'City Paper' to close Aug. 9

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 9:55am

After 13 years, The City Paper will cease operations with the publication of its Friday, Aug. 9, issue.

Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm, made the announcement to employees this morning.

"In the last few days, we made the difficult decision to stop publishing The City Paper," he said. "After years of being subsidized by our investors and other Southcomm publications, we finally determined that there was not enough advertiser support for the free newsweekly model we were trying to sustain. The model proved very popular with readers, but in publishing the revenue doesn't necessarily follow the readership."

Ferrell said that the tough climate for advertising dollars made having multiple news properties extremely difficult, particularly a general interest publication like The City Paper. A portion of the staff will be laid off while others will be redeployed to other SouthComm publications.

"Going forward we will be merging some of our editorial resources into our profitable publications in Nashville in an effort to make them even stronger," Ferrell said. "You will see some of the names you have grown familiar with in The City Paper in the masthead of the Nashville Scene and Nashville Post. Both publications will expand their news coverage to fill the gap left by the closing of The City Paper. David Boclair will continue his coverage of Nashville sports, for example."

City Paper Editor Steve Cavendish expressed pride in the paper's performance.

"I cannot say enough about the job this staff has done in covering Nashville," he said. "We punched above our weight, told a lot of interesting stories, and held officials and institutions accountable. This city is a better place when you have more professional journalists covering it and I'm sorry we won't continue as a publication."

The City Paper launched as a free Monday-Friday publication in November 2000. Founded by Brian Brown with a local ownership group, the paper continued as a daily for most of the decade. After SouthComm — owner of the Scene, Post, nFocus and other publications — purchased the paper from the Thompson family in 2008, frequency was eventually shifted to a weekly basis.

"Many of us have regularly contributed to — and at times had to confront head on — the continuing evolution of the media industry, but that doesn't make days like today any easier," said Post Editor Geert De Lombaerde. "Looking ahead, the changes we're making to the Post and the Scene will make both publications more robust. We will work harder than ever to earn the trust of our consumers and advertisers."

55 Comments on this post:

By: Kelliente on 7/24/13 at 8:15

Without the City Paper, who are we supposed to rely on for unbiased, thorough local news coverage? The Tennesseean? What a joke.

I'm glad they're sending some of the staff to The Post and The Scene, both respectable publications in their own right... But they're not The City Paper.

This is a very short-sighted decision on the part of Southcomm. The blame rests solely with them for not being able to properly manage the paper or figure out a way to make it profitable, because the quality of the reporting and art direction were superb.

This is a sad day.

By: Nashvols111 on 7/24/13 at 8:34

I am saddened to hear this. Now we have to rely on the joke called "The Tennessean"

By: Miata_Man on 7/24/13 at 8:45

I'm was very saddened when I read this. I have read and enjoyed The City Paper since Day one (I still have a copy of that first edition tucked away somewhere). Even though I moved away from Nashville a few years ago, I still read the paper almost daily to keep up with what's going on in your great city. Seems like Nashville should be strong enough to support such a product, but let's face it, publishing in general has been a tough business model for several years now. Good luck to the entire staff, and I will still read William William's blog on a regular basis.

By: PKVol on 7/24/13 at 8:50

Where the real shame happened is when the editorial slant became more in line with The Tennessean and away from its original position as an opposing view. After that happened, there was little distinction between the two. The City Paper did offer another viewpoint and was well written and often offered more in-depth coverage, but not enough to really warrant a difference.

I am also left to wonder is the erosion of advertiser is in response to some of the people who often commented on stories and their desire to not associate themselves with people with such a hateful attitude. Advertisers are only interested in reaching people that will benefit the business, without that, why throw their money away?

As The City Paper did after the demise of the Nashville Banner, hopefully someone will step up to offer an additional outlet for local reporting to rival The Tennessean. Having only one outlet, does a city, nor its citizens any good. Without competition, The Tennessean will become an even worse publication.

By: BigPapa on 7/24/13 at 9:08

What will the 4-5 idiots that post on here do now?
Daily they have the same debate, guess they'll have to facebook each other so they can still have their on-line fights.

