The sad death of “The City Paper”


by Dave Carew

A few days ago, SouthComm, which owns the Nashville Scene, The City Paper, the Nashville Post, and other publications, announced The City Paper—after a proud, nearly-thirteen-year run—finally was folding. I’m guessing most people in the city felt as I did when they heard the news: sad but not surprised.

The paper–which recently had slipped to a rather tawdry-looking news-print presentation—seemed to have lost its focus. The fundamental question, “What IS The City Paper?” seemed more and more difficult to answer—even for those of us with great affection for it. It became increasingly difficult to perceive what its mission was vis a vis The Tennessean and the Nashville Scene.

I don’t know why that happened, because it certainly wasn’t always like that. When the paper debuted in the autumn of 2000 it had a clear, obvious mission: to be Nashville’s free alternative daily. To provide a broader spectrum of opinion than the perceived-as-left-wing-and-resented-for-it Tennessean. To offer the city new voices in journalism, such as the excellent business writer William Williams and others from the staff of Boyer Barner’s quirky, still-missed InReview and other local publications. (I contributed numerous columns to the paper, as well.)

Some day someone should write a history of all the alternative publications that have sprung up and then died in our fair city. It would be a story of passion and honor and commitment to journalism and the arts that would stir the mind and warm the heart. And it would feature a lot of heroes.

The final edition of The City Paper will be published on Friday, August 9. To view the publication online, please visit:

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at and Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit and/or the page on Facebook:

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.


Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew


One Response to “The sad death of “The City Paper””

  1. rachel Gladstone Says:

    Well said Dave. Still, despite their fall from editorial grace, there were a lot of talented writers and editors that tried their best to make a go of this once-well-received, alternative news rag. Sorry to see it go!

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