Hearing that there are layoffs at KNS and possibly other Scripps papers. Anybody else hearing anything?

UPDATE: Metro Pulse tweets that the current issue is their last and all employees have been laid off.

UPDATE: News Sentinel layoffs include Metro Pulse staff

The News Sentinel today announced that it was laying off 23 employees, including the staff of Metro Pulse, a standalone weekly publication owned by the newspaper.

UPDATE: We are told Shopper News is not affected.

UPDATE: Rumors of at least three cuts in News Sentinel newsroom.

UPDATE: Sources say KNS metro editor John North was let go. Staff meeting at 4PM, could be more...

Bbeanster's picture

Very sad.My Metro Pulse

Very sad.
My Metro Pulse association started in 1992 when Rand Pearson came to my going-away party after the Journal folded. I'd taken a job covering state politics in Harrisburg Pa. and was fixing to leave town.
But my party (in the upstairs of Hoo-Rays) was so good and so full of people I loved and here was this kid offering me a place at his new semi-weekly that I ditched my new gig and stayed for a good long while.
That fall, a guy named Joe Sullivan took me to lunch at Manhattans and said he was thinking about buying Metro Pulse, and would I come work full time?
Of course I said yes, and over the years, I occasionally did some stuff of which I'm everlastingly proud, and I thank everyone, from Joe to Coury to Ian to Rand who taught me and tolerated me and helped me learn stuff I never would have known otherwise.

I hate it for everybody there. I know exactly how this feels, and it's terrible.

Bbeanster's picture

I'm not aware of any such

I'm not aware of any such effort, but, then, I'm not one who is dialed into those circles.

JMG's picture

NOOOOoooooooo

NOOOOoooooooo

Cameron Taylor's picture

After hearing the news

After hearing the news earlier today, I quickly wrote a letter to the KNS lamenting the loss of this great paper. Since I’m not sure if my target audience would pay for a paper, I’ll post it here instead:

Cultural critic Ann Powers once claimed that Knoxville is Austin without the hype. With a resurgent downtown full of energy and characters, one could see where she was coming from with that bold statement. And the only media that really covered what was going on in Downtown Knoxville was the Metro Pulse, a newspaper this city was blessed to have. However, with the recent discontinuation of this great paper, Knoxville lost a piece of its soul. Knoxville.com is completely different than the Metro Pulse and the two are not interchangeable in the least. Readers of the Metro Pulse don’t care about Celebrity gossip or tonight’s episode of The Biggest Loser. We care about the city we love. With the death of this beloved paper, we no longer have a paper dedicated to what’s going on in our vibrant city. I wish the best to the former staff writers of this paper and I hope you realize your contribution to our city.
***
Hopefully, someone with more experience and talent than me can do something to keep this media avenue going. This excellent team produced memorable content that connected our city for over two decades. I’d also like to point out that they accomplished this profitably.

jbr's picture

I thought the Nashville Scene

I thought the Nashville Scene was owned by Scripps. But it looks like they are an LLC.

City Press LLC.

Potential home for Metropulse?

Nashville Scene - About Us

SouthComm Communications Inc.

Andy Axel's picture

Nashville Scene has never

Nashville Scene has never been a Scripps joint, so far as I know. They were an indie and were consolidated into Village Voice for a while before the SouthComm acquisition.

Tiffany Higgins's picture

Nashville Scene

The Nashville Scene is owned by the once publisher of said paper, Chris Ferrel. He purchased it in 2007 and began his company SouthComm. Since then SouthComm acquired Creative Loafing in Charlotte and Tampa from a hedgefund and a little later, Atlanta CL as well. He also has aquired a few other alt weekly a as well as began some other niche pubs in several locals. Just throwing in a little FYI... I know nothing to do with our beloved MP. However, the same could be done in Knoxville. I doubt Scripps would be willing to sell the MP brand but nothing wrong with changing the name...

Hildegard's picture

Apart from the horrible

Apart from the horrible judgment in terminating this publication (which I understand actually was profitable and which was a nationally award-winning, prestigious credit to Knoxville) - What is up with this Game of Thrones Red Wedding style of slaughtering entire staffs without notice? Give them a chance to write a farewell or something. That tactic is so disrespectful, so brutal and dishonorable. I honestly wonder if there is a decent person in any position of authority at KNS.

The times are hard. And corporations make them harder on real people but this isn't just on Scripps. KNS is taking responsibility for this decision. This is pure venality. The notion that that pathetic web site can compensate for the loss of talent like Cari, Jack, Matthew is particularly galling....You really start to understand how far we have not come as a region when it comes to any appreciation for progress, independent thought and cultivation since H.L. Mencken labeled East Tennessee the Sahara of the Bozart*. Metro Pulse tried to save us from that, but there is no escape from a desert so vast its flagship daily paper's concept of a thing's whole value is smaller than its profit margin.

*Bozart is how you spell "beaux arts" at Scripps.

ASummers's picture

article quote

Over at wbir.com the last line of their short article about this said, "Metro Pulse employees have been told not to talk to the media or they will not receive their severance". So, who would have told the wbir reporter that?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

My husband lost his job (of nearly 20 years) in a departmental layoff a little over a year ago. This same verbiage was part of his written severance agreement, which all laid-off employees had to sign. My understanding is that it's SOP?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

You can say anything you want about them after you cash the check.

Hildegard's picture

was thinking the same thing

It's been going on for a while, but this really is the BOOM moment when you just knew. But it's the same globally. Like Beci Bolding said recently, "Let's see how bad we can make things before anyone stops us." She was talking about the makers of today's fashion, but that really is the cultural policy of every contemporary business or government entity I can think of.

Anonymouse's picture

Devastating for the city.

Devastating for the city. Yeah, we've made progress, but we have so far to go. I hope someone can find jobs for Neely and co. I'm just a dumb 20-something, but I've read it weekly for a good ten years and it's no small part of the reason I practically live downtown.

God, and to think most of the locals will say "good riddance, liberal rag."

Best to all the staff.

Rachel's picture

Damn. This news just turned

Damn. This news just turned a bad day much, much worse. Although I've kinda been expecting it ever since the KNS took over.

reform4's picture

I knew they NEVER should have sold the paper...

.. assuming they were at least breaking even when it was sold, I don't know. But I knew when they sold to Scripps, it wasn't a matter of if, but a matter of when.

I hope someone either picks it up, or if the name/domain is kept, the same people put together another weekly. Clearly the advertisers are there and there is a need.

Pam Strickland's picture

Scripps owns the name and

Scripps owns the name and domain.

Bad Paper's picture

News Sentinel losing Scripps lighthouse, but light will shine on

(link...)

Remember just a few months ago this was great, "Journal Media Group will be a very healthy corporation. It will have no debt or pension obligations — those stay with Scripps. Its revenue will be about half a billion dollars a year, and it will produce a very solid profit out of that."

You knew that had to be BS.

Jack Mac will crash land another Scripps newspaper. First the Rocky Mountain News. And soon the KNS. They threw the Metro Pulse off the plane first. But why? I believe the Metro Pulse could have been sold. But that would allow a competitor in the market. And that is not how these people roll. This is very selfish. Advertisers and readers should remember this for a long time. Birmingham and McElroy are very bad karma for Knoxville.

Knoxville.com is very different than the Metro Pulse. This will hurt bars and restaurants downtown. It will hurt small clothing stores and coffee shops. Pretty much everything on Market Square that is not a chain. And you can bet that the ad rates for Knoxville.com will be much higher than for the Metro Pulse.

How can the KNS cut three people in the newsroom? Who is left to cut?

The only bright light in this is that people will be encouraged to read the Shopper and the Focus. The only negative, the KNS prints both those papers. And that is the big barrier to a new newspaper starting here to replace the Metro Pulse. When you own the only printing press for miles you control the publishing market.

Does the Daily Times in Maryville still own a printing press?

R. Neal's picture

Believe KNS prints the Daily

Believe KNS prints the Daily Times.

Re. knoxville.com "merger" mentioned in the KNS announcement, someone on twitter said this is not the case, no Metro Pulse employees will be going to knoxville.com.

Stan G's picture

As I Read It ..

the intent is to merge the MP Calendar with the Friday entertainment section of the NS. More work for the reduced NS staff, but the possibility of more advertising revenue from local venues.

reform4's picture

Yeah because we know all those UT students and young urbanites

are all subscribers to KNS.

Stan G's picture

I Suggest You Take It Up with the News-Sentinel

In response to Randy, I was referring to the following statement as reported by the News Sentinel staff:

Metro Pulse will be merged with Knoxville.com, the paper’s Friday entertainment section, to create a new, comprehensive guide to activities in the metro area.

unknown poster's picture

KNS kept the Sales manager

KNS kept the Sales manager from MP.

fischbobber's picture

There you go......

I'm shocked that they're more concerned with ad sales than editorial and journalistic content. Shocked I say.

jbr's picture

Folks could extrapolate a lot

Folks could extrapolate a lot from that.

Bad Paper's picture

.

If that is Kevin, that is a good save for KNS. But not even he can turn knoxville.com into Metro Pulse. Shouldn't have run off the talent. A great sales manager can only do so much. You have to have a product.

Frank Cagle made a statement today on the Gene Patterson show that half the desks at the KNS are empty. Taxpayers really got screwed with that KNS PILOT. Half the desks. The biggest lie ever. KNS should have kept the Metro Pulse open to honor that PILOT they lied on. Like the other Pilot, they screw their customers.

Would love to know who wrote that KNS PILOT. Would love to know if they are still writing TIF's now. That is something the Metro Pulse would report. But not now.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Don't know if it's an issue or not but Bad Paper, who claims to have a copy of the PILOT expired in 2012, says the contract assures "the Project will also permit the City to retain approximately 600 jobs, with a payroll of approximately $21.725 million annually in the City's center city" and he cites just 383 people on that payroll today.

So did KNS/Scripps employ "approximately 600" through 2012?

And if his numbers are right, were these roughly 217 people all laid off in the last year and a half since the PILOT expired?

Maybe so, but it seems like they've been laying people off for years and years now.

Bad Paper's picture

Karma

"So did KNS/Scripps employ "approximately 600" through 2012?"

Not even close. It might be actionable.

If a Brad Mayes, were to step forward;

I think this is still within the statute of limitations to seek remedy. The taxpayers got screwed between 2002 to 2012 on that KNS PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). It isn't any different than when Brad Mayes went after NRR back in the Ragsdale days.

Now that the KNS has killed the Metro Pulse, a White Knight should sue them over the KNS PILOT and the KNS PILOT defaults from 2002. The person that files that lawsuit would get some percentage on the judgement should the ruling go the way of the taxpayers. It is a state law.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

BP seemed to quote extensively from this copy of the PILOT he claims to have, so I'm content to believe he has it.

I don't know, tho, how he could have any authoritative numbers on how many employees KNS has now? Much less on how many employees they had 1 1/2 to 2 years ago, in 2012?

I don't know, either, what state law may say concerning any consequences of an employer reneging on contractual items of this sort.

And even if the employer did renege, who would have standing to file suit, I wonder? Any property tax payer, I guess?

Bad Paper's picture

you can get a copy

You can call WNFZ and go and pick up a copy of the KNS Payment In Lieu of Taxes. Ask for David Thompson at 531-2000. Let's get some eyes on this document.

Bad Paper's picture

Were there ever 600 KNS employees?

"And if his numbers are right, were these roughly 217 people all laid off in the last year and a half since the PILOT expired?"

The Payment In Lieu of Taxes required 600 employees. I do not know that the Sentinel ever had that many. Frank Cagle said on the Gene Patterson show Sunday "half the desks at the KNS are empty now".

A 6% layoff of 23 people means 360 KNS employees today. What the peak level in the PILOT years were, I don't know. If anyone does know please share that.

On the Rude Awakening this morning Mike Howard reviewed the KNS PILOT. For the years 2002 to 2012 the KNS was abated property taxes of $406,700 a year. Was there $4.067 million dollars of good done for taxpayers? I don't think so. I think we were ripped off big time.

I don't know what state law Brad Mayes used with NRR. But someone should be able to sue and get some tax money from the KNS. If they do and are successful, they would make money. If I recall, it is around 15%.

Here is the radio show from this morning:

(link...)

The KNS PILOT discussion starts about minute five. It is very revealing. Mike Howard says if the KNS didn't live up to the PILOT they should pay back some taxes. I agree. The other Pilot had to repay their customers. Why not?

cwg's picture

Go away #9. Stop trying to

Go away #9. Stop trying to turn our (and some great KNS employees) tragedy into some stupid made-up trolling bullshit.

Everyone else, for the love of god or the Vols or whatever you hold most sacred, please, if you ever loved Metro Pulse, just ignore #9 as if he was Stacey Campfield. Nothing he posts is sincere; it all has an agenda behind it; and also he's just the worst.

Bad Paper's picture

Y'all

How would you know? Listen to the radio podcast yesterday? Ever seen the KNS PILOT? Y'all are so transparent. You're just afraid it will get in the hands of someone like Tamara. Or Brad Mayes. Someone that will dig for the story. Someone not like Y'all.

cafkia's picture

My sympathies go to all of

My sympathies go to all of those who put far more into that paper than shows up in the print.

OTOH, Randy, perhaps you might consider hosting a new blog. Pick those former MP writers that would agree to do so and provide them with a coherent and consistent place to publish news and opinion. Only they (and you) can post but anyone reasonably civil can comment.

just a thought.

MurryK's picture

What an idea

Maybe blog readers could donate a nickel each so that the erstwhile MP writers could eat one good a meal a week to fuel their muse.

R. Neal's picture

They are all welcome to post

They are all welcome to post here any time. As for a new blog, it's an interesting idea but they are pretty smart and could do that without my help. Of course I'd be glad to lend a hand if they wanted. Not sure they can make a living with a local online paper, though.

Bob Woodward's picture

blogs v reporting

Despite what everyone seems to think, reporters actually have to make a living. Offering up a new blog where local reporters can post things for free won't cut it.

