Alan Sims, aka Knoxville Urban Guy, published a great roundup of local independent journalism this week. Not only did it feature Hard Knox Wire, it also included our friends at Compass and Hellbender Press.
Alan was neighborly enough to let us reprint the opening section of his article, followed by a link to the full story. It’s well worth reading, as is his entire website. Here goes…..
The media landscape has, as we all know, drastically shifted in recent years, both locally and globally. Twenty-five years ago it would have been difficult to imagine a significant city without a daily paper, but that has become the case in a number of cities as revenue has diminished and costs of print media has skyrocketed. Cities, like Knoxville, which once had two print newspapers, now have one. The one is much thinner and has seen readership decline.
Twenty-four hour news channels have impacted the kinds of coverage we’ve come to expect, with “breaking news” coming in by the minute. As readership viewership has become more fragmented, the financial model for ad revenue both for print and television is strained. Internet sites with international and national news have proliferated, often with a bias in one political direction or another and we’ve found our camps, probably to the detriment of society.
Locally, as our two newspapers of record became one, which has become much smaller in print and in staffing, others have stepped in to fill the void. Metro Pulse was clearly the leading independent voice in local news for over 20 years, running from the early 1990s to 2014. After a succession of owners, it fell into the hands of Scripps, the company which owned the News Sentinel at the time. After several years of ownership, they unceremoniously closed the paper and later removed their decades of content from the internet.
In 2014, as the community attempted to make sense of the loss, several responses emerged a new focus settled in on the other independent voices. I wrote an article in December of 2014 updating the media situation. Blank Newspaper (see below) stood as the remaining print alternative and they continue today. I covered Knox Zine, which is still online, but hasn’t updated in a couple of years. Hard Knox Independent was a new effort at print news which never got off the ground.
At the same time, the Knoxville History Project was founded and is, thankfully, still doing great work. Unfortunately, Mercury, the print newspaper associated with it, and the heir apparent to Metro Pulse, lasted less than three years before it was forced to close due to a lack of advertising revenue.
And so, of the five news sources mentioned in my article, only Blank Newspaper (founded in 2007) and Inside of Knoxville (founded in 2010) remain. Below is a breakdown of current independent voices which are operating in Knoxville today. In addition to the two above, one has been operational for several years and two are new. Since the closure of Mercury in 2017, only Blank Newspaper publishes in print. Much of the content below was produced by the respective news organizations.
All the sources I’m highlighting below not only provide local news and information, they do so in a professional and ethical manner. The democratization of the internet allows anyone with the time, interest, and a small amount of money to start a news outlet. There are no safeguards that ensure honesty and integrity nor any understanding or appreciation of ethics. These sources have those qualities….
(Click below on “Inside Of Knoxville” to read the full story)