10 years of CP

Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 8:45pm
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In 10 years, The City Paper has been through seven cover designs, three full-time editors, four interim editors, four art directors and seven page designers, more than 30 section editors, and at least 75 writers and photographers. If quantity counted for everything, we’d be competing with The Tennessean on more fronts than just the news.

CP has also been rather prolific in its form: We’ve gone from a daily newspaper printed on actual newsprint, to a bi-weekly media equivalent of a frog with a tail, to a Monday and Thursday glossy magazine that alternated between news and culture, and now to a Monday-only newsmagazine. We’ve maintained a website that features capsules of daily news from around the city and state.

It’s an evolution that I believe predicts what will happen with daily newspapers in the coming decade: As revenues continue to decline, major costs like printing and delivery will finally make the long, slow march to the guillotine. Dailies will restrict their run-of-the-mill coverage to the web and re-classify their print editions as unique, hyperlocal items that come out less frequently — maybe three times a week at first. More focus will be given to in-depth reporting, broader context and good narrative writing. Those are the kinds of things that give readers a reason to sit down with a magazine and spend some time reading.

So that’s one idea.

The other is that these media conglomerates continue to miss the point, which is that they’re not making the rules anymore. Consumers are.

This summer, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported an increase in news consumption among Americans. Digital platforms are making up for the decline in consumption of traditional news sources like the newspaper, television and radio, and news gobbling has returned to the squawking-modem levels of the mid-1990s. Rather than giving up traditional forms, however, consumers of the news are supplementing them with new digital things: websites, iPads/Pods/Phones, Droids, HTC Incredibles, BlackBerry Bolds — you know the drill.

That’s good news for everyone in this business, regardless of format, for one key reason: It reminds of the value of the news at a time when cynicism about even the most fundamental reporting is high and people with opposing political views cannot so much as agree on basic facts.

But it also reminds that we must be nimble and agile as everything around us continues to shapeshift. That’s what we’re going for here, and sometimes I think we even get there. I certainly believe we give readers something they get nowhere else, and that’s the goal.

I’m happy and honored to help usher The City Paper into a new decade of existence. In the coming pages, you’ll find a little bit about our genesis, some well-intentioned criticism from a person you’ll probably remember, a word from the only person whose name has been on the masthead the whole decade, and our collection of Top 10s — 15 different lists taking you back through the last decade of this weird little life we have in Nashville. Over the next few days, check our website for a look back through the last decade. 

We hope you enjoy. We certainly have — all of us.

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7 Comments on this post:

By: Redactor on 11/1/10 at 12:09

I can't think of The City Paper as having, in your words, evolved. I can only think of it as having de-evolved. So much has been lost over the years: a daily print edition, top reporters, comics, and most of all, the original focus and intent of the newspaper. It has moved from an alternative to the Tennessean in news compettion and editorial stance, to an alternative weekly kid sister for the The Scene. To celebrate a tenth anniversary as though this is the same product it once was is a sham; it's like celebrating a tenth wedding anniversary with your current spouse because it's the total number of years you've been married including former spouses.

By: TITAN1 on 11/1/10 at 8:02

I for one enjoy your paper and give you props on a job well done. You can't please everyone and there are some you will never please. One of their vital signs is to complain about anything and everything. Thank you, NCP!

By: dargent7 on 11/1/10 at 8:23

TCP is a welcome site on Monday. Glossy, professional, topical, relevant issues to Nashville.
Why you are ommitting the "Letters to the Editor" section is a mistake.
You run one LTE on Monday, though not today, and it runs all week.
One?
The Tennessean runs 7 a day, 7 days a week.
I cannot be that hard to do.
Hire a typist.

By: PKVol on 11/1/10 at 9:30

I agree with Redactor in many of his / her points. The CP was a welcome change from the liberal slant of The Tennessean when it arrived 10 years ago following the demise of The Banner. Now it is just a repeater for The Tennessean and its stance. I guess if two yell loud enough in unison, it figures to be more effective than either yelling its own mantra against each other.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 11/1/10 at 12:24

I enjoy the City Paper also. but I think you have missed a glaring opportunity to take up the investigating reporting mantra that the Scene enjoyed for a few years. Take the establishment to task CP! Don't be the Mayors lapdog. Question everything and everyone, don't take no or silence for an answer. Don't agree with the Tennessean, espouse the opposite view, if for no other reason than to foster debate. Try not to align yourselves with any political viewpoint, be fiercely independent and somewhat of a contrairion. Good luck and dargent7 is right, put a different letter in every day. If you don't have a good one, make one up.

By: 742180 on 11/2/10 at 8:19

Pound your own drum!! Man, media loves itself! Media from all sources seem to feel that they are 'serving mankind' so whatever they print and however they deliver that content that they are above critique.

The City Paper has evolved into just another liberal slanted rag. Why I continue to read it, I don't know. When CP bought the Scene, I applauded that and had hoped that the CP would influence the Scene content and delivery, but just the opposite occured.

The Scene is an obscene, self centered, almost worthless media, and unfortunately the CP has been infected by association. Who is your market? Whats your demographic? The buying power of that demographic is 'way' over inflated. Big mistake by CP/Scene.

Scene insists upon inserting an F-Bomb, or two, in every edition and seems to think that this connects them to their market. What it really does is connect them to a segment with little or no buying power and alienate the segment with the most disposable income.

Try this. Start charging for either CP or Scene and you will get a real read on the worth of your papers, and just how misdirected your papers are marketed.

By: localboy on 11/2/10 at 9:22

"If you don't have a good one, make one up." I thought they already did.
Good posts, redactor and judyboodo.