Just because anybody can buy a cheap guitar and play a few chords, they think asking musicians to play free "for the exposure" isn't a kick in the gonads.

Just because you can set up a blog for a few bucks, you think reporters can cover the local scene for nothing? Any amateur can pop online and share an opinion or tell the world what they saw. That's not professional reporting, and shouldn't be confused with it. That's just kicking professional writers and reporters in the nuts.

CE Petro's picture

Feeding the squirrels

That show's exactly how much you know -- nothing. Many blogs have fundraisers specifically in order to pay their reporters, particularly to pay their reporters to cover very specific topics that their readers are interested in.

Of course, those are blogs that are not for the low-information reader, Knoxviews being among them. I would pay Knoxviews to pay reporters before paying to read talking points posted by and printed by the KNS. Just saying.

Bob Woodward's picture

Well,

That ain't what was described above.

Just saying.

Pam Strickland's picture

Thanks for saying this. It

Thanks for saying this. It really irritates me when people think a blog can replace a paper. Journalists have to pay the rent too.

Rachel's picture

Anybody else notice that

Anybody else notice that comments are disabled on the KNS announcement story? Wow, that's really chicken***t.

R. Neal's picture

Readers can always direct

Readers can always direct their comments to Patrick Birmingham: publisher@knoxnews.com

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

Bad Paper is right on the money about selling and competing

Scripps is already in the toilet and to sell the MetroPulse and then have to turn right around and compete with the weekly would be short term gain and long term pain.

Ad rates, particularly classifieds, are so bad at KNS that the obscure weekly like the Focus is now picking up foreclosure, estate, and other legal type notices that were once the hallmark and cash cow of the big daily. Not any more.

There is enough newspaper/community paper talent laying around right now to basically assemble a local newspaper from scratch. Problem is the printing process, the capital requirement and the necessary ad dollars to sprinkle in there from time to time.

Hate that they sold the Pulse to the dark side several years ago, but that was then and this is now and a quiet but well written and informed voice has been silenced, possibly for good.

Mike Knapp's picture

*

Absolute tragedy beyond comprehension. Consolidate, cut labor costs and liquidate key assets to maintain profits and balance sheets for shareholders. Community is irrelevant. This is when the market fundamentalists will remind us that those jobs will be reabsorbed and that people will move on. As usual this has been shown as incorrect, but that has not been shown to matter. Unfortunately good journalism, sort of like good teaching and good health care, is not something that can be shipped off to the lowest common denominator labor pool. As has been shown in the labor statistics these jobs aren't coming back. Instead people get re-employed at lower pay scales. On and on the US working class swirls the drain.
My heart goes out to CWG, Jack and all the other good people over there as it does over the fact that the inkling of progressive media in this town is for now an afterthought. That said here's to some hell raising, journalists, perhaps with labor unions, environmentalists, and other progressive types on starting their own damn paper. Get it printed at the daily times or someplace. I'll buy subscriptions, hell I'll buy an ad. Call what the hellbender press why not.

R. Neal's picture

They could call it the

They could call it the Knoxville Defibrillator.

Dave Prince's picture

Anyone else find it weird

Anyone else find it weird that EWS shut down Metro Pulse the day early voting starts?

R. Neal's picture

Trying to remember all the

Trying to remember all the great reporters and staff and columnists there over the years. Betty, of course, JFM, Ian, Joe Tarr, Mike Gibson, Jack Neely, Barry Henderson, Matt Edens, Michael Haynes, Coury Turczyn, even Joe Sullivan (who saved it once) and Frank Cagle, who I was agreeing with a lot lately (something wrong with one of us, not sure which). And Scott McNutt (who got screwed by Scripps twice?). And the newer folks like CWG, who, while we've had our differences, did some pretty great work, Paige Huntoon. And of course Rikki's columns. Probably left out a bunch.

Hope the latest victims of corporate cruelty land on their feet somewhere more welcoming and appreciative of their talents.

cafkia's picture

Uh, HELLO!!

Uh, HELLO!!

R. Neal's picture

Oh, yeah, that Dupree guy.

Oh, yeah, that Dupree guy. Told you I'd forget somebody. Even though he is unforgettable. My bad.

stalwartdem's picture

snark alert..

guess thats what happens when they cover one to many democrats!

Knoxgal's picture

Knoxville's star just got a lot dimmer

This is a stunning loss for Knoxville. My heart goes out to anyone who worked there and especially all the great MP reporters. I hope we don't lose you and the talent you have brought us.

Dahlia's picture

Terrible news

My heart goes out to all the people at the MP.

Bad Paper's picture

the latest

They pulled the plug on the Metro Pulse Twitter. Apparently the KNS wants no discussion. However, you can go here: (link...)

From another Tweet, Metro Pulse was profitable, not profitable enough. What does that mean? How do you not sell a profitable paper? Very strange.

Is this the sign the Jimmy H. will get an intent letter from the Feds?

Andy Axel's picture

Tennessean did the same thing

Fired the entire staff and made them reapply for their jobs.

Fired two seasoned prep sports reporters (Chip Cirillo and Mo Patton) and immediately posted vacancies for those positions.

Fired their experienced NHL beat reporter (Josh Cooper) and gave it to Eric Stromgren, a rookie with no discernible acumen in that position.

They let their f/t copy editor go.

They let a veteran photographer go.

Things are so bad there that Peter Cooper, their longtime music columnist, just left on his own two feet and took a job with the Country Music Hall of Fame. The ace political reporter (Chas Sisk) covering the capitol of the state quit over a month ago.

Let this soak in: The state capitol, Music City USA, has one paper that does not have a full time music columnist, does not have a full time political reporter, does not have prep sports coverage worth paying attention to, has an NHL franchise without a competent beat reporter dedicated to it, but IT HAD BEEN TURNING A PROFIT before this "newsroom of the future" adventure began in earnest.

Factchecker's picture

The situation in Nashville

The situation in Nashville does sound even worse, but I do feel bad for the MP staff and loyal readers. Seems like I recall KNS bragging on MP's editorial independence not too long ago. That would be easy to say when you're ready to Don Williams the whole shebang at a moment's notice.

Andy Axel's picture

I guess my point is

that profitability doesn't always figure into the equation.

My concern for KNS is that they almost viewed MP as competition.

And it's hard for KNS to compete with a superior product.

reform4's picture

Some observations:

1. As much as we'd like the existing employees to get on Kickstarter and go after all the old advertisers and start up another independent weekly, odds are this severance deal includes a contract for them not to do that. I would also guess that the more likely candidates to lead such an effort are getting a more generous severance. It would take a very brave person to give them the middle finger and go out on their own, not knowing how many ex-MPs could come with him/her.

(Note that 'non compete' clauses signed at start of employment are virtually impossible to enforce- you can't keep someone from making a living, is the legal argument. You can prevent them from taking confidential information, but can't prevent them from competing. However, a severance package is a contract that two parties agree to, and anything can be agreed to).

2. The payouts are probably over several months, so it's quite possible nobody from MP can say anything about what the agreement actually says for several months. However, we could hope something leaks out.

3. Randy, if I were you, I'd target some of the MP advertisers for banner ads ASAP. Some advertisers don't have a real alternative with KNS, Focus, etc.

4. There may be a point when the non-compete agreements run out and another weekly starts up. But I suspect the agreements are going to be long enough so as to make that difficult. It would be easier to pick up those 90% of those advertisers in the next week or two. It will be more difficult to get 60% of them 6 months from now.

Still, a Kickstarter could put up a goal and see what happens.

Holler-Dweller's picture

Man this sucks balls. Best

Man this sucks balls. Best of luck to all the MPers. Hopefully some of the staff will be able to stick around Knoxpatch.

KatieAllison's picture

Knoxville Phoenix, anyone?

If anyone decides to try to hoist something new out of the ashes here, I'd love to help.

-Katie

Bbeanster's picture

Lots of brave discussions

Lots of brave discussions ensued after the Journal folded, but the money is a deal-breaker. It's EXPENSIVE to meet a payroll, print and distribute. We needed an angel, but none stepped up. Finally Joe Sullivan, who'd gotten interested in being a partner in the Journal back when Dwight Kessel and some of his friends were thinking about taking it over, stepped in.

I know I've said this over and over again, but Metro Pulse would never have gotten off the ground without Joe, and he sacrificed huge chunks of his net worth to keep it afloat for those many years.

Rachel's picture

I'm happy to see somebody

I'm happy to see somebody acknowledge Joe Sullivan. Without him, MP would have folded long ago. This community owes him a large debt of gratitude.

R. Neal's picture

Rikki Hall actually tried to

Rikki Hall actually tried to get something like that going here locally. I went to a couple of meetings with him and some other known local rabblerouser journalists. I fear that I might have been a wet blanket, talking about mission statements, funding realities, etc. I feel sad about that now. He was on to something.

Mike Knapp's picture

You weren't a wet blanket Randy

We had known for years the challenge of just paying for hellbender press printing costs let alone paying people a penance for articles was capital. The wet blanket is always going to be what Betty said above - joe's massive cash injections which metro pulse would've been challenged to get very far without. As for Toby's idea of a local propublica that is indeed something that we had numerous conversations about over many years. We often arrived at the combination concept: non-profit incorporation of a journalistic endeavor that would survive on fundraising from individuals and from grants with cherry on top advertising plus some paid subscriptions. The problem was for all those years all of us had daytime jobs and other things to do leaving the project operating at less than full capacity for something that needed serious amounts of time plus capital. In retrospect it's hard to believe that we published how we published for a little over 10 years on such a shoestring. It was a real labor of love and a huge part of it was Rikki's massive dedication. It's very hard to operate in an environment like Knoxville on advertising only however now that the Metropulse is gone (this is so hard to say) I could see the possibility again of another getting into that niche in this ecosystem.
A non-polemical, progressive newspaper like the old labor newspapers with inputs from other progressives dedicated to investigating local political economy connections, power dynamics, outdoor fun, beer and food is a very exciting and intriguing concept. It would be perhaps a combination electronic and print edition. We must continue to try and create our own economic spaces that can operate without being soley reliant upon other people's massive accumulations.

fischbobber's picture

If there's room,

For a cantankerous asshole in this endeavor, count me in. I'd love to help.

amybroyles's picture

Me, too.

I would be willing to help in such an endeavor as well.

Pam Strickland's picture

I went to some of those

I went to some of those meetings too. He was on to something. We all lost focus before things got off the ground.

Knoxgal's picture

Thank you Joe

Thank you Joe Sullivan. We are indebted to you.

MurryK's picture

Not coming back in print

The Metro Pulse won't becomng back in a publication that is printed on paper and delivered by fossill fuels. The entire print industry is going to be dead in 10 years, except for the full color tabloids at the grocery store counters and they will be replaced in 15 years. heck it might only be five years before all print is dead. real journalism is dying fast. In the future average people will get there news at no charge and it will all be lies. rich folks who need good information about business or politics will sign on to private news networks.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.. Soylant Green is made out of people!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mikegibson's picture

metro pulse closing - comments

Hello everyone: So apparently all the Metro Pulse staff have been silenced, for fear of losing severance packages. I, however, am under no such restrictions. I have been a frequent contributor since 1993, and I was a full-time staff member for about 10 of those years. As a free-lance contributor, I authored the paper's second-to-last (?) cover story, on Sheri Siler, a couple of weeks ago. Even as a free-lancer, I still attended the more-or-less weekly editorial meetings.
In other words, I know the deal about as well as most of the staff members, and I can say whatever the @#$% I want. And I want to say this: Patrick Birmingham is a spineless, half-bright corporate weasel. He never knew what the hell Metro Pulse was, or what to do with it. He and Scripps' team of pencil-necked corporate bean counters were always harassing the editors for not meeting some imaginary profit projections, goals conceived in an airless vacuum chamber on the planet Venus by drug-addled baboons. He was also prone to making veiled innuendoes these last three-four years or so that he wanted to somehow merge Knoxville.com and MP, or else combine parts of the staffs, or some other damned idiot thing. Last year, after MP had just finished turning a fairly reasonable profit, he rewarded the staff by threatening to break the paper's lease at 602 S. Gay Street and move the entire operation into the Sentinel building, thus destroying any hope for maintaining editorial independence.
Most recently, when art director Travis Gray announced he needed to move on, Birmingham would not let the paper hire a replacement AD, citing a Scripps hiring freeze. At this point, we all suspected something was up, as the paper simply cannot function without a @#$ing ART DIRECTOR, any more than it could survive without, oh, say, an EDITOR. Travis had agreed to stay on as AD (working remotely) until he found a job. It was massively unclear just what the hell would happen when he found one, or what would have happened if he had just decided to tell Scripps to rot.
My observation is that Birmingham is the idiot who is most responsible for this atrocity. Metro Pulse was indeed turning a profit (although its projections for the coming year were only break-even, that still means it was a very viable concern in the context of print media. At the very least, it was a property that one should have reasonably been able to shop to another interested party.) The lion's share of blame should be cast at Birmingham's weasel feet.
Right now, I'm not actually certain what role Jack McElroy played in all of this, though I would not be surprised if his fingerprints were on this boondoggle as well. He is a jackass of the lowest order, and has proven himself such every time he has ever opened his stupid yapping mouth.
In closing, Scripps can suck it. Birmingham and his bosses are soulless jackals, and may they all burn in hell. With a couple of exceptions, I have hated everything they have done since they bought the paper out in 2007. They took a once-fun and vibrant newsroom/working environment and turned it into sterile, joyless drudge. #$% all of them.
--Mike Gibson

Mike Knapp's picture

Spot on

That post is worth as many beers as you want Mike Gibson.

R. Neal's picture

+1000

+1000

reform4's picture

Please, don't hold back.

Don't sugar coat it, man. Tell us what you really think.

Average Guy's picture

Not sure that's what he thinks,

he seems to know.

I read it more as a report than opinion.

Here's hoping regardless the reception of the reader, it was cathartic for the writer.

trobinson's picture

thanks...

...for a great post. Best of luck.