By: Landry on 7/24/13 at 9:18


I know that was a difficult decision to make. Is there any way that City Paper can continue to exist online-only?

Best wishes to you and the staff during this transition.

By: airvols on 7/24/13 at 9:20

This will be a sad day for Nashville. This is the only source that delivers local news and city development to those of us who long for that type news. I always looked forward to reading about the future projects and announced plans by developers and government. The cookie cutter papers just reprint what you heard the day before on the TV. You served the community well!

By: jwk6179 on 7/24/13 at 9:30

What will the 4-5 idiots that post on here do now?
Daily they have the same debate, guess they'll have to facebook each other so they can still have their on-line fights.

But they can't hide behind their on-screen name on facebook like they can on here. On Facebook, the Tennessean and a lot of other message boards that require a facebook log-in, they have to use their real names and a picture to post and will they be willing to say some of the things they have said on-line if everyone knows who you are and what you look like? I know I am guilty of saying things to posters on this site because of the anonymity this site has, whereas I wouldn't have said some of the things I have stated in the pass if I were posting under my real name.

By: joe41 on 7/24/13 at 9:34

I refuse to pay for the Tennessean's online rates so I will resort to the Memphis and Knoxville papers for Nashville news.


By: Nashvols111 on 7/24/13 at 9:36

They wouldn't use Facebook because those users are posers.

By: capt4chris on 7/24/13 at 9:43

Wow, this is very sad! I can't believe they would do this.

By: yogiman on 7/24/13 at 9:47

That is a difference between us, jwk6179. Why do you want to hide your identity on your beliefs?

I "say it like it is", and my name is well known to the readers after I submitted a LTE.

I hate to see NCP go. It was pretty much an "open door" policy they allowed the posters.

I hope they, and their employees, have a great future.

By: Jughead on 7/24/13 at 9:51

Sad to see it go, glad to see the liberal morons who post on this site all day silenced.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 9:54

I hate to see this happen. I have grown to like some of the people on this site and to despise a few extremist. I am like that I took the chance to meet some of the posters here and I hope to continue to communicate on line and in person, with them in the future.

I want to thank the City People for the 13 years and this opportunity, to express my thoughts.

By: jwk6179 on 7/24/13 at 9:59

But there are A LOT OF PEOPLE on here and other web-site that say a lot of assanine things that they wouldn't be so willing to say on-line if they used their real names. And I have had a poster or two that posted some of my personal information on here, after they found my Facebook page and was using that against me. And where is this LTE you speak of, because I have no idea who Yogiman is?

By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 10:02

By: yogiman on 7/24/13 at 10:47
That is a difference between us, jwk6179. Why do you want to hide your identity on your beliefs?

I "say it like it is", and my name is well known to the readers after I submitted a LTE.
I hate to see NCP go. It was pretty much an "open door" policy they allowed the posters.

I hope they, and their employees, have a great future.

So your full name is yogiman the village idiot. LOL Br brave and tell thoes

Now why don’t you be brave and tell the people that don’t know you yogiman.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 10:03

By: Jughead on 7/24/13 at 10:51
Sad to see it go, glad to see the liberal morons who post on this site all day silenced.

The flea will have to infest some other site now.

By: Libertine on 7/24/13 at 10:05

The City Paper did have some interesting local news and local interest articles that I enjoyed.

It was left leaning and the the urban focus may have hurt advertising. Providing space for obnoxious blogs like Pith in the Wind definitely drove away advertisers.

Fewer news outlets is always bad news.

I like the open comments, but most posters were only interested in insulting others not actually discussing issues.

All in all I hate to see it go.

By: MamaG on 7/24/13 at 10:08

I, too, have been a faithful reader of the CP since its inception. I have been a regular poster on these boards since 2003 or 2004 also. Like the rest of you, I am sad to see this happen to our beloved paper.
Best of luck to the entire staff.

By: Jughead on 7/24/13 at 10:22


By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 10:24

jughead no balls

By: brrrrk on 7/24/13 at 10:32

While I'm sad to see it go, the demise of the City Paper can be laid at the feet of those running it... especially since it was decided to limit it to primarily an online paper. In the online world content (including the content of it's forums) means everything, and the CP did nothing to insure that the content was palatable to advertisers; especially when you consider that many of the advertisers were national in nature.

