Apr 7, 2022 - Business

New outlet begins publishing Friday

Image courtesy of Nashville Banner
Image: courtesy of Nashville Banner

Nonprofit news organization Nashville Banner is publishing its first story Friday.

  • The soft launch comes three years after editor Steve Cavendish announced plans to establish a new outlet.

Why it matters: Cavendish pitches the Banner as "a direct response to the decline of public service journalism" in Nashville. The outlet has ambitious plans to hire a 10-person newsroom focused on government, courts, education and investigative reporting.

  • Cavendish tells Axios he and executive producer Demetria Kalodimos will begin publishing stories twice a month as the outlet prepares to launch at scale.

Yes, but: He and Kalodimos are still working to raise the funds necessary to staff the newsroom by the end of the year.

  • Cavendish says the Banner is more than halfway toward a goal of raising $2 million from local donors.
  • "We finally got some traction," he says. "To say the pandemic put the brakes on fundraising is putting it mildly."

Driving the news: Their first story, focused on upcoming judicial elections, will be released via the Banner First Look newsletter.

Flashback: The Banner takes its name from the city's afternoon newspaper, which stopped publishing in 1998. While the paper had a conservative editorial bent, Cavendish and Kalodimos say the new organization will be politically agnostic and will not include opinion pieces.

What she's saying: Kalodimos, a renowned broadcast journalist who worked at WSMV for nearly 34 years, tells Axios she is excited to infuse the Banner's coverage with institutional knowledge that puts the city's evolution into context.

  • "It will be news that informs and educates you in your daily life," she says. "My to-do file is bursting at the seams."
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