Knoxdantz's picture

Mike Gibson's farewell

Now this is the kind of opinion piece that fueled the rise of great newspapers before TV and the Internet age.
Mike Gibson's post should be printed out and plastered all over town, especially anywhere close to the residences or offices of the two POS.

jcgrim's picture

MBA speak & B-school dogma- when will we be rid of this curse?

You've captured the narrow, cannibalistic mindset of MBA clones perfectly. These people are taught in B-schools to lay companies to waste and are celebrated for it by bonuses & stock buy-back.

Here is a damning article into the idiot MBA's who run our hospitals and why ebola was mishandled by these incompetents.

(link...)

Since the 1980's private equity has laid waste to our manufacturing sector, public health care, media & news, and soon our public education system.

Silencing the professionals is the one thing corporate management has in common across these sectors. In the case of ebola preserving the reputation of management & investors is nothing short of sociopathic.

"Allowing the current dysfunction to continue, while it will be very profitable to the insiders who run the system, will continue to enable tragic outcomes for patients and the public."

AMEN

KC's picture

pencil-necked corporate bean

pencil-necked corporate bean counters were always harassing

You could post this on a Knox County School's story, change some names, and it would be just as accurate as it is here.

jcgrim's picture

pencil-necked corporate sociopaths

Knox Co Schools story will soon look like Memphis & Nashville schools. Since you didn't name names, I'll name 1 who best fits the description-McIntyre.

It's Mc's job to deliver Knoxville Schools to ASD and the EMO private profiteers.

Pay-to-play, built-in instability, and ROI for investors.
(link...)

jbr's picture

Mother Jones looks like it is

Mother Jones looks like it is published by a non-profit 501c3 Foundation for National Progress.

Mike Knapp's picture

Ding ding ding

Ding ding ding

Bad Paper's picture

history

A Short-ish History of Metro Pulse
By Jack Neely in Metro Pulse

[Ed. note: Copyrighted material removed and replace with a link to the original source]

Leland Wykoff's picture

Superb Overview, Thank You

Thank you Bad Paper for this comprehensive review. It is truly amazing to see the talent which has found a home at MetroPulse. Thank you for the time, talent, research, and effort to bring this information to us all.

Mazel Tov!

amybroyles's picture

+100

Thanks for taking the time to compile, write and post this - have already directed several people to it. Would you mind if I posted it to my FB page, giving proper credit, of course? I will also post a link to this thread on KV, for those who want more information or to join the discussion.

Dave Prince's picture

If you want to give proper credit,

Make sure you give the URL from which this was copy-pasted: (link...)

fischbobber's picture

Are you saying?

Are you saying that Bad Paper is really Jack Neely? Because that shocks me.

Unless you're saying he's a plagiarist incapable of original thought, because I find that easy to believe.

It's all about his credibility, don't you see.

Knoxgal's picture

It was too well written

It was way too well written to be by Bad Paper. Well written, thoughtful and insightful. Couldn't have been by Bad Paper.

Dave Prince's picture

So much so that he can't even

So much so that he can't even keep his names straight.

Bad Paper's picture

Jack Neely wrote that

Jack Neely wrote that history. It was not signed on the FaceBook page.

It came from here: (link...)

fischbobber's picture

Stealing

It's not so much that you stole an uncredited piece of work that shows your absolute lack of character, it's that you passed it off as your own that shows what kind of guy you are.

Bad Paper's picture

Bob,

are you going to go off again? If so, I will be using the David Schmid defense. I left the link off. Now you can have a complete meltdown.

fischbobber's picture

Character

It would appear that a personal analogy between your character and Schmid's might have merit.

Rachel's picture

Ya know, if you're gonna post

Ya know, if you're gonna post somebody else's work, it's a good idea to provide a link.

Metro all the way's picture

few things

The history came from FaceBook. Not everyone is on FaceBook. It was unsigned. KNS owns it. Birmingham and McElroy can kiss it. Got it?

Metro all the way's picture

sorry Jack

(link...)

Just found out Jack Neely wrote that history of Metro Pulse. I did not know when I posted it.

AC's picture

Not that it really matters,

Not that it really matters, but this story is not quite accurate, as least as I recall. Rand Pearson was introduced to me by his mother, who was and is a close friend. I was already working with Ian and had been for years, notably related to ella Gurus stuff, but not specifically on the Metropulse idea...though we had discussed the idea as Ian had involvement on other alternative newspaper projects. Rand took the Metropulse concept and really ran with it. It wasn't really losing that much money - but it both needed more money to grow (which I did not have) and needed more leadership and commitment from its owner, which I was able to provide while focusing on my real business. And then Joe Sullivan showed up.

Bbeanster's picture

Ashley is being too modest.

Ashley is being too modest. He deserves a lot of credit for helping the young'uns get the publication get off the ground.

AC's picture

Thanks, Betty. Perhaps I

Thanks, Betty. Perhaps I provided a little crazed inspiration to compel talented people to take on the impossible with severely limited resources.

By the way, I mis-typed above. I meant to say that I was NOT able to provide the leadership for Metropulse and stay on top of my "real job." Which is why it was so great for Joe Sullivan to show up and take the helm.

Ian's picture

That's accurate. In the

That's accurate. In the spring of 1991, Ashley & I met for lunch at the Falafel Hut to kick the idea around, but neither of us had the spare time to launch a paper on our own. A few months later, he called & said he'd met a couple other people who were interested (Rand Pearson & Margaret Weston), so we all met at the Tomato Head, came up with the name "Metro Pulse," and the rest is history.

Ian's picture

Another history

From the 5th anniversary issue: (link...)

politicalleverage's picture

A thought...

Here is thought do go to http://www.knoxtalkradio.com/ or http://www.wutkradio.com/ and seriously take a minute to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. That's about it.

Look, it is a hundred times easier to save an independent voice in the community, then to create a new one. Seriously, WUTK has a phenomenal local governmental show on Sunday Mornings, from 10am to 12pm with Hubert Smith and his volunteer staff of college students being part of the process. Or tomorrow morning tune in to 94.3fm from 6am to 9am with Mike & Shyne. If you never called in before, go for it. Those guys are awesome when it comes to being intrepid, honest, fair balanced. Heck we hear their hard hitting interviews on this blog all the time!

Does this hit close to home? Absolutely! However, I have seen what happens when a clarion bell is rung and society rallies around good reporting. Perfect example, (link...) A brilliant editorial by the New York Times, about the Washington Post. The article highlights everything that the Post is doing right. Breaking big stories, investigating deep issues, and hiring more people. (gasp!)

So I conclude with the words David Carr, starts his editorial with.

"Nothing in God’s creation is ever as good as it once was, but The Washington Post is coming pretty close."

Sincerely,
Daniel Andrews.
ETSPJ VP

*Speaking on my own and for nobody and nothing else but me.

cwg's picture

Etc

Thanks to everyone who has offered their support, love, kindness, and money for our bar tab today.

I can't comment on the specifics, but this thread has a lot of stuff wrong. (Except Mike's post. He knows.)

And to the haters hating on us - or suddenly pretending to love us/me after nonstop bashing, fuck all y'all. That's some bullshit.

Good night.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Combat Support Hospital, defined.

AC's picture

Needless to say, I was very

Needless to say, I was very sad to hear the news about Metropulse today. Especially sad for those who lost their jobs...but also for our community. But I'm an optimist by nature, and I'm hopeful that someone who possesses the means...but also the vision and the wherewithal...will step in to fill the void. One of the saddest things in the Wall Street driven culture of maximizing shareholder profit above all else is the loss of a sense of purpose and true reason for being that should be at the heart of every meaningful enterprise. It's insanely short-sighted, short-term thinking (even Jack Welch has weighed in on this). It won't last forever because it can't...the snake eats its own tail...but so much damage is done in the meantime.

What's even more scary is that the same bottom-line, reductionist standards are being applied to education.

amybroyles's picture

Tremendously sad

I can't express how sad this makes me, and how sorry I am that this has happened. In addition to losing such a fantastic, valuable, local, weekly publication, I am especially sorry that so many talented writers and reporters have lost their jobs. Whatever, or anything, I might be able to do to help in this situation, please let me know.

Mike Knapp's picture

Yep

What's even more scary is that the same bottom-line, reductionist standards are being applied to education.

These standards are universally applied to every sector without exception just to varying degrees. This is neoliberalism - everything is for sale. Imagine if press and writers were unionized and ready for a walkout in this type of situation. Sorta reminds me of this.

JMG's picture

So sad

I cancelled my subscription to the sentinel today. I hope a lot of people do.

ncline's picture

metropulse

metro focus?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Don't even speak the word "metro" to Steve Hunley.

jbr's picture

Metro Scene

Metro Scene

amybroyles's picture

*

I like that!

amybroyles's picture

*

I like that!

R. Neal's picture

The Knoxville News Sentinel

The Knoxville News Sentinel and Scripps: A Cultural Wrecking Ball Struggling to Maintain Relevance

There was a quick push to let Knoxville know that they would not be left out in the cold with regard to culture. As part of the release regarding Metro Pulse on Wednesday, a tangible effort was made to state that Knoxville.com would be the primary source for future arts and culture news. Calling this move insulting is, at best, an understatement. Metro Pulse was not simply a directory listing of who is playing at the Pilot Light for any given week; however, that’s how it appears to be viewed. Metro Pulse provided absolutely wonderful pieces on politics, culture, music, food, and the people who make up this confusing town that somehow thought making an artificial creek on top of an actual creek (Second Creek; World’s Fair Park) was a good idea.

Average Guy's picture

Any shock or surprise?

So, now that we have a little peek into our local Scripps/KNS operations, is anyone in this forum shocked by what's been revealed?

Not that it matters, just curious as to what others thought about what's been alluded to here for years.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*


Birmingham was trying to unload production design and ad design to India. They were trying to run the MP's accountants through .... India.

They have a PILOT with the city, for God's sake.

That's biting the hand that feeds them, sure enough.

Bill Lyons's picture

KNS PILOT

They have a PILOT with the city, for God's sake.

KNS "had" a PILOT. It ran approximately from 2002 - 2012.

Bad Paper's picture

IDB and Community Development Corp signed it

Mr. Lyons, I'm looking at a copy of that PILOT now. You signed for the Community Development Corp. George Archer signed for the IDB. Any idea who wrote that PILOT?

This is the part of that PILOT that bothered me long ago:

"The Project will also permit the City to retain approximately 600 jobs, with a payroll of approximately $21.725 million annually in the City's center city. The tax benefits to the City from retention of these jobs in the City should be adequate to recover any lost property taxes due to the PILOT."

KNS has about 383 employees today after yesterday's 6% layoff and the closing of the Metro Pulse.

Bill Lyons's picture

KNS PILOT & KCDC

PILOTs are run through the IDB in conjunction with the City Administration. My signature was there because I was KCDC Board Chair (and in relatively blissful professorland and less blissful k2kland) in 2002. The project is in the Center City Redevelopment Area in the Mechanicsville area administered by KCDC. The redevelopment plan was approved by Council in 2000. I believe.

(link...)

This ultimately yielded the KNS, Food City, Cherokee Health etc. in a previously blighted area. I have since nailed down the PILOT and tax status. It began on August 30, 2002. It was placed on the tax rolls effective for the 2013 tax year.

Thanks.

Bad Paper's picture

PILOT for KNS

A few years ago the City Law Director opined that the Scripps PILOT was so poorly written as to be unenforceable. Scripps violated that PILOT within two or three years sending the art department to India. Curious how Bill's political ambitions tracked in time with that PILOT. Try and find that old story on the KNS site today.

Who wrote the PILOT? Anyone?

cwg's picture

TG

Is set to be in a story on WATE news tonight, in case anyone's interested. But no idea what he said to them on camera.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

TG's post to his FB page this morning starts with "here's what I said to the news in full (I don't get a severance package, so screw it!)."

He follows that with a single paragraph of text, summarized thusly:

The 23-year legacy of local news and entertainment reporting cannot be reconciled with a couple CD reviews and Associated Press stories. It is truly the end of local long-form journalism in Knoxville.

Rachel's picture

Send all your ads to India to

Send all your ads to India to be designed?

Words fail me.

Michael's picture

Any word on KNS layoffs?

Can anybody confirm the John North layoff, newsroom cuts, or have any info on what came out of that 4 p.m. meeting R. Neil mentioned in the updates to the original post?
~m.

Pam Strickland's picture

John North, Roger Harris, and

John North, Roger Harris, and Christina Southern were the KNS people.

I think that Roger was an assistant to John. Not sure what Christina's position was. I think she was in features, but I could be wrong.

Somewhere in all the confusion that was yesterday, I saw something from McElroy that gave a reorganization of the KNS staffing. I didn't have time to study it because I was busy writing my column and then working on a huge freelance editing project that's got a deadline for early next week for another client. I can't find it now, but I'd like to see it again and give it a good study because when I was looking at it the first time it didn't really make much sense to me.

cwg's picture

Donila

Got a hold of the memo about the KNS reorg. It's posted here.

(link...)

Jamie Satterfield's picture

Facts

The 4 p.m. meeting is a daily news meeting about our budget of stories for the next day's paper. There were no layoffs/cuts etc... decided or announced in that meeting nor would there have been. The three newsroom staffers impacted were advised well before then. Roger Harris was not an assistant to John North. He was the business editor. In addition to the 3 cuts in the newsroom, others were made in other departments, though I don't know the exact tally.

Pam Strickland's picture

My apologies about Roger

My apologies about Roger Harris. I was thinking about someone else when I misidentified him as North's assistant.

We're all very concerned about what's happening to our community and to the good people who have dedicated their life to getting out the news. I had a conversation with someone this afternoon who used to be a KNS staffer, but got out on her own terms several years ago. There's a lot of sadness and all this secrecy, like its the CIA or something is not helping matters. I hope Scripps realizes this, but I know better.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

No problem

I just wanted to give Roger his due. Yes, we are all devastated, scared, frustrated (add your own descriptor). Not only did I respect Cari Gervin's work but she's one of the few women I actually consider a friend. I've worked with John North for two decades. Other issues raised on here I know nothing about. I'm a peon.

