I just heard the devastating news that Scripps has decided to pull the plug on Knoxville’s alternative weekly paper, the Metro Pulse, after the issue that hits the stands today. Since August 1991, the Metro Pulse has been this area’s essential and quite successful community voice for the arts, entertainment, political opinion, and thoughtful questioning of local and state government. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, we need all the thoughtful local opinion and editorial commentary we can get.
And Knoxville is now risking the silencing of a talented group of writers that include: Jack Neely, Coury Turczyn, Paige Huntoon, Frank Cagle, Joe Sullivan, Donna Johnson, and all the other thought-provoking writers and contributors who have given our city the community voice it desperately needs. In all, 23 staff are being laid off and WBIR-TV is reporting that the Metro Pulse staff have been told not to speak to the local media or they will risk losing their severance packages. Unconscionable, Scripps, who touts itself as being in the information business. What a low blow to lay off the independent voice of Knoxville with no warning. It will be interesting to see how the Knoxville News Sentinel, also owned by Scripps, reports this story.
Everyone who cares about the Knoxville community having a vehicle for intelligent thought, please brainstorm with me some ideas about how we can save our weekly paper. My early thoughts: a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds perhaps backed by a group of angel investors. There must be a solution to ensure that Knoxville continues to have the independent voice we have enjoyed for the last 23 years. We have some extraordinary talent on the Metro Pulse staff, so let’s not lose them to this short-sighted thinking on the part of Scripps.
Sadly any reincarnated alternative paper would need to change its name since I’m told Scripps will not allow the use of the weekly’s name, Metro Pulse. I am not sure why they are taking this stance since they did not start the paper 23 years ago. Our alternative paper’s identity really should belong to Knoxville not to a corporation that has shown how little it regards this city, or any city, in its grasping for the highest profit margin. Perhaps the new weekly could be called Metro Voice, Knox Vox, but whatever it’s called, I can’t imagine living without my weekly fix of intelligent reporting.
Sooooo, please share your thoughts, friends who care about Knoxville’s future. And let the Pulse staff know how much you appreciate them and hope they will stick around for whatever we hope can happen next.
Anna // 10/16/2014
Reporting on my iPad, so please forgive any mistakes, kind readers!