By: Rocket99 on 7/24/13 at 10:40

What will Jughead do? He obviously watches Faux News 24/7 and believes every word they spew.

By: pswindle on 7/24/13 at 10:46

What about keeping the on-line version?

By: barbara6182 on 7/24/13 at 10:50

Do not worry about Southcom. Nashville Scene is next to close door. This trashy tabloid is an evil of journalism.
It is trashy, manipulative, falsifies the truth, hires certain journalists who are on take and clueless in truth in reporting.

Let us not advertise in this trashy tabloid and send them to bankruptcy court.

By: govskeptic on 7/24/13 at 11:02

Does this mean Michael Burch won't get his editorial stipends any longer, or
just add them to some of the other publications? More seriously, it's too bad
this publication is ceasing operation, as this like all cities, need more not less
in the way of local news. The TV stations are down to 3 or 4 local stories at
most with the rest being mainly entertainment, weather, traffic, and sports.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 11:03

I thought this was about City Paper and not FOX NEWS.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/24/13 at 11:05

Going to miss seeing you gov. It has been fun.

By: Balo on 7/24/13 at 12:17

Good run. It's OK. Remember the Yankees traded Babe Ruth.

By: jasonweaver on 7/24/13 at 12:26

Going to weekly then buying the Scene doomed the City Paper. When Southcomm bought the Scene, they should have been merged. But the biggest issue is people believe they have a right to free news. Therefore, media MUST rely on advertisers who have never supported newspapers for altruistic reasons.

By: courier37027 on 7/24/13 at 12:56

Hate to see this happen. Enjoyed the fun and spirited barbs with all you posters.

By: dargent7 on 7/24/13 at 1:15

Sad, but this is the way of most newspapers. The bs article doesn't say whether they'll keep the On-Line version...I doubt it.
With jack-asses like Jughead's vugarity, I'm glad they shut it down.
Needed an On-Line monitor to ban ass-holes.
Oh, well, there's just now The Tennessean and Facebook...I know some think it's Big Brother but it's all there is.

By: brrrrk on 7/24/13 at 1:37

dargent7 said on 7/24/13 at 2:15

"With jack-asses like Jughead's vugarity, I'm glad they shut it down."

I implored the NCP several times to restore civility to the forums and do something about Jughead but was told that even though they didn't approve of Jugheads posts, they couldn't do anything to ban him from the site.

I work in IT, I know bull when I hear it.....

That's why I suggested that the NCP passively approved of Jugheads comments...

By: Rocket99 on 7/24/13 at 2:01

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And because NCP is not a government entity, they can prohibit any speech they want. They could have blocked Jughead or anyone else if they had so chosen.

By: BigPapa on 7/24/13 at 2:14

Well you always had Loner there to flame away, his favorite troll bait being the south and /or the gop.
Dude should write headlines for a blog or slate or something. He has a knack for making outrageous statements, his headlines would generate clicks.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 7/24/13 at 3:41

This is a terrible day. I read the paper every day for 13 years. I subscribe to the Tennessean but it's terrible, I scold myself every time I pay the incredibly overpriced rate. This was the cheapest therapy there was. I will miss all the usual suspects your partisan leanings, your sometimes out of left field comments, I will admit that I was usually put off by Yogiman's & "pick-a-liberal" fights but all in all I had developed a sense of attachment and fondness for the whole group. I hope that in someway The City Paper can continue. In a city as large as Nashville there has to be someone who has a desire to see the truth shine through and the ability to make a publication that will appeal to advertisers. Caio, fellow truth seekers & daredevils may we meet again on the other side!

By: blitz on 7/24/13 at 6:46


You're killing the wrong publication. I predict a follow up within 6 months. Change the advertising model completely, and stop trying to use the same clients every week. Rotate them out so clients only need to pay a small sum. If any publication needs to die, it should be the scene. That paper used to be so good, and that rag is useless

By: blitz on 7/24/13 at 6:55

Chris - are you really going to let two of Nashville's great modern papers die? You all did a nice job with the NCP although I miss some of the syndicated columns it used to have. Likewise with The Scene, but that paper fell from grace long before Southcomm came into the picture.