Bad Paper's picture

also,

Last night I made a mistake. The Metro Pulse Twitter had been pulled. I found the Metro Pulse history on FaceBook. My concern was that would be pulled too. I posted in its entirety what I found. It was not signed. I thought I had the link at the bottom of the post. I hit save and went to bed.

For what is worth, the Metro Pulse FaceBook has been pulled. There is, for now, until Birmingham sends the kill email, a new No Metro Pulse FaceBook for those of you on FaceBook.

(link...)

There is also, for now, the Not Metro Pulse Twitter.

(link...)

Both of these have a short half life.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Both of these have a short half life.

Isn't it the case that the name "NotMetroPulse" can be secured with the Secretary of State for $20?

Dunno how Birmingham could issue any directive to an entity he doesn't own...

(Hat tip to Brent Minchey, owner Project Universe Knoxville :-)

Bad Paper's picture

not to give any ideas,

The severance package.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Severance package

So your understanding is that Scripps will be doling out severance pay piecemeal over the coming weeks and months (possibly via help from accountants in India), rather than offering former employees a lump-sum distribution?

If that's the case, the prolonged activity will cost Scripps more. You'd think they would do a time-and-motion study before deciding on which approach to take...

/s

Bad Paper's picture

I think,

Both those sites will be down soon. It would be nice if the KNS would commit to leaving the Metro Pulse website up as a community support kind of thing. I would not bet on it being up this time next month. When they didn't offer it for sale, it telegraphed the future. There is a reason(s) for this kind of hard ball.

Bbeanster's picture

Here's a MP history, courtesy

Here's a MP history, courtesy of the brilliant Ian Blackburn

(link...)

Bbeanster's picture

Who the heck wrote this? It's

Who the heck wrote this? It's freakin' hilarious and pretty painfully accurate.

(excerpt)

Barry Henderson, another hard-boiled veteran of the Journal, returns home after an extended sojourn in Communist China. An angst-ridden caffeine addict and known associate of Jim Dykes, Henderson joins Metro Pulse as editor to combat the widespread prejudice that Metro Pulse is staffed entirely by spoiled, fruity brats. He brings with him an innate ability to write baffling headlines ("Like Topsy, West Knoxville Just Grows," "Strings But No Towrope," "Pressure for Equity Brings More Women Into Sports-Happy UT Fold").

Betty Bean quits to seek more challenging work at the Halls Shopper.

Editors succumb to a bizarre publicity ploy, persuaded by the TNi cable channel to send one reporter to appear on the "i-Channel News" and talk about his or her current story in Metro Pulse for fully 90 seconds each week. Stunned by the mystery of Lance West's hair, writers say little of substance on the air.

January, 1994

Smarting from a reader letter ridiculing his writing style as "hyper, yet flaccid," Lee Gardner quits Metro Pulse to write promotional copy for Ardent, a Memphis record company. To replace him, the paper hires one Chris Barrett, an obscure nuclear submariner from Kentucky discovered openly writing for the Morristown paper.

March, 1994

Metro Pulse conducts its first annual Best of Knoxville survey. Entrepreneurs voted "Best" finally take Metro Pulse seriously.

May, 1994

Metro Pulse shocks the journalistic establishment by winning several regional awards at the annual Society of Professional Journalists banquet, beating out several well-known local celebrities. Staffers were especially astonished. None of them are even members of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The jocular Stephanie Moyers enlists as an account executive. Cohesion expert and all-around office guru Betty Franklin also joins the ranks.

On the condition she not be expected to appear physically in the Metro Pulse office, Betty Bean returns as staff writer, vague about her experiences with the Halls Shopper. Likewise, Lee Gardner returns as staff writer, vague about his experiences with Ardent Records.

lml's picture

the way to cast your vote in the market place is with...

$$ Period. JMG's got it right, don't financially support Patrick Birmingham and Scripps.

I recall when the Pulse changed hands a few years ago, Three Rivers Market ceased buying ads, and hasn't run any ads to my knowledge since the Pulse was purchased by Scripps.

Twice in the last few months I picked up a free Friday News Sentinel to look at the Knoxville.com section. It's Metro Pulse light, lightweight that is. Plus it makes me about puke to step into a Pilot! I quit buying from Pilot in 1996, promised myself to never give them another dime and I haven't. In the furture, I'm gonna save myself some gut wrenching by avoiding both Pilot and the free Friday paper.

In the words of Scott Miller, cheap ain't cheap, free is cheap. But even a free News Sentinel ain't worth the effort.

Now will somebody please do an online calendar listing of the arts/entertainment in the area? The venues and the artists need you whoever you are out there.

jbr's picture

Vist Knoxville has one that I

Vist Knoxville has one that I have looked at before. Looking at it now it seems to have everything in one big pile. Organizing it, or offering a filtering mechanism on the web site along lines of grouping Metro Pulse had would improve the functionality greatly.

Events Calendar | Visit Knoxville

JMG's picture

Sad

I wasn't happy about it though. Scott and a few others are also friends of mine. I also doubt my cancelation will be much more than a drop in the bucket but I could not in good concious support them. I kinda wish I was an advertiser so I could really make them feel it.

lml's picture

Let your conscious be your guide

I understand what you're saying JMG. Totally. But ya gotta let your conscious be your guide.

And as far as advertisers in the paper, seems like "buy gold" has an entire page the few times I've seen a News Sentinel lately. Heck, I believe TN doesn't even require that an obit be placed in the local rag anymore. I hear the lack of cha ching ringing...

Would it have been too much to ask that the Metro Pulse be inserted into the Friday free paper instead of that pathetic excuse of a substitute called Knoxville.com?? That could have saved on distribution costs, right? I suppose saving the Pulse wasn't an agenda item, so much easier to just kill it. waaaaaahhhhhh.

JMG's picture

So true.

So true.

Nelle's picture

Conscience

The word is "conscience."

Bbeanster's picture

Scripps payroll for

Scripps payroll for contractors goes through India.

The Metropulse Opera House-'s picture

Our taxes for jobs in India?

Patrick Birmingham is the Chairman of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.

His role as Chairman is to create new jobs and bring new jobs to Knoxville.

The Chamber of Commerce receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money from Knox County and City of Knoxville.

So the Chairman, reduces the workforce by firing people in Knoxville. Instead of bringing jobs to Knoxville, he sends jobs to India.

Is this the right example the Chamber should be setting?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I wish we had known about all these Birmingham tactics at KNS prior to adoption of this year's county budget.

Concerning his role with the Chamber, I don't think he's anyone who ought to be charged with soliciting jobs to Knoxville and I certainly don't think he's anyone whose organization should be funded with taxpayer dollars.

lml's picture

Closing Metro Pulse is good for whose business?

Closing Metro Pulse is not good for small business/locally owned business who were the mainstay advertisers in the Pulse. Buy local, ya know. The Chamber should reconsider who their Chairman should be.

And I think of all the non-profits who benefited from having their events listed in the calendar and/or sponsored by Metro Pulse with an ad. Where will the non-profits go to get the word out? Oh, I suppose the answer is Knoxville.com. But nooooooo, I disagree because the Metro Pulse reader is not necessarily the same person who reads the local newspaper. The Metro Pulse reader, IMO, is a person more engaged in the community who supports small local business and grass roots community action (case in point, final issue of the Pulse w/ the Brewer's Jam section).

And I suppose there's now yet another reason to leave Knoxville. This one makes it 101 reasons: Because a bunch of talented people got summarily booted and now need to find work somewhere.

citycountynews's picture

This is good news

It's an opportunity to start their own **independent** paper ... or join the staff of Blank.

jbr's picture

Why did they not cut

Why did they not cut Knoxville.com and merge its resources into Metro Pulse?

Bad Paper's picture

great question

"Why did they not cut Knoxville.com and merge its resources into Metro Pulse?"

That would not allow total control. This was not about dollars. Metro Pulse was a sellable asset. But it was also a downtown paper. It had somewhat independent editorial control. It was read by the decision makers. That may have been the deciding factor.

I think this may have had a little do to with the final decision:

(link...)

I'm not saying that Betty inadvertently killed the Metro Pulse. But that story was a burn under the saddle of Birmingham, as I see it. You don't talk about Dr. McIntyre unless you talk happy. That is a top priority to Birmingham.

There were others too:

(link...)

Ms. Personalty may have ruffled feathers.

Remember Snark Bites? It bit the hand that runs things. You don't talk about anything Haslam unless it is a huge donation.

Is Birmingham all about control? Why would he not sell a valuable asset? Or why wouldn't he roll knoxville.com into the Metro Pulse?

Bbeanster's picture

i killed Metro Pulse by

i killed Metro Pulse by writing about Kenny Ye and them?

Hildegard's picture

The Smoking Gun

It's all on you, Betty. Now we can all sleep.

Bbeanster's picture

Don't tell Sandra.

Don't tell Sandra.

spinetingler's picture

BB killed downtown.

BB killed downtown.

redmondkr's picture

A study in sleaze.

Hildegard's picture

PB bought a house for 350K

PB bought a house for 350K this summer. Maybe those 23+ jobs will help him make the mortgage on that.

cwg's picture

His divorce settlement's

His divorce settlement's gonna take a big chunk.

Dave Prince's picture

(No subject)

Average Guy's picture

Ever confirmed if there was

Ever confirmed if there was any attempt to sell?

cwg's picture

There was not.

There was not.

Average Guy's picture

Then,

as it relates to both local news and local commerce, the man is a world class hypocrite.

Maybe the Frontpage Follies can work that into a skit.

jbr's picture

From PBS ... ...caused a rift

From PBS ...

...caused a rift with CBS, and they decided to discontinue See It Now.

Perhaps more than any reporter before or since, Murrow captured the trust and belief of a nation and returned that trust with honesty and courage. His belief in journalism as an active part of the political process and a necessary tool within democracy has forever altered the politics and everyday life of the American people.

Edward R. Murrow

evil paperboy's picture

According to home sales websites

10XXX TAN RARA DR
Deed Date: 7/8/2014
Final Sale Price $350,000

9XXX BROMFIELD LN
Placed for sale on August 4th
$609,000.00

Property Details

Whittington Creek S/D- Immaculate 2 story with finished 3rd floor. Freshly painted inside and out. 4 Bedrooms, bonus and Rec Room up. 3.5 Baths. New roof, gutters and garage doors. 2 New HVAC units. Formal Living and Dining Room. Family Room with fireplace and builtins.Open kitchen with new dishwasher and refrigerator, Granite tops, island, gas cooktop and large eatin breakfast area. Master up with cathedral ceilings, fireplace and humongous bath with 2 separate vanities, whirlpool and tile

Updated sale price $599,000

Blogger from India's picture

Mayor divorce

Maybe he will have a team of reporters, publishers, and editors review his divorce in detail.
*cough*

Knoxgal's picture

If it's true

If it's true that Metro Pulse was silenced because of its political reporting, the situation is even more depressing and outrageous than we thought. Please, someone, start another paper and give these people their voice back. Because their voice is our voice.

Bbeanster's picture

Metro Pulse was closed by

Metro Pulse was closed by bean counters. I feared it would happen after the spin-off, but was shocked that they did it now. I do not think there was a political motivation in closing it. Just bottom line -- not that that makes it less painful.

But it also makes me appreciate the survival skills of one S. Clark, who has been in the news business longer than anybody in Knoxville. She's not trendy, but, damn, she knows how to get it done and she cares about this community.

I'd forgotten how many times I bounced back and forth between the Shopper and Metro Pulse over the years, and how many times Clark would inform me that something was "Not a Shopper story," which was my cue to pitch it to Coury (or his predecessor/successor editors).

I was no longer writing for MP by the time of the shutdown, but I was part of it for so long that I still cannot process the fact that it's gone. Losing a newspaper is never, ever a good thing for a town and good people have been hurt. I hope everyone lands on their feet and that the severance package is generous.

Bad Paper's picture

why no sale

"Metro Pulse was closed by bean counters. I feared it would happen after the spin-off, but was shocked that they did it now. I do not think there was a political motivation in closing it."

I agree. About the closing. But I believe it was not offered for sale because it would have been an editorial and content competitor that Birmingham would never allow. This asset could have been sold for $500,000 or more dollars. It had a unique ad base that the KNS could never capture. And that sale would have brought a publishing customer that prints and pays for 37,500 copies a week or more. Which over time is even more serious coin. (link...) Why kill it?

Metro Pulse and the KNS were on the same page about a lot of issues. Except not so much in the last year. McIntyre and Jimmy Haslam. The forbidden zone. You recall what happened to Snark Bites when he bit that Haslam hand? It bit back.

Do you know what is very curious? There is no webpage for the Journal Media Group. (link...)

Journal Media Group has $500 million in sales. Yet they haven't gotten around to making a website since September? Maybe they are going to sell some newspapers?

I'd hate to see some billionaire buy the KNS for pennies on the dollar. Mayor Burchett said follow the money. And it may lead to Mount Lonas.

Dahlia's picture

Journal Media doesn't have a website?

That would explain why KNS's site deteriorated into such a cluster f@!%, they obviously think the web is not the way to go. Geez, either they're complete fools or they're purposely steering their readers into their view and their view only, crushing the comments along the way.

Is Rupert Murdoch behind that company?

fischbobber's picture

The final cut.

My first route as a delivery driver was sort of a hodgepodge of things thrown together that senior drivers didn't want. Untrained customers and one's with quirks were common. The pressure from management was constant and daily. It's where I got to know Hacksaw Reynolds, and although he wasn't much of a talker, he probably grunted at me as much as he did anyone else, with the possible exception of the National Guard guys he worked on his Jeep with.

