the same time.

43. Darkened Doors Speak To Industry Challenges -

“We couldn’t make the space work. We tried, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get the numbers.”

Those sad words could have been pronounced by many chefs, managers and owners back in 2008 and 2009, when restaurants were closing right and left at the height of the recession, but no, that was Richard Saviori speaking last week after he decided to close Thyme Bistro. The restaurant served its last meals on June 25, having been open just over a year.

44. Darkened Doors Speak To Industry Challenges -

“We couldn’t make the space work. We tried, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get the numbers.”

Those sad words could have been pronounced by many chefs, managers and owners back in 2008 and 2009, when restaurants were closing right and left at the height of the recession, but no, that was Richard Saviori speaking last week after he decided to close Thyme Bistro. The restaurant served its last meals on June 25, having been open just over a year.

45. Highwoods to Receive LEED Gold Plaque -

Highwoods Properties Inc. will be presented Monday, June 6, with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold plaque for Memphis’ first multi-tenant LEED-certified building, Triad Center III, 6070 Poplar Ave.

46. Dodging the Deluge -

The last time the Memphis river gauge was this high, Memphis was a much different place. In 1937 when the Mississippi River at Memphis topped 48.7 feet, Mud Island was really an island with no levee connecting it to the city and the Wolf River flowing between it and the city proper. Parts of the city were still rural as was the county outside Memphis. Today’s suburban development was a long way off, and Millington was still a few years away from getting the Naval Air Station.

47. Spring Fever, Flavors Hit Memphis Kitchens -

March came in like a lion and it didn’t exactly go out like a lamb, but the contradictory month still spells the beginning of spring, when young men’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and chefs in restaurant kitchens begin considering changes to their menus that reflect a more buoyant season. In fact, chefs get pretty darned excited about this momentous change of seasons.

48. Fannie, Freddie Narrow Losses but Seek More Aid -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac narrowed their losses in the final three months of last year. But they are asking for more money from taxpayers as the real estate market braces for what could be a new wave of mortgage defaults.

49. Charities Turn Super Sunday into Day of Giving -

Several Memphis-based nonprofits are using Super Bowl Sunday as an opportunity to encourage citizens to give back to their community.

For the seventh year in a row, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, a nonprofit housing ministry dedicated to providing decent housing for all members of the community, is asking football fans to party with a purpose this Sunday for its annual Home Team Huddle.

50. Inaugural Seminar to Focus on CRE Issues -

Despite commercial real estate’s doldrums, local brokers are seeing signs of resurgence.

Commercial real estate investments – such as malls, office buildings and industrial properties – reached $316 billion nationwide in 2010, according to Thomas Reuters. That represented a 50 percent jump from an eight-year low in 2009 of $209 billion.

51. Glimpse into History -

David Simmons has seen them peering in the windows of his new storefront at 333 Beale St.

52. Gibson Honored as Part of ‘30 Under 30’ List -

Andre Gibson, chair of the Memphis City Beautiful Commission and vice president of the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals, has been named among Rosewood Hotels’ national 30 Under 30 campaign.

53. U of M Ramping Up Sustainability Focus -

Starting in spring 2011, the University of Memphis will offer a breakthrough real estate graduate program that will emphasize sustainability and ways to reduce carbon footprints.

The Memphis Metro Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) chapter earlier this week held a panel discussion – composed of three professors from the U of M’s Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate – on new directions such as these in commercial real estate.

54. USGBC Sharpens Green Building Focus -

Sustainability remains a buzzword in the building trade, but industry professionals emphasize that it’s more than a passing trend – green design is here to stay.

Later this week, two educational seminars offered through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Memphis Regional Chapter aim to drive home that point.

55. ALBA Enhances Airport Gateway -

As Bluff City officials continue to push the aerotropolis effort, the Airways Lamar Business Association is doing its part to improve the area just north of Memphis International Airport.

Spearheading that improvement effort is Trennie Williams, who is celebrating two years as president and CEO of the association, a nonprofit alliance of business and community leaders working to strengthen, redevelop and beautify the Airways Boulevard, Lamar Avenue and Park Avenue corridors.

