Gannett Unveils Plan for The Commercial Appeal



Gannett announced a new plan Wednesday that will better align its Tennessee properties into a single news team, but The Commercial Appeal’s editor, Louis Graham, said Memphis coverage decisions will still be made here.
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Graham announced a raft of changes for city’s biggest daily newspaper in a letter from the editor published on the paper’s website Wednesday afternoon. The announcement came after a "Tennessee Town Hall" meeting Wednesday morning promised Tuesday by Gannett leaders in Nashville.

Beginning what Graham called a “historic transformation” for the paper started Tuesday as 20 newsroom staffers were let go in Memphis. Layoffs also came to Gannett newsrooms in Nashville and Knoxville.

Graham promised a “continued, aggressive” focus on expanding the paper’s digital content. He also promised a renewed focus on the suburbs. Also, the paper will create a new beat focused on diversity issues.

As far as staff, Graham went only into a few specifics. Here are some of those he mentioned:

Giannotto • Tom Schad and Mark Giannotto will remain on the Tigers beat

• Ron Tillery will remain full time on the Grizzlies.

• Marc Perrusquia remains as investigative report (with a project on Memphis gun violence slated to begin next week).

• Mark Russell has been moved from the managing editor position to manage the opinion pages.

• Columnist David Waters will remain and will expand his coverage of the faith community.

Many worried Tuesday that control of the newspaper would be largely yielded to leaders in Nashville. Graham said that won’t happen.

“Through all of these changes I promise some constants: coverage decisions will be made locally, in our newsroom, and the CA will maintain its strong voice in Memphis, for Memphis,” Graham said.

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