Then there was the strip. Stories from Jim England with him pulling out the original master copy of an early Amazing Rhythm Aces album from England Studios. Raven Records with Todd and Jay standing behind the counter with a "Why'd you do it, Bob?" the morning after a particularly gruesome murder near the neighborhood. And of course, Mary Gill's. Mary Gill's introduction to me was " I Mary Gill and I'm 92 years old and I still go to market myself every year. (This was before the Bush I recession that killed all the upper end local designer dress shops. And I don't remember exactly how old Mary Gill was. I remember thinking, "Damn, thats old." I was young. It could have been fifty now that I think about it.) And then there was Martin Hunt. He explained that I would just have to be patient with him and wait until he got to the door. He was blind. But he never tarried. I had a personal rule for dealing with people. As long as someone was doing the best they could and not jerking me around, I would give them the time they needed to accomplish whatever task I needed from them. In Martin's case, it was writing checks for CODs. He would leave with the tags and come back with the checks. At a pretty good pace for a blind guy, I always thought. One day I had my back to him and he made a forward off-color remark about my butt. I remember thinking, I thought this guy was blind, so I said, "I thought you were blind." "Hey, baby." was his standard greeting and he and Mary Gill were quite the pair. The beauty of a job like mine was the chance to meet some really great people. Martin was one of those guys. They gave me a tie for Christmas that year and, i'm not much of a tie guy, so when someone said, "Man, that's silk." I said,"Oh." Come to find out they gave me a hundred dollar tie for Christmas for simply doing my job. It made me feel good. It made me feel appreciated, like maybe someone noticed and appreciated what I was doing. And that's the kind of guy he was. He paid attention and appreciated life and the people around him. And we appreciated him. He is a bright spot in my memories of my job. RIP Martin.

And thanks Jack Neely for the final column reminding the of us native Knoxious Villains why we stayed here to live our lives. And for giving Martin the kind of send off he deserved. He would have been proud to be included in Knoxville's history. It is fitting. It's sad to see it go.

KatieAllison's picture

My son Henry used to read to

My son Henry used to read to Mr. Hunt, who was a lovely, gracious and quirky man.

Knox6-6's picture

A rant from a former KNS staffer

--An incomplete, probably inaccurate, highly biased recent history of the KNS by a disgruntled former employee.

Shortly before my prompt, not altogether unexpected departure from the KNS in 2008, we had a staff meeting to discuss the results of a companywide "assessment," correctly read by most employees as "impending layoff."

Our "new" priority?
Increasing. Advertising. Revenue.
Improving news coverage didn't even make the top five.
"But aren't we selling news?" I stupidly asked.
"A lot of people buy it for the ads." said the bidness manager, rechristened publisher.

This summed up the KNS philosophy nicely. Several years earlier the bidness manager (apologies to the late Molly Ivins) was promoted to publisher after an extended duel with The Greek, a fiery editor who didn't welcome ad men in the newsroom. The Greek was replaced by a demure little editor in name only, who majored in trying not to upset anyone, especially on jack-off Fridays.

The publisher had plans for increasing subscription rates, attracting young adults and chasing Craigslist out of town, but he hated reporters, sometimes referring to them as stenographers when he thought no one was listening.

Lists.
Everyone and his mother would rush to clean out news stands if their names or faces appeared in print, according to the publisher's theory. We began printing elementary honor rolls, mid-level promotions, head shots of college graduates. Names were counted (or fudged) and reported, as ordered, to the publisher.

"You, too, can be a reporter."
Craigslist was coming to town, oh no. KNS created online "Hubs" for neighborhoods. PTA moms and rotary club secretaries were solicited to write free copy, unedited. PR flaks loved it. Few others were as eager to risk the derision of former English teachers, even if they could figure out the Byzantine upload protocol, which they couldn't. An occasional screed from a bike-hating road hog had to be hurriedly spiked.

Chasing young tail
An outdoor section, long planned to promote seasonal festivals, picnic spots and day hikes was reinvented overnight. We would attract young readers by featuring extreme sports. Cliff hangers were made boring by repetition, advertisers bailed. A few years earlier, a campus supplement was conceived and died in infancy, despite a cover featuring a wet t-shirt contest.

Who needs copy editors?
Spell check, programmed layouts and prewritten headlines failed to kill off the copy desk, so the publisher hatched a plan to edit KNS by remote, from Texas, or maybe it was India. A supervisor warned his staff not to sign any long-term leases. He was toast.

As a reward for all his creative leadership, the publisher was promoted into obscurity and now raises money for local charity and sucks up to Haslams. Another advertising salesman is now publisher.

Long deigned too insignificant for notice, despite regularly scooping the daily and giving it away, the weeklies were bought out by Scripps when the grocery flyers switched papers. Ad rates went up, but that failed to plug the leak that was fast becoming a flood. This week, they killed MetroPulse, which employed some of the city's most respected journalists. It was read religiously by anyone who counts and many who don't. Scripps said it wasn't profitable, but since they set the administrative costs, ink and newsprint rates, creative accounting may come into play. KNS management never admitted to making a profit, even in the salad days.

The daily also laid off some more of their own staff while others took retirement. It was, of course, announced as an improvement in the "combined" KNS entertainment section.

Since reporters are few and fewer, syndicated write ups of reality tv may suffer

Rachel's picture

A current headline on the KNS

A current headline on the KNS website: Vols trying to get where Ole Miss is at.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

A few points

Harry Moskos is one of the most respected newsmen in the nation. To call him the "Greek" is condescending and anyone who actually worked for Harry would never dub him so. Maybe you should post under your actual name. Our copy editing was not outsourced and certainly not to India. In a move that upset all of us on staff, Scripps designated the Corpus Christi paper as the producer of the nation/world page and all newspapers then use that page. Scripps didn't invent this. Major publications had already moved toward dramatically cutting nation/world reporters and "sharing" certain pages among all properties. The guild of which I am a member discussed the issue, fought certain contract language but ultimately acquiesced to the language the company wanted in part because some of our own members were job scared themselves and in larger part because we really have no control over staffing decisions. We lost good people. But the remaining pages are locally designed.

Knox6-6's picture

"The Greek"

No offense was meant to Harry and I doubt any was taken. In fact I admire him for fighting so hard for editorial independence. I worked under him during all his years at the KNS and he knows I respect him.
Marti Davis

citycountyman's picture

I didn't in the least

I didn't in the least consider Marti's comment condescending, given its context. First, we all know Marti has been one of the best investigative reporters in town. Remember Valhalla Village?
Second, she made it clear in her comment that 'The Greek' was a trooper for editorial independence, and if anything, her use of the term expressed her fondness and respect for him.

Dahlia's picture

I agree

I agree

jbr's picture

Maybe it is commonplace, but

Maybe it is commonplace, but it seems inappropriate for a newspaper publisher to get too chummy in the community they serve. They should be civil, pleasant and supportive in general in the community, but keeping a basic level of distance seems prudent and professional and necessary to maintain objectivity.

fischbobber's picture

It's not so much being distant

It's knowing your role within the community. If it's your job to report the goings on in a town, stand up, be a man and do your job. It's not Birmingham's fault that the Haslam's are screwing up and making themselves look bad right now. But it's his job to report it. And if the Haslams get pissed off and quit giving away his paper on Fridays? Guess what? You cut the price in half, deliver a double order to Weigels the nest Friday with a big juicy headline the everyone who is anyone or who wants to have something public to talk about while doing business has to have and they all go to Weigels instead of Pilot. It's simple really. You just gotta have a pair or grow a pair to make it work.

KatieAllison's picture

So sad

I find it so disrespectful to the MP staff and to the community that this shutdown was handled like something out of "Office Space." Real newspapers are part of the community they serve, and the least Mr. Birmingham could have done would have been to give the staff time to put out a farewell issue, as well as allowed dialogue around the closure via the comments section on the KNS story announcing the shutdown. I understand that business-driven decisions can be tough to implement, but real newspapermen & women know that putting out an award-winning paper in the same town every week for two decades means that implementing a tough decision like a shutdown also means you owe the community a chance to have its say. The irony of the daily newspaper working so hard to shut down dialogue around a major local business story is just too sad and painful and yes, scary to contemplate.

cwg's picture

Keep up with (some of) us!

Alan Sherrod and his wonderful classical music coverage:

(link...)

April Snellings and her fantastic film reviews:

(link...)

Jack Neely and his unique take on everything:

(link...)

More TK, possibly. I will hopefully be revamping my own site in due time, but who knows.

Bad Paper's picture

Daily Beacon

Echoes my thoughts on why Metro Pulse was not offered for sale.

(link...)

"Maybe pulling the plug on the Metro Pulse was just a decision made on economic grounds, but I smell something stale in the paper's shutdown. I smell fear and statements of cowardice. Just this year, the 'alternative' paper tackled issues ranging from why people choose to leave Knoxville to why voters are afraid to vote for Democratic candidates that embody all of the community's views.

Last year, the Metro Pulse gave the community the facts surrounding the fraud allegations facing Pilot Flying J, a story the staff laid out like a "David Mamet" play. They've stormed through the social tension surrounding such issues and have discussed them objectively, while styling the stories in a way that mixes a variety of perspectives with humor and quality journalism to make readers think long and hard about the inner-workings of our scruffy little city.

I think someone didn't like these reflections. I think someone with power (read: money) decided what the public doesn't know and doesn't think about won't hurt them. On the contrary, the truth of the matter is that now our city's maladies will continue to hurt us, but without the bold discussions started by the Metro Pulse, we are no longer equipped to respond."

michael kaplan's picture

reminds me of how Knoxville

reminds me of how Knoxville Progressive Radio was literally locked out of the WUTK studios when we started reporting (read: interviewing UT workers) on the struggle for a living wage at the plantation ...

cwg's picture

Jack Neely's blog is up

(link...)

The only times I could keep Metro Pulse down to a 40-hour week were the weeks I was on vacation. Working on vacation was always my choice. I had such a backlog of stories, too many to tell in one lifetime, that I felt I couldn’t waste a single issue, and I didn’t want to annoy readers with a lame “Jack is on vacation” note.

No one was telling us to work that hard. I wouldn’t have done it just for a salary. We did it because we made Metro Pulse what it is, or was, without anyone telling us what to do, and we were proud of it and thought it made a real difference in our city.

michael kaplan's picture

wow, that makes at least two

wow, that makes at least two of us in knoxville without cell phones ...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Sans cell phones

Me three. Also my sister and several of our friends.

Let's call it a movement.

(Jack's new blog is a delight. I've always liked him and Janet very much.)

Bad Paper's picture

permanent link WNFZ KNS PILOT

This link will stay up:

(link...)

Some people think we should ignore that the KNS got a free ride for $4 million of our tax dollars. I think some portion of that should be paid back. They welched on a contract. It's only fair.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

I can't stand the stupidity anymore

Fact: The News Sentinel agreed to swap its downtown property, appraised at $2.5m with expected use value of $6m, for the lot off Western Avenue.
Fact: The city agreed to lock the KNS tax rate - not abate it dumb ass - for 10 years, which amounted to a tax bill for KNS of $2.7 million over that 10-year term. KNS would only realize any tax savings once the new building was completed (as it would have been taxed at a higher rate but for the lock) and actually paid $70,000 per year more in taxes than would have been owed if we had stayed downtown.
Fact: We moved 480 employees to the new building in September 2002. There was NO claim by KNS that we employed 600 people or would employ 600 people.
And your link? Well I listened and not only did these radio hacks NOT have the TIF agreement in hand, all they did was spout what you claimed on this blog. They didn't even know the TIF had expired - two freakin' years ago.
I don't know who you are or what your agenda is but get your head out of your ass.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Jamie, thanks for your info, too.

All I know is that I'd like to read the full text of the PILOT for myself.

BP, I've tried twice today to do that at this link you provided, but I'm getting a response to "try again later" to link to it via my Facebook account.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Mike's link to the alleged copy of this PILOT at the radio station's site hasn't worked for me all day and Jamie is now for some reason referring to this former PILOT as a TIF.

Neither of them appears able to link the authoritative document here.

All I said is that I'd like to read it for myself. And I would.

Politely, get out of my face.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

My bad on terminology

Government lingo is not my thing. PILOT, TIF - it's gibberish to me. My point was jobs were not a part as troll and his radio buddies were claiming

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Gotcha, Jamie--but if jobs weren't part of the agreement, I just wondered why Bill Lyons didn't correct Bad Paper on that point when he popped in here earlier?

I think I'm content to just abandon this topic until someone, somewhere can produce the actual agreement for us to read.

Bad Paper's picture

Srsly Y'all, jobs

This KNS PILOT deal was a huge rip off. It called for 375 NEW jobs, which never happened. KNS ripped off the taxpayers from before day one.

Also Jamie Satterfield, taxes WERE abated. Exhibit D. Coming to Google Docs this morning, along with the rest of the KNS PILOT. So the KNS defenders can torture themselves trying to defend the biggest rip off in the past twenty years.

You can call me Bad. BP. Or Chuck. You KNS defenders will have Tourette Syndrome when you read this PILOT. I can hardly wait for you to declare KNS did nothing wrong. Bring the ad hominem. I'm just looking for someone to sue Birmingham and make him pay those taxes.

If a county taxpayer sues in court for those abated property taxes and they win, they will receive a large percentage of those taxes. It is a crap newspaper that hurts this community and they should have lived up to the contract they signed. I've had this PILOT in a drawer for a couple years and never looked at it until Birmingham killed the Metro Pulse. It was given to me by a friend who wanted my advice about suing for the abated taxes. Let's let Chancellor Weaver have a look at this. The 20 and 30 year TIF's we've been doing lately pale in comparison to this rip off.

A $4 million gift from the taxpayers and then they kill the Metro Pulse? Big mistake.

Bad Paper's picture

I thought,

You were ordered to drop this.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

I know, I know

I'm letting my anger at Metro Pulse loss, our own layoffs and death of my friend Bruce Poston to get to me. Apologies

bizgrrl's picture

I find it interesting how you

I find it interesting how you spend so much time defending KNS when you could be in the next round of layoffs.

The News Sentinel agreed to swap its downtown property, appraised at $2.5m with expected use value of $6m

According to KGIS, the property was purchased in 2008 for $796,500. It was sold in 2012 for just over a million. Ten years later, what's happening with this property?