56. Hodges Devises Task Force for Charter Group -

Millington Mayor Richard Hodges missed some meetings of the Metro Charter Commission because of the early May floods. Millington got the worst of the flooding in Shelby County.

57. Obama Walk in Sand is Prelude to Primetime Speech -

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Laying the groundwork for an evening speech to the nation, President Barack Obama walked a pristine stretch of sand on Florida's shoreline Tuesday and pledged to "fight back with everything we've got" against the spreading oil lurking offshore.

58. Rally Time -

As soon as he heard the Memphis Redbirds were coming to town in 1998, Buddy Young bought season tickets and has renewed them every year since.

From the first two seasons at the old Tim McCarver Stadium to the debut of AutoZone Park in 2000, from Albert Pujols’ walkoff home run that won the Pacific Coast League title the first season at AutoZone to last year’s championship run, Young has been a die-hard Redbirds supporter.

59. The Cost of Progress -

The development of Norfolk Southern Corp.’s $112 million intermodal yard on a former cattle ranch in Fayette County has polarized the community for more than a year.

60. Recession Pushes Looney Ricks Kiss Into Bankruptcy -

Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc., one of the city’s most recognizable and renowned architectural and design firms, on Tuesday filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

61. Recession Pushes Looney Ricks Kiss Into Bankruptcy -

Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc., one of the city’s most recognizable and renowned architectural and design firms, on Tuesday filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

62. Glankler Brown’s Hancock Elected Bar Foundation Fellow -

Jonathan C. Hancock of Glankler Brown PLLC has been elected a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, an association of 710 attorneys across the state.

63. Industry Halts Food Label Program over FDA Concern -

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Smart Choices nutrition labeling program, created voluntarily by nine large U.S. manufacturers, is halting after federal regulators said such systems could mislead consumers, officials with the labeling group said Friday.

64. Taking Off -

Aviators attain flight and control the movements of their aircraft by precisely balancing the forces of lift, thrust, drag and gravity. The people piloting the aerotropolis initiative – the promotion of Memphis’ economy focused on the airport, other transportation assets and the connectivity among them – are negotiating their own set of physics in hopes of becoming airborne.

65. Taking Off -

Aviators attain flight and control the movements of their aircraft by precisely balancing the forces of lift, thrust, drag and gravity. The people piloting the aerotropolis initiative – the promotion of Memphis’ economy focused on the airport, other transportation assets and the connectivity among them – are negotiating their own set of physics in hopes of becoming airborne.

66. A River Runs Through Us: Memphis’ once and future connection with the Wolf -

A cottonmouth slithers through the marsh. A wolf spider clings to a cypress tree. A white heron soars above the bottomland forest.

Paddle a canoe down the Ghost River section of the Wolf River in Fayette County and you’ll travel through multiple, distinct ecosystems teeming with wildlife. But while animal sightings convey the true spirit of the Wolf, only one creature – the elusive “river rat” – can verbalize why this river and its wetland corridor are so important.

67. Dunavant Subsidiary Joins Ranks Of Green Logistics Firms -

A Memphis-based third-party logistics firm has turned a rebranding campaign into a way to reinvent the way it does business.

Centrix Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of cotton company Dunavant Enterprises Inc., has joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the transportation industry to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions along the global supply chain.

68. Justin's Empire: Timberlake drives business interests where it all began -

Justin Timberlake might be best known for hit records, dance moves and sold-out concerts, but the 28-year-old entertainer extraordinaire is much more than a singer/dancer/performer. The award-winning, chart-topping Timberlake – or, simply, JT – has become an institution, a brand name that transcends his showbiz persona and carries as much cachet as any living celebrity.

69. Memphis Music Foundation Elects Bell Chairman -

Al Bell has been elected the new chairman of the Memphis Music Foundation.
Under Bell’s direction, the foundation will continue to provide education, strategic planning and promotional opportunities to the Memphis music industry.
Bell is the former chairman and owner of Stax Records and former president of Motown Records. Bell has worked with artists such as Booker T and the MG’s, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes and Richard Pryor.

