The Nashville Ledger – The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc.’s rebranded successor to The Westview suburban weekly – recently launched a new print and online layout in efforts to broaden its audience.
Doug Underwood founded The Westview in 1978. The Daily News bought The Westview from the Underwood family in February 2010.
“We wanted to expand our footprint and the Westview was a great way to do so, with its established presence in the community but with plenty of room for growth and improvement,” said Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. “In many ways we’re trying to fill the gap created by the demise of the Nashville Record, which was folded into The Tennessean.”
Lyle Graves, The Nashville Ledger’s general manager and executive editor, was hired in the summer to upgrade the content of the paper. Under Graves’ leadership, the paper has added public records in print and public notices, information not found in other Nashville publications.
The changes to the Nashville Ledger represents the continued evolution of its product, Graves said. The Ledger has been extremely well-received, with circulation and distribution growing from 4,500 to 9,000 by the second half of 2010.
With the first expansion into Downtown under its belt, the next wave of expansion will be south into Williamson County, including areas where it already has a presence, like Brentwood, Cool Springs and Franklin.
“We’ve identified our readership – we’re targeting lawyers, real estate professionals, business people, bankers – so we’re expanding into where they are,” Graves said.
The Ledger’s relaunch coincides with The Daily News’ major upgrade of its sister real estate information company, Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
The Ledger, much like The Daily News, covers business, real estate, law and government. While it does have ties to features traditionally associated with a legal paper – like court dockets, real estate transactions, permits and UCC filings – it’s much more than that.
“What we’re going to focus on are people, as opposed to numbers and stories that only appeal to people in certain professions,” Graves said. “We’re going to try to tell stories of people who are successful in what they’re doing, what they’re doing away from the job, be more feature oriented and I think when we do that, we will appeal to a broader audience than just the Downtown professionals.”
The Ledger has officially rolled the first version of the new website at www.nashvilleledger.com, which includes free editorial and paid access to the online public records engine. In the coming months, The Ledger will add more public records and mapping, and features like an e-mail edition and downloadable lists.
The Ledger’s current content is freelanced to a team of journalists whom Graves has worked with for years. On weekdays, the website is updated with Associated Press content, with byline stories running only on the weekends.
But with plans in the works for the paper to become a bi-weekly publication, that model could soon change. The Ledger has a goal in place to grow to a circulation of 20,000 by year-end.
The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. produces its daily publication, The Daily News, five days a week with an average of 9,000 readers per day. Online, the paper gets 400,000 page views per month, and the e-mail edition has 3,600 subscribers.
Its weekly edition, The Memphis News, has 20,000 copies distributed per issue on more than 300 newsstands throughout the city. An audience of about 40,800 read The Memphis News every week.
All three papers are printed on The Daily News’ press in Memphis. In 2010, between the Memphis and Nashville papers, approximately 2.1 million newspapers were printed.