R. Neal's picture

If I recall correctly, the

If I recall correctly, the former KNS site has (had?) environmental issues?

politicalleverage's picture

Let's go to Metro Pulse for the answer

http://monkeyfire.com/mpol/dir_zine/dir_2001/1106/t_insights.html

Kind of interesting, we have actual retro articles from Metro Pulse! Addressing this exact topic!

From February 8th, 2001.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

From our archives

Here is the agreement actually hammered out (sorry it's from our protected archive site so I can't link:
The Knoxville News - Sentinel - Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Author/Byline: Rachel Kovac, News - Sentinel staff writer
Edition: Final
Section: Business
Page: C1
Installation of a massive, state-of-the-art printing press began Tuesday at the News - Sentinel 's new headquarters in the West View community.

Also, the company has finalized tax incentive arrangements in which the News - Sentinel will pay $2.7 million to the city and county over the next 10 years -- $70,000 more per year than it pays now -- while saving $4.2 million over 10 years.

News - Sentinel offices will move to the new $50 million facility in September, and the press is expected to begin operating in November and be fully operational by February 2003.

and this by Bill Brewer published in May 2000:
Negotiations between the city and the News - Sentinel began a year ago and culminated in a three-way deal in which the paper swapped its half-block Church Avenue property for 28 acres the city assembled off Western Avenue in the Westview community.

A partnership led by Ray Hand of Eagle Distributing owned 21 acres of the Westview land but agreed to offer it to the city in exchange for a similar-sized tract in a business corridor the city is developing adjacent to Coster Yard off Interstate 275.

Hand said widening of Western Avenue near the acreage forced a delay in his plans to relocate his beverage distributorship from North Knoxville to a new, larger building. While his plans have changed, Hand said he sees advantages to the projects and would like to start construction in the Coster area next spring.

"I think it's best for both of us. I did this because the newspaper needs more visibility. I don't have an objection as long as I have a place to put my warehouse. Coster will serve my needs as well," Hand said.

Doug Berry, city director of development, said it was a challenge to accommodate all of the interests in the deal.

The News - Sentinel has outgrown the building it has occupied since 1928, according to the paper's publisher, Bruce Hartmann, and editor, Harry Moskos.

"This was one of the harder negotiations I've done," Berry said. "Bruce and Harry were interested in getting a site that would be viable for the next 100 years."

Hartmann said the News - Sentinel was considering various county locations when Berry pitched the idea for a center - city site.

"The city basically came to us and told us about the opportunity. We looked all over for sites. We wanted to stay downtown. That was an important goal," Hartmann said, adding he was initially concerned because the Westview project was conceptual.

"But the fact the city is coming forward with a plan to revitalize the center city was appealing. We have faith that they're going to do what's expressed," he said.

Berry's office tendered an incentive package with an in-lieu-of- tax agreement worth an estimated $2.5 million that would lock the News - Sentinel 's tax rate for seven to 10 years in exchange for the center - city investment.

Berry said the Westview property is valued at $60,000 an acre. The city package includes $500,000 in site work. He said the News - Sentinel 's current facility appraised at approximately $2.5 million but could have a use value of $6 million.

Dante's Beatrice's picture

Thanks Dan.....and Fleance

Thanks Dan....
Here we have Joe Sullivan and Metro Pulse striking back from the grave about the cabal that eventually silenced the MP.At the time of the article, Joe and MP did not know of the betrayal to come..We hope the spirit and life of MP will remain and,like the ghost of Banquo, vex and remind these usurpers of what they did. Perhaps Banquo's son Fleance, who survived treachery and lived to rule, is a proper symbol for the memory and hope for the future of the spirit of MP.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

And more

Audit clarifies News Sentinel PILOT payments
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) - Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Author/Byline: SCOTT BARKER barkers@knoxnews.com
Section: Business
Page: 13
The News Sentinel must pay $72,034.49 in back personal property taxes owed to Knoxville and Knox County under the newspaper’s payment-in-lieu-of- tax agreement, according to a recent audit.

The audit, conducted by Nashville firm Tax Management Associates, also found that the newspaper owes another $84,423.32 in taxes on equipment purchased from 2003 to 2007, though the newspaper qualifies for a tax credit that would eliminate the bill.

The PILOT, which will result in $2.7 million in payments to the city of Knoxville and Knox County by the time it expires in 2011, covers real and personal property taxes on the News Sentinel ’s offi ce building and printing facility off Western Avenue . Dale Baker of Tax Management Associates presented an oral report on the audit to the Knox County Commission on Monday.

Paul Abraham, vice president of finance and business manager of the News Sentinel , said the newspaper will promptly pay the personal property taxes when it receives the tax statement.

“What we reported was based on our understanding of the PILOT agreement and what we were required to pay,” Abraham said. “The audit resulted in further clarification of the state’s rulings on PILOT programs.”

Abraham explained that the personal property taxes on raw materials were factored into the original PILOT. It turns out, however, that state law doesn’t allow personal taxes on raw materials to be included, resulting in the $72,034.49 bill. The audit also found the newspaper had not submitted bills of sale on the purchase of new equipment. Because the equipment qualifies under the PILOT, the newspaper can receive credit for the appropriate amount.

Bbeanster's picture

I always thought it was a

I always thought it was a real stretch to define the outskirts of Mechanicsville as "Center City."

cafkia's picture

If on a nice spring or fall

If on a nice spring or fall day there is no way in hell you would consider walking to MktSq and back for lunch, you are not Downtown. From the river to the upstairs Regas office spaces, from the L&N to the law offices in the Old City, I have walked to MktSq for a meal from all of those places and plenty inbetween. I know of no one who has walked from the Slantinel's fugly house-of-horrors to anywhere actually downtown. Hell, walking from there to the grocery store down the hill is likely pretty damn rare. That neighborhood they destroyed is not now, nor has it ever been, downtown.

They destroyed yet another Black neighborhood (son of urban removal) to build the 2nd ugliest building in Knoxville. On a Hill. So everyone driving on the interstate would know we had no class. Mission accomplished.

rocketsquirrel's picture

"son of urban renewal"

"son of urban renewal" indeed. Drove through there today on Western and thought about recent online conversations re the coliseum and thought the same damn thing. What a missed opportunity for infill development on an actual "center city" if not downtown scale.

Bbeanster's picture

The whole deal was a very

The whole deal was a very complex set of facts contingent on Ray Hand's agreeing to a land swap that put at least part of his operation down in the Coster Shop.

The whole thing was jeopardized when the Coster Shop turned out to be a Super Fund site, so the city put a premium on cleaning the place up.

Trucks hauled contaminated soil out of there day and night in order to meet the KNS deadline (imposed by the date-certain arrival of the gigantic printing press that had already been ordered from abroad).

A portion of the contaminated soil ended up in an illegal dumpsite in Brushy Valley in NW Knox County. Rikki Hall and i spent a couple of afternoons driving around looking for it before the story broke.

The bulk of it ended up in a South Knox County sink hole, where it contaminated a whole watershed and caused a not-inconsiderable scandal and considerable expense to the public. Doug Berry lost his job after giving a deposition that didn't suit TPTB and the utility district had to put water lines through difficult terrain b/c the wells were all ruined. As I recall, the haulers took most of the blame -- but they were clearly being pushed by the city to meet the deadline that would enable all the dominos to fall.

Rachel's picture

n/t

n/t

Bbeanster's picture

Woke up worrying about

Woke up worrying about whether I was remotely correct in my from-memory story.

Pretty close.

(link...)

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Hush-Hush

Nobody knows how much it cost taxpayers or what really happened because the parties were conveniently under a "gag order" after mediation.

Just enough info to let you know it didn't pass the smell test!

Bad Paper's picture

KNS PILOT for your eyes only

The KNS PILOT document from 2002. Did you feel it was worth $4 million dollars of your tax money to subsidize the Knoxville News Sentinel?

(link...)

Paging Chancellor Weaver...

fischbobber's picture

Cut to the chase

What clause was violated please and what was the time frame it was violated in? Is your complaint even legal ,relevant and timely? That's what a jury would be looking at.

Stick's picture

Please don't feed the trolls.

Please don't feed the trolls.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Sure, Stick, but now that the document is available either we find the clause BP is claiming or we don't. He should be able to direct us to it?

(EDIT: Found the exact clause BP cited previously at pdf page 12, which is entitled "Exhibit D: Cost Benefit Analysis." Don't know that those numbers cited constitute any "agreement," per se, but they are nevertheless indicative of an "expectation" on the part of the City.)

fischbobber's picture

Point taken

It's pretty clear why no one is stepping up and suing. It appears to be a non existent point of fact. I'm shocked. Shocked I say.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Well, the text BP cited is in there, but I'm afraid it likely doesn't constitute any contractual obligation.

There's a distinction to be made between an "expectation" part of a preliminary cost-benefit analysis and a "contractual obligation" part of an agreement, the former being only a good faith estimate.

I'm guessing that this is a situation in which the City, unfortunately, shot itself in the foot with a rosier-than-was-reasonable estimate of jobs to be had.

Bad Paper's picture

get literal now

(link...)

(link...)

As one of the main apologist, you need to get literal now. Good luck with that.

BTW, KNS is owned out of Milwaukee by the Journal Media Group. They will pay the taxes. So if you don't mind, it's time for some tax claw back.

Sooner or later it will be known as to who wrote that PILOT.

cwg's picture

NO.

KNS is still owned by EW Scripps. The Journal Media merger/spinoff won't happen until next year. Go away.

Bad Paper's picture

perfect

(link...)

That is great news. Then Scripps gets to pay the taxes. That is much more fair. Since they are the ones who screwed our taxpayers.

Claw back.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks, BP. Can you possibly save me a minute and direct me to this clause (these clauses?) you say detail a KNS obligation regarding number of persons employed? That's a long, convoluted document...

Bad Paper's picture

page 11 after Exhibit C

Cost Versus Benefit Analysis For Payment In Lieu Of Ad Valorem Tax

375 NEW jobs.

More later.

Cece's picture

Did the Sentinel create 375

Did the Sentinel create 375 new jobs from November 2001 to March 2003? Not according to Jamie Satterfield who said there were 480 employees when they moved in the new building in 2002. The chart Cost Versus Benefit Analysis For Payment In Lieu Of Ad Valorem Tax should be all that is needed for a lawsuit. And Tamara, how could you not see that? This is supposed to be your thing. You give into peer pressure so easily. I'm surprised at you.

I like to see this go to court. Commitments were made, contracts signed, and taxes abated. You can't trust the Sentinel. They should pay back a fair amount. They did not deserve a subsidy like this. It isn't right.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

The chart Cost Versus Benefit Analysis For Payment In Lieu Of Ad Valorem Tax should be all that is needed for a lawsuit. And Tamara, how could you not see that? This is supposed to be your thing. You give into peer pressure so easily. I'm surprised at you.

No "peer pressure" involved, Cece.

A cost-benefit analysis is, by definition, an estimate undertaken a priori, not a contractual agreement.

Furthermore, if you'll take another look at the page labeled "Exhibit D," the very first sentence in the second paragraph reads "the benefits to the City of Knoxville of entering into the PILOT agreement are not readily quantifiable."

If we're to be irritated with either party to this contract, I rather think it's the City.

Aside from under-estimating the likely number of new jobs to be netted from the agreement, this language quoted above almost makes it sound as if they're ceding any "quantifiable" benefit at all.

(Disclaimer to Bill and Scott: I do understand, however, that the ensuing revitalization of the "center city" and retaining the city's only remaining newspaper within the city limits are nevertheless "qualitative" benefits.)

Bbeanster's picture

Part of the deal was to

Part of the deal was to preserve the appearance of keeping jobs downtown, hence magically upending geography and commonsense and referring to Westview as "Center City."

michael kaplan's picture

Right. And I suppose

Right. And I suppose 'Mechanicsville' comes in handy, too.

Average Guy's picture

Somebody picked the wrong pony

Sansom and Hackney would have provided a better return.

Better yet, don't pick at all.

If a goverment is going to use public money in a Keynesian way, do what FDR did. Use it where it provides the most public good possible.

Picking winners and losers in private enterprise is, more often than not, going to have the taxpayer in the role of the loser.

Dahlia's picture

That explains...

Why KNS always seems so geographically impaired. It's all a ruse.

Awful Paper's picture

Bill Lyons is the main signer to this mess

Bill Lyons is the main signer. It is right in the first few pages. He made this deal and has run from it. Why? He should own up to it. The News Sentinel promised jobs and did not deliver. and the City should get the tax money back. All the sorry explaining by Satterfield and Rachel is easy to see through. Bad Paper is on target here.

Bill Lyons's picture

My signature and involvement

Bill Lyons is the main signer. It is right in the first few pages. He made this deal and has run from it. Why?

Mr. or Ms. Awful.

My signature is on an included document, the warranty deed conveying the property to the IDB. I signed it in my role as Board Chair representing the seller - KCDC.

I appreciate your attribution of authority in this matter but the parties to the PILOT arrangement were the City of Knoxville (through and with the Industrial Development Board) and the KNS.

On a personal note I have no interest in dodging responsibility for anything. Though I was wearing my KCDC hat I was, of course, aware of the bigger picture and supportive of keeping the KNS in the center city (if not downtown) but my core interest was in the redevelopment of and provision of economic opportunity for the Mechanicsville area.

KCDC was of course proactive with HOPE VI and later with Food City and Cherokee Health. The HOPE VI effort along with the KNS, Cherokee, Food City, and later, the distribution company have added many jobs, health and retail opportunities, and affordable quality housing to an area of the City that needed all.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks, Bill. We always appreciate your willingness to take a deep breath and dive into rollicking conversations like this one :-)

Dante's Beatrice's picture

Bill Lyons, thank you for your service

Mr Lyons, I know you are always very busy. Thanks for taking time to chime in here and help clarify effectively some of the issues in this discussion. I would like to ask one question, if I might. To the best of your memory, or perhaps in your records, who actually wrote the document seen below and known as the " PILOT for KNS".I feel sure you can help shed some light on the subject. Again, thanks for your years of service to our citizens.