70. 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.

...

71. Mud Island Apartments to Bolster Existing Condos -

It took a tax break from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. to get the project going, but construction of Grand Island, a $19 million, 204-unit apartment complex slated for Mud Island, got the green light this week and will commence in November.

72. Covenant Bank Names Burnett Executive VP -

Charles R. Burnett has been hired as executive vice president for Covenant Bank.

73. GOP Open Seats Boost Democrats House Chances -

WASHINGTON (AP) - A rush of Republican retirements has positioned Democrats to pick up 20 or more seats in the House and transform what might otherwise be a march to modest gains on Election Day into a wave to a lopsided majority.

74. Smith Hired as Regional Clinical Director Of Ageless Men's Health -

Jeff Smith has been hired as regional clinical director for Memphis-based Ageless Men's Health, which provides treatment for men with low testosterone levels.

Smith has 24 years of experience in the medical field, and is a registered nurse specializing in intensive care, neuro-trauma ICU and emergency-room disciplines. He is the founder and owner of ICU Jet International Inc., a fixed-wing, air-ambulance service.

75. Rainey Chosen as President-Elect Of TN Women's Council of Realtors -

Crye-Leike Realtors broker Patty Rainey has been chosen as president-elect of the Tennessee Women's Council of Realtors.

Rainey is a member of the Memphis Area, Northwest Mississippi, Tennessee and National Associations of Realtors. She is in the Multi-Million Dollar Club and MAARket Master Toastmasters, and in 2006, she served as the president of the local Certified Residential Specialists chapter.

76. $16M Bid Chosen for Two Apartment Complexes -

Two Memphis apartment properties originally developed with low-income renters in mind - and whose cash-strapped owners filed for bankruptcy protection last year - appear likely to be snapped up soon by a private equity fund for $16 million.

77. Report: Rising Foreclosures Will Drain Major Metro Areas -

DETROIT (AP) - Rising foreclosures will lead to billions of dollars in lost economic activity next year in the nation's major metropolitan areas, but homeowners and financial institutions have the ability to work together to contain the effects, according to a report compiled for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

78. Thompson Named Chair of MPACT Board -

Jeni Stephens Thompson has been named the new chairwoman of the MPACT Memphis board of directors. Thompson is the director of marketing and development for the Memphis Bioworks Foundation. She has a bachelor's degree in communications from Lambuth University and a master's degree in education from Vanderbilt University. Thompson serves as the programs chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and sits on the Playhouse on the Square board. She is a member of the Leadership Memphis Class of 2008.

79. Equipment Failure Grounds Aircraft Flights Within 250 Miles of Memphis; Some Delays Reported -

MEMPHIS (AP) - Communications equipment failed Tuesday at a regional air-traffic control center, shutting down all airline traffic within 250 miles of Memphis and causing a ripple effect across the country that grounded dozens of passenger and cargo flights.

80. Bond Fund Investors Could Be Next In Subprime Saga -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Could the housing market's woes spread to bonds held in mutual funds by millions of ordinary investors?

Some experts - and hedge fund investors who have made big bets that the mortgage crisis will worsen - are saying that's exactly what will happen. Some bond funds that invest in riskier short-term debt already have been whacked by soaring default rates on bonds backed by subprime loans made to borrowers with weak credit.

81. After Three Years In the Making, Uptown Development Nears Completion -

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82. Deferring Taxes Important In Real Estate, Investors Say -

Twenty years ago, Tom Elledge Jr. began investing in real estate on the side.

He bought a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in the Berclair neighborhood and began renting it. He later sold that home and bought another, and then another.

83. Despite Flat County Tax Growth, Suburbs See Increases -

At roughly 1 percent, the growth in Shelby County's tax base over the past year was so minimal it was almost flat, according to certified property assessment figures released last week.

City officials in a few of the county's outer-edge suburbs, though, might look at those same numbers and find reason to smile. Municipalities such as Arlington and Millington saw double-digit percentage increases in their property assessments over last year.

