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VOL. 131 | NO. 192 | Monday, September 26, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Debate, Arnold Palmer and an Analysts' Poll on First Horizon

By Bill Dries

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Monday evening is the first of the Trump-Clinton Presidential debates and it will probably be watched very closely for a number of reasons – not the least of which is vigorous fact-checking of both candidates and the unique nature of this campaign between the two major contenders who are by several standards the most unpopular Presidential candidates to run against each other in our lifetimes.

When Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton came through Memphis last November, well in advance of the March Tennessee Presidential primaries, she talked of turning Tennessee blue – Democratic – in the general election which would reverse the state’s status as a red state – Republican in the last four Presidential general elections.

That no longer appears to be the game plan and Tennessee is not considered a battleground state.

Clinton’s Memphis campaign operation opened Saturday on Poplar Avenue and the regional Clinton person confirmed that the local volunteers will be phone-banking voters in North Carolina which was the primary national campaign task Memphis Democrats were assigned four years ago in the Obama re-election effort.

Trump supporters were also told they would be phone-banking voters in other states when their Memphis headquarters opened earlier this month.

More about the local Clinton effort in the Tuesday edition.

Meanwhile, Memphis is on Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s calendar in October.

Further down in Digest, unemployment is lower in August by the state numbers.

Arnold Palmer died Sunday at the age of 87. Here is the New York Times on the athlete behind a name that is synonymous with golf. Once upon a time in 1968, Palmer played in the 11th annual Memphis Open Golf Tournament – which was the name at the time for what is now the FedEx St. Jude Golf Classic. Palmer was paired with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in the pro-am. There must have been a crowd the size of the Liberty Bowl following the trio around Colonial Country Club that day. Bob Lunn won the tournament that year.

The CEO of First Horizon National, the parent company of First Tennessee Bank, Bryan Jordan talks about fewer branches but a strong loan pipeline at a Barclays Global Financial Services Conference. That pipeline includes a narrowing focus that takes in more restaurant franchise loans and investing in a statewide small business loan fund. Also of note from the Barclays conference was a poll of the analysts in the audience, most of whom predicted First Horizon will either sell itself to a larger bank or enter into a merger of equals in the next few years.

The Grizz organization is writing its own stories with a Grind City Media presence that was announced late last week. And it’s become the latest chapter in a very interesting conversation among reporters and others who work in the media. I know some of us don’t like to be called the media. I’m not one of them. I’ve been called much worse. So if you want to go with media, I’m fine with that.

Back to the point, social media makes it possible for a government entity or a sports franchise or any other business to tell its story the way it wants to and potentially have just as much impact as any business whose core mission is covering a city as a news organization. You don’t have to own a press and buy ink by the barrel anymore and social media isn’t just for media.

The genie is out of the bottle -- has been for quite a while in which many of us in print tried to make believe social media didn't exist. The specific change with Grind City Media and similar efforts is that institutions aren't calling a press conference or telling a certain media outlet when they make a big announcement. It doesn't mean we don't cover what's happened. It means there's not always an announcement to cover. And what has happened and the announcement of what has happened have never been the same thing.

Andy Meek wrote about this in a recent cover story in The Memphis News that looked at how Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has gone about this during his nine-months on the top floor at City Hall.

On our part, you may have noticed that we now have a sports section in our online edition that takes a statewide view of sports – it includes UT in Knoxville, the Titans in Nashville and the Grizz and Tiger basketball and football here in Memphis. That is a result of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. now having a statewide network that includes newspapers in all of those cities as well as the recent addition of Chattanooga. And we plan on continuing our sports coverage as well as all of the other coverage we’ve built.

Adweek with a different take on the MLK jerseys unveiled by the Grizz earlier this month. You may remember that a Deadspin column was critical not only of the jerseys but of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Next week in Memphis, there will be a town hall meeting you are all invited to with the provocative title “How to Leave Your Car at Home.” If you don’t think that is provocative, you don’t know Memphis. And it is going to be held at High Cotton Brewing, which makes and serves beer.

All kidding aside, the parking question and efforts to change our long-held tendency to want to park our very own car as close to the door of where we are going face an uphill battle. The Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Innovate Memphis are bringing in a trio of national experts to take a crack specifically at a different approach to parking and public transit in the medical center area, part of an urban core in which there are 270 acres of surface parking lots.

The cubicle isn’t dead in the Memphis office market. It’s still around along with the overhaul of office space to account for the need for larger offices. Madeline Faber looks at the evolution of office space in Memphis in her cover story for our weekly, The Memphis News.

And while the Silicon Valley office environment has become a cliché of sorts, we found that the open floor plan with low or no barriers between desks also has its drawbacks. If you are looking for the crest of the local trend, you will probably see it when ServiceMaster completes its move into Peabody Place, a move that is all about a better office environment and is so extensive that you are going to be avoiding that left lane on Second Street south of Union Avenue for a bit longer.

The July 2015 fatal shooting of Darrius Stewart in Hickory Hill by Memphis Police officer Connor Schilling is the focus of this week’s Law School for Journalists event by the Memphis Bar Association.

The Memphis News Almanac: George Strait and Faith Hill come to town, McRae nominated for the federal bench, the Tigers play Ole Miss to a draw and the rise of Claude Armour.

MORTGAGES 54 374 1,120
BUILDING PERMITS 177 767 2,425