The IDB Board of the City of Knoxville,TN " ..To " Knoxville News- Sentinel Company"
Lease....... Dated as of August 20, 2002

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*


...who actually wrote the document seen below and known as the " PILOT for KNS"...

From the website for the city's Industrial Development Board:

Board of Directors

The City IDB is governed by a nine member Board of Directors, appointed by the Knoxville City Council. The City IDB does not have employees, and administrative and management services for the City IDB are provided by The Development Corporation of Knox County.

So I guess the task is to determine who was prez/CEO of TDC around 2001=2002?

Bill Lyons's picture

PILOT Documents

Ms. Beatrice,

Thanks for the kind inquiry. I do not have any idea who prepared this or other PILOT documents during that time period. I was a full time faculty member at UT and served as in a volunteer capacity along with other KDCC Board members. At KCDC I was pretty overwhelmed with the Market Square Redevelopment process at the time this came before us. I had very little, if any direct contact with anyone at the City on the KNS matter and no contact whatsoever with anyone at the paper.

However what I have observed as standard practice along with earlier posted articles by Ms. Satterfield would lead one to believe that the energy behind this effort came from what was then the COK's Development Department led at that time by Doug Berry.

I can tell you the way it works now and has worked for the past decade. At this time and in recent years the COK redevelopment department negotiates substantive PILOT arrangements from the City end and presents the final version to Council for their approval after the Mayor and Sr. Staff have reviewed and signed on and negotiations have proven successful with other parties.

And in what is certainly not a surprising statement, I also can let you know that the final language of all such documents is, and I am sure was, hammered out by attorneys for all parties.

Finally, while we all appreciate your guidance I don't think there are a lot of folks interested in heading in the direction of Limbo right now.

Dante's Beatrice's picture

Thanks for your response

Thanks for your response. A few points and questions, if I might.
(1)Without my notes , I would forget what I did 5 months ago, much less 12 years.
(2)The process is interesting. It could be considered archetypal for things that have come after.
(3) Thanks to you and Ms Satterfield for the directional toward Mr Berry. As you well know,when working with grad students, the directional is often critical.
(4)In discussing the period in which you were involved with these matters,you articulated the process well.Even I could understand it. I think...
(5) In your experience there is a good deal of discussion , debate, and negotiation within the COK group and the recipient group.Then there is more negotiation between the COK group and the recipient group.That would indicate a high degree of mutuality of obligation because there was so much mutuality of content and consent.
(6)Then the lawyers hammered things out,probably in excruciating detail. Lawyers live for the jot and tittle. Once again, here is more mutuality to protect the interests of both parties.
(7)Then you said," Finally, while we all appreciate your guidance I don't think there are a lot of folks interested in heading in the direction of Limbo right now."
Now Bill, as you well know, Limbo was only the first of the 9 levels of Hell and is the home of the un baptized and the virtuous pagans.You could meet Homer, Hippocrates, Julius Caesar,Ovid, Aristotle, Cicero, or even Saladin there, in the castle with 7 gates..That is not a bad dinner party....Could it be the home of Exigency too, or is that item found a little further down?
(8)Brush up on your Dante..You know Bice Portinari was a woman and Beatrice of the Comedy was really "La gloriosa donna della mia mente" (the glorious lady of my mind).. a vision of something higher and more pure, a form of salvation through human experience and struggle..That is not a bad goal for all public servants, is it?.......
Thanks Bill.

Bill Lyons's picture

Insightful observations.

Thank you Beatrice for your insightful observations. I will heed your advice and re-read my Dante and will hope to gain greater appreciation for our virtuous pagan friends. We all certainly share a vision of something higher and greater.

My community vision has been for a walkable, bikeable, livable vibrant downtown and core of our city extending through our great neighborhoods. My civic vision is that of an engaged citizenry and responsive public officials. If we can return to the thread's origin, I know we all will miss Metro Pulse. It facilitated that civic vision.

I am a simple reformed academic from Memphis. We learned many things in and about the hallowed halls of Central High School (Go Warriors) including a realization that the inspiration from the language and imagery of great literature enhances any discussion. An added bit of humor is a bonus while being held accountable as we do the public's business.

Thanks for that.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I will say his point that "that is not a bad dinner party" made me chuckle...

Well, glad you waited until after that first cup of coffee to post, Bill. Yes, we'll all miss Metro Pulse.

fischbobber's picture

A hope for the future

When this era of Knoxville history is written, I do hope you get at least your own chapter. We in this community have been blessed to have stumbled upon your service. I've always been impressed at your ability to grasp the big picture as well as the day to day details and find the qualities you bring to be greatly beneficial to both the community and administrations you've served.

You sir, have a thankless job which you perform with a grace and competence I haven'y witnessed before your arrival, nor expect to see after your departure.

Thanks for viewing competence as the hallmark of your achievements (at least that's what it looks like) and for being able to work around the inevitable conflicts that arise from making a decision.

Thanks for all you do. Sometimes people don't hear that enough.

politicalleverage's picture

Own Chapter? No, Dr. Lyons will have his own encyclopedia!

From the Pavilion on Market Square, to the top notch leadership team he had helped assemble after a strong transition period when Haslam became Governor. I don't think our society will ever understand just how valuable, and more importantly how integral, Dr. Bill Lyons is to Knoxville.
I would venture to say if anyone ever creates a real power ranking list of people who are right now the catalyst of making Knoxville great, Dr. Bill Lyon's name would be number 1. That is no disrespect to anyone.

He is one of the most professional, involved, government employees; I have ever met. For him to spend what little time he went into detail covering something he did about 12 years ago, is remarkable. Once again, his passion for keeping open and transparency highlights his professionalism.

Bill Lyons's picture

Thanks

Thanks Bob, Dan, Tamara, and a whole lot more folks. I appreciate the kind words. But the progress we have made in our little town is attributable to a very wide range of people providing ideas, asking questions, rolling up their sleeves, researching, reminding us of our history, and just plain making sure none of us becomes too insular or comfortable.

This and like discussions do remind those of us who are fortunate enough to do the public's work that we need to keep from getting overly prickly when we are challenged and or criticized or prodded. I sure need such reminders; I am really glad that Knoxviews is here.

Dante's Beatrice's picture

Bill, I have just one more question.

Hey Bill,thanks for your patience and your sense of humor. Thanks for taking the time to participate here.
I have just one more question.I heard a rumor about the city and the PILOT-KNS contract.I was told it was common knowledge among some folks ( clearly not me) that this PILOT was modified at the very end of the process by someone on the city side. According to this account, the final working papers of the PILOT that came from COK staff were very specific on the economic issues and job numbers necessary for KNS to qualify for and maintain the PILOT.Then someone on the city side modified the document so as to somehow soften and reduce the specific concrete metrics of compliance, thereby making classic enforcement more problematic.I know you had no direct involvement with this PILOT, but have you heard this . If so, do you put any stock in it? Just thought I would ask.In any event, thanks for all you have done and will do for Scruffy.
Here are a couple of thoughts from one of my favorites.Thanks Bill

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare:my business is to create..William Blake
...but...
The eye altering, alters all..William Blake

Bill Lyons's picture

Viability of a "last minute" scenario

Beatrice,

My answer may not be consistent with what has been put forward but I will offer it nonetheless. The notion that a PILOT was changed by one party (COK), to the favor of the other party (KNS), at “the last minute” does not really comport itself at all well with the process by which such agreements take on legal status.

A PILOT is voted on by both Council and the board of the Industrial Development Board. The documents approved by each must be identical. Hence there can be no changes between approval by the Council and subsequent approval by the IDB. So there is no change, last minute or otherwise, once the documents begin their public journey though the legislative process for final post-approval signing by all the parties.

So what about a change effected prior to public release? There really is nothing that meaningfully meets the criteria of “last minute” prior to the official public unveiling of the PILOT, usually on the Thursday prior to the Council meeting on the following Tuesday. Documents are often in flux right up to their being sent to Council on these alternate Thursdays. Admittedly it might be possible for the City to make a change in a document without alerting the other party but that would be self-defeating because the other party would simply not sign the final document presented to them after final approval by the IDB.

The scenario posited here would be consistent with a change that the other party (KNS) would find in their interest. In such a case any changes would be part of the usual lawyerly back and forth and nobody would be aggrieved and the public process would not be shortchanged.

Simply put, once the documents are public and open to inspection by the media and by City Council there is no changing them except through the public amending process. Prior to their being made public there really is no eleventh hour change that has conceptual meaning. The hypothetical interest would either be in agreement with the change and not victimized by some sort of skulduggery or, if not in agreement, just announce that they would not support these 11th hour changes and walk away.

I appreciate your asking about my reaction to this theory but in my opinion it does not stand much logical scrutiny. Therefore I would want to see some real evidence of changes (pre and post documents and dates associated with each) before lending any credence at all to this narrative. Thanks.

fischbobber's picture

Apologies to Leroy Mercer

But what about the conspiracy? Seems like I've got you.

barkers's picture

ownership

Just so everybody's on the same page, the News Sentinel is still owned by Scripps. The new parent company of KNS, Journal Media, does not exist yet (which is why it doesn't have a webpage). The SEC and the FCC need to sign off on the deal before it's done. That should happen sometime in 2015.

There is a lot of misinformation in this thread that would take way too much of my time to correct. If you think journalism is easy, take the time and effort to verify what you post.

michael kaplan's picture

Does anyone know why Metro

Does anyone know why Metro Pulse was sold to Brian Conley in the first place?

Bbeanster's picture

Joe got worn out with

Joe got worn out with subsidizing MP. I never got up enough nerve to quiz him about hard numbers, but I heard he was losing up to 6 figures per year. He's rich, but not stupid, and he kept it as a labor of love for a long, long time.

michael kaplan's picture

So I assume Conley was also

So I assume Conley was also losing money. Wonder if a potential buyer was already in consideration at the time he bought it ...

j.f.m.'s picture

So I assume Conley was also

So I assume Conley was also losing money.

I do not know everything about Metro Pulse's finances through the years, but I know more than everybody posting on this thread so far, and my advice is that people should not assume anything about anything. Metro Pulse was run in different ways by different people at different times, and the business side of the operation reflected those shifting priorities. The editorial side -- the side people really identified with and cared about -- had a more consistent through-line, but there was a lot of variation there, too. (Particularly in the years Coury wasn't involved.)

michael kaplan's picture

So, was Conley losing money

So, was Conley losing money or not? Someone should know the answer to that simple question. And what were the circumstances of MP's sale to KNS?

j.f.m.'s picture

I didn't work there then. I

I didn't work there then. I know enough about it to know not to speculate. All I can tell you is that you should not assume anything about it.

michael kaplan's picture

this is beginning to sound

this is beginning to sound like the NSA :)

j.f.m.'s picture

Not at all. It's just that in

Not at all. It's just that in the past week a lot of people have become armchair experts on Metro Pulse, and most of them have no idea what they're talking about. It's not my place for a variety of reasons to speak on behalf of the paper, but I can at least discourage ill-informed speculation.

Average Guy's picture

Patrick Birmingham's business,

is the public's business.

He made it so.

I wouldn't want the public speculating on the inner workings of my business entities, but then I didn't go to the public with my hand out.

fischbobber's picture

The Conley years

I'd always heard they were a bit more involved and complex than that. That's the thing about gossip though. You have to be careful about what to believe and what to pass on as truth.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

And Cece, AG cites yet another, more rudimentary, reason to be more irritated with the city than with KNS over this contract. He said (above):

Picking winners and losers in private enterprise is, more often than not, going to have the taxpayer in the role of the loser.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Just looked in on current TDC prez Todd Napier's LinkedIn page to see that he left local engineering firm Barge, Waggner, Sumner and Cannon in May 2001.

His next position listed is his current one with TDC, so--unless he saw some gap in employment (his page doesn't offer any start date at TDC)--Napier was likely TDC prez around 2001-2002.

Does anyone know differently?

Lisa Starbuck's picture

TDC

The Development Corporation of Knox County

December 2000

Board of Directors
# Pat Wood, Sr., President
# Hank Bertelkamp, Vice-President
# Sharon Miller, Secretary-Treasurer
# Lee Iglehart, Chair, Property & Construction Committee
# Leo Cooper, Chair, Knox County Commission
# Frank Leuthold, Chair, Commission Finance Committee
# Howard Pinkston, Chair, Commission Economic Development Committee
# Tom Schumpert, County Executive
# Richard Maples, Chair, Technology & Training Committee

TDC Staff
# Melissa A. Ziegler, Executive Director
# David Swanner, Director of Economic Development
# Robin Holt, Budget Officer
# Douglas Lawyer, Development Manager
# Brenda Ogle, Research Assistant

November 2001

Board of Directors
# Hank Bertelkamp, President
# Lee Iglehart, Vice-President
# Sharon Miller, Secretary - Treasurer
# Ron Loving
# Bill Baxter
# Richard Maples, Chair, Technology & Training Committee
# Tom Schumpert, Knox County Executive
# Victor Ashe, Mayor, City of Knoxville
# Frank Leuthold, Chair, Commission Finance Committee
# Howard Pinkston, Chair, Commission Economic

TDC Staff
# Melissa A. Ziegler, Executive Director
# Robin Holt, Director of Administration
# Todd Napier, Director of Development
# Brenda Ogle, Administrative Assistant
# Jennifer Flatford, Administrative Assistant

December 2002

Board of Directors
# Hank Bertelkamp, President
# Lee Iglehart, Vice-President
# Sharon Miller, Secretary-Treasurer
# Bill Baxter
# Richard Maples, Chair, Technology & Training Committee
# Mike Ragsdale, Knox County Executive
# Victor Ashe, Mayor, City of Knoxville
# David Collins, Chair, Knox County Commission
# John Griess, Chair, Commission Finance Committee
# Wanda Moody, Chair, Commission Economic Development Committee
# Dr. Clifton Woods

TDC Staff
# Jim Harrison, Executive Vice President
# Todd Napier, Director of Development
# Robin Holt, Director of Administration
# Brenda Ogle, Administrative Assistant
# Jennifer Flatford, Administrative Assistant

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Thanks, Lisa. It looks like Napier landed at TDC in 2001, sometime soon after his May departure from BWSC Engineering, and moved up through the ranks to this prez/CEO position indicated on his LinkedIn page (which I guess is the "Director" position, as your roster calls it?)

