Paper A or Paper B? Take your pick

Posted on December 13, 2009

A lot of people don’t realize that I spent two years as a staff writer for a small newspaper in northern Shelby Country, which is how I met Erica Lee, the girl that always calls me “Pumpkin”.

So when it comes to journalism, not saying that I am an expert at knowing trends, but I know a good newspaper when I see one.

I was tweeting with a couple of experts last night about the focal point of the Commercial Appeal’s twit coverage on sports aside from other aspects of the newspaper versus the Tennessean, Nashville’s newspaper.

According to the latest stats, the Tennessean’s daily circulation is 174,073, which would count for the 39 counties in Middle Tennessee that it serves, including Davidson, Cheatham, Sumner, Wilson, Dickson, Williamson, and Rutherford counties  in Tennessee and the 8 counties that it serves in southern Kentucky.

The Commercial Appeal’s daily circulation count stood at 150,652, which would count for the Memphis metro area as a whole.

But circulation doesn’t mean anything when it comes to quality for your hometown newspaper.

For a time in the 90’s, the Commercial Appeal used to have a weekly section called “Neighbors”, something that yours truly was in quite a lot during his elementary and middle school days. The purpose of that section in the newspaper was to make it community-focused.

In the middle of the decade, the Commercial Appeal debuted the “My Life” section for the Local News and then followed that with the Desoto Appeal.

Not bad if you want to become more local, right?


The Tennessean, on the other hand, knows what it takes to be a great local newspaper and if you follow their bureaus on Twitter like I do, they seem to get the idea that 40 percent of their readership don’t care about what the Titans or the Vols did on a particular day.

They understand it.

What will it take for Memphis to get the picture for their newspaper?

You tell me.

Posted in: Newspapers