84. Marketing Push Shows Businesses That Downtown Works -

The announcement in February that SunTrust Banks Inc. is clearing out of its 170,000-square-foot space in Downtown's One Commerce Square building - the second-tallest in the city - could be regarded as a setback for Downtown stakeholders.

85. Green Light? -

You don't have to look far to find examples of U.S. cities that are going green.

St. Louis, for example, has paved the way for an intricate greenway system that stretches some 400 miles throughout the city. Nashville has poured $250 million - roughly what the city of Memphis spent on the FedExForum arena - into a first-class parks and greenways system.

86. Wood Taps 'Gift of Gab' in Community Involvements -

Bill Wood must have a hat rack the size of the International Space Station.

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87. Tuttle Elected to State Judicial Selection Commission -

Dale H. Tuttle of Glassman, Edwards, Wade & Wyatt PC has been elected 2006 vice chairman of the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission. The commission interviews and recommends applicants for all state courts.

88. Ivy at South End Sidesteps Condominium Craze -

While much of the Downtown real estate market has been concentrating its efforts on condominiums, one group is working on something different - single family homes.

Robert Durbin of Durbin Diversified Builders and his son-in-law, Reid Hedgepeth of Hedgepeth Construction, are building 17 upscale zero-lot homes at The Ivy at South End near the intersection of South Front and Georgia streets.

89. Archived Article: Gov - Gene pearson:

Report Spells Progress for Shelby Farms Plan

ANDY MEEK

The Daily News

In the ancient world, as history tells it, all roads led to Rome. In Memphis, long-range road plans call for more than 30 new lanes of traffic all leadin...

90. Archived Article: Law - Firm Merger Aids Clients

Firm Merger Expands Services for Clients

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They didnt imagine back in their days at the University of Tennessee that they would one day work together on the other side of the state.

Bu...

91. Archived Article: Newsmakers - HEADLINE

MAAR Inducts Officers, Names Realtor Award Winners

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors announced the following 2004 award winners: Lee McWaters of McWaters & Associates, Realtor of the Year; Sally Isom of Prudential Collins-M...

92. Archived Article: Newsmakers - MAAR Elects 2005 Officers

Womens Foundation Appoints Board Members

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93. Archived Article: Daily Digest - Germantown Property

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Financed for $5.9 Million

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94. Archived Article: Fayette Iii (lead) - Fayette 3 Office Growth

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95. Archived Article: Newsmakers - MEMPHIS AD-FED PRESENTS PYRAMID AWARDS

Memphis Symphony Orchestra Adds to Staff

Barbara Frederick joined the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as director of corporate sales. Frederick formerly was president of the Memphis Symphony League. She has a ...

96. Archived Article: Benchmark - Oracle boosts PeopleSoft takeover bid

Oracle boosts PeopleSoft takeover bid

Oracle Corp., the No. 2 U.S.-based global software maker, Wednesday sweetened its hostile cash bid for PeopleSoft Inc. by 22 percent to about $6.3 billion, the latest ...

97. Archived Article: Memos - Veronica F

Veronica F. Coleman-Davis was appointed to Bank of Bartletts board of directors. She is a former U.S. Attorney in Memphis. She is president and chief executive officer of the National Institute for Law and Equity. Molly Okeon was promo...

98. Archived Article: Reits P2 - Mall owners prospering weak economy

Mall owners prospering in weak economy
As the holiday selling season approaches, mall owners are seeing green, even as their retailer tenants see red.

While retailers brace for what could be another wea...

99. Archived Article: Sholom (lead) - Beth Sholom cemetery pavilion on tap

Beth Sholom cemetery pavilion on tap By MARY DANDO

The Daily News

At todays 3:30 p.m. Memphis City Council meeting, Beth Sholom Synagogue officials seek permission to erect structures to remember their d...

100. Archived Article: Memos - Judge Judy Broffit, Kenneth May, William C

Judge Judy Broffit, Kenneth May, William C. Menkel and William S. Reeser were appointed board members of Youth Villages. Broffit is a judge of General Sessions, Division 9 and the Frayser Community Court...