Looking at that November 2001 roster, though, would your guess be that Executive Director Ziegler or Director of Development Napier led the effort on the KNS PILOT?

Lisa Starbuck's picture

TDC Positions

I believe Mr. Napier only became President/CEO very recently. No idea who worked on it or to what extent TDC was involved in the KNS PILOT.

Bad Paper's picture

Knoxville Chamber breaks all records

(link...)

"Birmingham also noted the Chamber set a record for member retention for the second consecutive year with renewals of more than 90 percent. The organization has about 2,200 members."

No mention of the killing of one important business.

Good work Y'all.

Dante's Beatrice's picture

"Buying of District 2 by Big Oil and Big Chamber"?

Mr Birmingham, a few questions please:
(1) Why not a word about the death of a long time member, the Metro Pulse...Some claim that the MP voluntarily used the Kevorkian Thanatron....However, the KV Forensics Team has detected your fingerprints on a pillow near the body.Comments? Or is it time to lawyer up?

(2) Will you or Mike Edwards publicly apologize on behalf of the Chamber for the scurrilous public attack on newly appointed BOE District 2 member John Fugate by Chamber luminary J Laurens Tullock? If not why not? Mr Fugate is a long time resident and a distinguished , well respected business man of BOE District 2. Was the attack really directed beyond Mr Fugate toward Jamie Rowe and anyone in District 2 who would dare defy your machine in the election? Do you typically try to intimidate everybody to get what you want?

(3)Why is the Chamber ( along with the Mt Lonas Olympus crowd) trying to buy a District 2 BOE seat for the wife of a Pilot Oil employee? Why flood money into the home district of the BOE member your crony attacked publicly? What is really at stake? Were promises made to people who don't tolerate failure?

(4)Did the Metro Pulse have to be euthanized to avoid too much attention being given to the "Buying of District 2 by Big Oil and Big Chamber"?

Rachel's picture

Is this thread about Metro

Is this thread about Metro Pulse, the BOE, or the KNS PILOT?

I've lost track.

michael kaplan's picture

Is this thread about Metro

Is this thread about Metro Pulse, the BOE, or the KNS PILOT?

or Bill Lyons?

I think you've hit on something, Rachel. If you look for the connections, the dots do connect ...

R. Neal's picture

Also about layoffs at KNS

Also about recurring layoffs at KNS (and the jobs lost at MP which were also Scripps) so PILOTS, any related jobs, etc. are relevant but it sounds as though the clock has run out on that.

(I'm sure I'll regret this comment.)

rocketsquirrel's picture

I am so confused. lol. How

I am so confused. lol.

How about an independent kickstarter campaign to fund investigative reporting scholarships at the Daily Beacon? May be all we got left. I'm sure the Haslams would snuff that out, too. But sure would be fun as hell to try.

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

In my opinion, I'd expect more shut downs after end of year

Not sure what Scripps will be looking to flush before the merger with the print properties from Journal next year, but the shut down of the Pulse was, in my opinion, a cold calculated shut down of a viable property in a manner such that the individuals could not form a competing publication to compete with the remnants of the KNS prior to the merger or the surviving operation following the merger with Journal and the movement of all command and control capability to Milwaukee.

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

KNS sweetheart land deal was a Victor Ashe project

In my opinion, the newspaper's new digs were engineered solely by Victor Ashe in his effort to again avoid any public media analysis, criticism, or accountability of his well documented failings as the Mayor of Knoxville.

He had hoped for a plum appointment as the ambassador to England, France, or Germany, however, in a true gesture of presidential genius, George Bush appointed Victor Ashe to serve as ambassador to that most critical of all U.S. allies, the nation of . . . . . Poland.

Bad Paper's picture

quid pro quo?

I've heard that the draft copy of the KNS PILOT had strict jobs requirements for the KNS and at the last minute Mayor Victor Ashe removed those contractual jobs requirements.

R. Neal was right about the statue of limitations for a claw back lawsuit from a taxpayer. It's too late. Confirmed today by an attorney.

However, in the next hour or so I will have a story from City View in 2001 on Google Docs that will call into question what Mayor Victor Ashe did in those final moments. There is no statue of limitations on fraud. Knox County may have recourse to get tax money from the City of Knoxville.

Also, the WNFZ radio program this week on the KNS PILOT will be on Google Docs too.

Bad Paper's picture

City View 2001 Part 1

Apologies. It is upside down. Download it and flip it.

(link...)

This story confirms almost all of the WNFZ radio program earlier this week.

Somewhere is a draft copy of the KNS PILOT. Former Mayor Ashe has some explaining to do. About $4 million dollars worth.

Pam Strickland's picture

What I think needs to happen

What I think needs to happen now is that the half a dozen or so groups that I've hears are talking about pursuing an alt weekly of some sort need to combine their efforts. It will takes tons of money, so it will be easier if they work together than if they are competing against one another.

Mike Knapp's picture

All down with a local make a go of it

But part of me feels that if I were to do it all over again I'd practice a pitch and make a call to Berskshire Hathaway media group To explore getting some real capital and perhaps a touch of quasi ideological/editorial/managerial opposition to position behind a stellar long form weekly. A hellbender press founder works for one of their properties in Virginny, says they make it work and treat their employees well. Hell, they're actually HIRING journalists at the daily where he is. This going against the obvious trendlines. Perhaps that paper's conflicted reporters would at least feel ok with writing stories about how it's main owner thinks he needs to be taxed more.

Bad Paper's picture

Jamie Satterfield was wrong about Mike Howard

The audio for WNFZ KNS PILOT is up now:

(link...)

It tracks well with the City View 2001 article:

(link...)

Good reporting is good reporting regardless of the medium.

Jamie said, "And your link? Well I listened and not only did these radio hacks NOT have the TIF agreement in hand, all they did was spout what you claimed on this blog. They didn't even know the TIF had expired - two freakin' years ago."

You owe Mike Howard an apology.

East K's picture

very good reporting

"Good reporting is good reporting regardless of the medium."

Speaking of good reporting. You have done a great job digging this story out. This is a story that needs to be reviewed. Back in 2001 people knew the taxpayers would being stolen from. The Sentinel avoids $4 million dollars in taxes and enjoys a $50 million dollar facility while paying taxes on only a $10 million dollar facility?

How is that not fraud?

(link...)

"In that same document, the mayor played yet another card one
that would truly make this a plum-of-a-deal the News-Sentinel
could not refuse: tax abatement. Under the umbrella of redeveloping
the area designated a CCBN-where special incentives
are available to bring in new jobs-Ashe agreed to seek the
approval of the Industrial Development Board to require the
News-Sentinel to pay only the amount of real and personal property
taxes it had been paying for its old location downtown for
the first ten years at the new site.
Is it possible that so much public money-in the form of millions
of dollars in creative land values and tax abatements-is
being handed over to a publicly-owned, for-profit business? The
News-Sentinel turned down CityView's request for an interview,
but last September, Mayor Ashe specifically denied that tax
incentives were a part of the deal. He said, "There are not tax
incentives ... (the city) will own a portion of a block of valuable
real estate on Church Street (sic)." However, as the Letter of
Intent signed by Ashe and Hartmann clearly states, "The City
Council will be requested to adopt a resolution authorizing the
Industrial Development Board or the City of Knoxville to negotiate
an in-lieu-of-tax agreement with the News-Sentinel relating to
proposed new facility ... (providing) that the News-Sentinel
will make payments in-lieu-of-taxes for the first ten years after
the News-Sentinel's new facility is first placed in service in an
amount equal to the annual real and personal property taxes now
being paid to the City and County."
You do the math: The current News-Sentinel tax appraisals are
$2,771,400 (real property), and $7,295,263 (personal property).
The tax on each is $2.70 per hundred dollars of assessed value, so
last year's combined taxes were $92 thousand on the total value
of just over $10 million. The $50 million value of the (new)
News-Sentinel project, once completed, will result in much higher
taxes, but the newspaper will pay only the present amount for ten
years. Don't be shocked to learn that approximately $4 million in
taxes will never be collected by the City, while the News-Sentinel
enjoys a $50 million dollar facility but pays taxes on only a $10
million facility.
So, with the land, adjacent tracts, grading, street improvements,
the incentive to Hand and tax abatements, this is becoming
some pie! So far, that's about $8 or $9 million. Now, look at
what the newspaper is paying.
How about a vacant lot on Church Avenue, which is appraised
at $615,0007 Deduct the value of this trade-in and it appears that
the newspaper is getting between $7 and $8 million dollars from
the taxpayers."

Bad Paper's picture

City View 2001 Part 1 right side up

(link...)

You can read it now online. And you can copy and paste now.

Awful Paper's picture

Kaplan is right.Connect the

Kaplan is right.Connect the dots. This article makes some things clear. First, despite what Bill Lyons said the jobs were taken out of the PILOT. Why? To get a sweetheart deal through. The final nail was the shutdown of the Metro Pulse. It was making money so it must have been to shut down voices of protest and to put the lid on stories. Shameful

Dahlia's picture

What is interesting to me...

is that E.W. Scripps has spun off their newspapers to focus on TV and broadcasting, then KNS drops their money-making paper - the Metro Pulse AND completely sabotages their website - making it extremely difficult to maneuver, follow or comment on.

This is the most ass-backward thing I've ever seen. People aren't reading papers anymore, they go to the internet. Do they honestly think they can make a comeback this way?

I'm just having a really hard time figuring out what in the hell they're doing. It's almost as if they're trying their best to NOT inform people of what's going on in our town, and so far, that's about the only thing they've been truly successful at doing.

Pickens's picture

News Sentinel subscription cost going up over 20%

Just got a letter from the paper. Monthly rates for seven day a week home subscription going up over 20%.

Stick's picture

Sad

This is really devolving into parody. One jackass is having a conversation with his own nyms.

Dahlia's picture

Not sure who you're referring to,

but if you're talking about me, I assure you, I am one person with one user name only.

Stick's picture

Not you... the bad paper,

Not you... the bad paper, awful paper, East K, and others... I really like it when he compliments himself.

Dahlia's picture

Oh okay

I'm not a fan of people who use multiple user names. Thanks for the heads up.

Bad Paper's picture

oh that hurts

You make it sound like I stole $7 million dollars from the taxpayers, like Victor let the Sentinel do. They commit one of the biggest frauds in history and kill the Metro Pulse but you'll defend them. Closet Republican? I won't tell.

Curious how the McIntyre defenders defend the Sentinel. Quite curious. BTW, your boy McIntyre isn't having much luck since you left town.

I like how you take a page from the Broad Academy handbook. Since there can be no real dissent, it must be the work on one singular crackpot. It's so much worse than you know. I actually went back in time and wrote those stories in City View. Like to see you do that.

Somebody's picture

You've connected all the dots...

..but one.

Aliens!

Bad Paper's picture

yeah right

Even Joe Sullivan knew this was a rip off in 2001.

(link...)

I just got my first copy of Knoxville.com in print. It is a phone book. With movie reviews from other cities.

But it's easier to make fun of those who want to see something done than to care about how bad a deal this was. Strange how Victor had such allure with so called Progressives. Haslam too.

michael kaplan's picture

That Joe Sullivan article is

That Joe Sullivan article is a reminder of how solid the MP reporting was ...

Dahlia's picture

On the other hand...

if E.W. Scripps is still in control then maybe this is their intention - leave the papers as lame ducks so the focus will shift to TV and broadcasting.

Bad Paper's picture

City View 2001 Part II

Here is the other City View article showing Victor Ashe and his dealings with the KNS PILOT. You see, it was for the greater good. That's how Victor can sleep at night after robbing the people of Knoxville and Knox County to the tune of between $4 million and $8 million dollars. And isn't it curious how the Sentinel never went after Victor? Quid Pro Quo? There is no statute of limitations on fraud.

(link...)

Knox County should go to the City of Knoxville for the tax dollars it lost. At least investigate it. Find out who did what and when. And people wonder why people in the county don't trust city government. And no one should trust the Knoxville News Sentinel. Ever. They've show their colors.

Leland Wykoff's picture

IDB Role And Mission

Important to remember the mission of the Industrial Development Board. Simple to find:

"The Industrial Development Board may acquire, develop, lease and sell property to facilitate new businesses locating to Knoxville or assist businesses in expanding their operations. The board may also issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to assist in the financing of projects."

Note the duty of the IDB does not include supporting businesses in *contracting* their operations. Only expansions are authorized. Thus job creation net gains are baked into the mission of the IBD.

KNS began contracting virtually upon arrival at the new facility. Thus bringing into question the appropriateness of the various subsidies, abatements, condemnations, transfers, and tax forbearance of public wealth to Scripps.

(link...)

Bad Paper's picture

right on

"KNS began contracting virtually upon arrival at the new facility. Thus bringing into question the appropriateness of the various subsidies, abatements, condemnations, transfers, and tax forbearance of public wealth to Scripps."

My point exactly. The KNS should never have gotten the deed release without clawing back taxes. And that happened through the Haslam and Brown administrations.

The KNS screwed the taxpayers even before they moved in. How was this not a Quid Pro Quo?

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

If the KNS were paying an appropriate level of taxes

within the city and the county for their "state of the art newsroom and production facilities", they would have closed up show down here a couple of years ago.

But they had a sweetheart deal that wasn't available to other newspapers regarding their real property and ad valorem taxes, so the other papers took harder hits that the KNS in terms of their ongoing operations.

With the rag not paying a full measure of taxes, its easy to see why they take the positions they do with pouring more money into schools, public development, pro administration, public transportation, etc. since virtually only a fraction of their true tax bill is even being paid at all.

Just waiting for lil' Jack McIlroy to get his walking papers and hit the road.

Leland Wykoff's picture

Economic Development Fund Abuse

For a review of how Economic Development Funds can be abused, misdirected, and improperly allocated:

(link...)

Watch for the fallout and criminal charges.

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