Thursday, March 29, 2001

The new free daily nobody is talking about

One of the most exciting free dailies in the U.S. is in Nashville. The City Paper (that's it's name) launched last November with 17 full-time news staffers and a daily circulation of 40,000. It is taking on Nashville's big daily, The Tennessean, with a daily circulation of 186,793 and 260,733 on Sundays. The Tennessean, owned by Gannett, has not faced daily competition since the Nashville Banner closed on Feb. 20, 1998 with a circulation of 40,633.

The City Paper is being financed by a local computer software entrepreneur, Brian Brown, who has no previous newspaper experience. However, every member of his newsroom staff has worked at other dailies, many at The Tennessean.

Nationally, there's been no coverage that I can find of the launch of The City Paper. I found a few local stories in Nashville (which form the basis of this posting), but the media that has written so much about Metro International's launches in North America has ignored The City Paper.

While The Tennessean sees itself as a regional paper, and it carries a lot of national news as well, The City Paper is much more local. "News as it hits your neighborhood, not as it hits the City Council agenda. We're trying to carve our own niche," Catherine Mayhew, City Paper executive editor, told the trade publication Brandweek. Brandweek is one of the few places where I found any information about The City Paper. The quote above is from its February 5 issue.