Right the ship and just kill the scene which is in a sickly state anyway.

By: StacyHarris on 7/24/13 at 8:14

Apparently this is old news to the folks at 1100 Broadway. I've been trying to renew my subscription to THE TENNESSEAN well in advance of its expiration- just to make sure THAT print publication stays in business- and they won't take my money. (I anticipate a price increase and what I'm paying now- and what I've been paying sometime for my Monday-Sunday subscription- is well below the going rate.)
With no more competition, no more "Let's make a deal" TENNESSEAN subscriptions...

The City Paper's path toward unsustainability began when it ceased delivery to all but those areas of town that were supposedly frequented by the desired demographic. Even then there was an obvious disconnect between the desired demographic and City Paper advertisers because the noose tightened as the City Paper became a weekly and cut distribution even further.

Readers who wanted access to the print edition were told by the paper's circulation department to "read it online."

I only did so as a last resort- and even then never on a regular (weekly) basis.

Perhaps adding CP staffers to the NASHVILLE SCENE will beef up that weekly; a mere skeleton of its once hefty, media-savvy and investigative self. (Sorry, sports writing does not excite me. I don't follow sports and if budgeting that position costs a news publication investigative coverage...)

But if I wrote for either paper now (I wrote the NS's first cover story and my work appeared there infrequently thereafter) I'd be updating my résumé. (I was surprised when Southcomm bought MUSIC ROW. Not surprised at all when it sold MR.)

Journalists who want job security must secure their own.

Stacy Harris
Publisher//Executive Editor/Media Critic
Stacy's Music Row Report

By: GoodieTwoShoes on 7/24/13 at 10:21

I looked forward to this paper. Especially during election season. It would be nice if it still had an on-line presence. It would be nice to have some balance in reporting in this town.

By: st8of10ec on 7/25/13 at 7:18

I hate to hear this!The City Paper was where I came to get the real news in Nashville & it's demise will leave us with nothing but the slanted,biased reporting of The Tennessean.You will be missed by those of us that followed your stories.

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 7/25/13 at 7:41

We are sorry to hear that the City Paper will be discontinued. It will be quite a loss to Nashville's access to information.

By: PKVol on 7/25/13 at 7:42

I'm sure the on-line only version is not feasible as it takes nearly as many resources (money) to gather information and write the story for on-line content as it does to also print and distribute (especially considering how few copies are printed and distributed).

I don't know the numbers as it relates to how many online readers there were, but obviously, they weren't enough to generate the ad revenue needed to support the staff of writers, editors and support personnel.

By: ohplease on 7/25/13 at 8:07

The City Paper will really be missed. It has been a great source for local news. Many thanks to the investors who have subsidized its publication.

By: girliegirl on 7/25/13 at 8:17

Wow....I'm still wearing my shocked face over the comment that folks read The Scene! LOL I thought it was only used for bird cages and puppy training papers.

Chris will land another great position. Ya can't keep a good man down, even if you disagree with him on occasion. I wish you my best, Chris Ferrell.

By: bfra on 7/25/13 at 8:39

I really do hate to hear of the City Paper shutting down. This is where you could get the newest & most accurate news. City Paper & crew, you will be missed.

By: Left-of-Local on 7/25/13 at 9:13

TERRIBLE news. The state of local journalism is already in the shitter. With nothing but the Gannett delivering information, the people LOSE BIG.

Perhaps the Scene and Post can fill the gap, but if you guys will have the same folks writing for them, why no MAKE AN ONLINE-ONLY EFFORT at things?

By: NewYorker1 on 7/25/13 at 10:16

OH NO!!! What will I wear to the closing? Fendi, Gucci, or Prada?

By: Sylvan Park on 7/25/13 at 11:03

Sylvan Park

We will miss you. All of Nahville will miss you. All the best to everyone who has worked to make the city paper such a great read.

By: pswindle on 7/25/13 at 11:15

Please someone step forward and buy this paper! It is the best that Nashville has to offer.