The Nashville Ledger, the rebranded successor to the 32-year-old Westview suburban weekly, recently expanded local business news coverage and introduced a new print layout and online presence.
The Memphis-based Daily News Publishing Co. (DNPC), long owned by CEO Peter Schutt, bought the Westview from the family of its founder, the late Doug Underwood, nearly a year ago, according to Publisher Eric Barnes. Barnes declined to provide details of privately held DNPC's finances or ownership.
Asked whether DNPC plans to enter additional markets in the region, Barnes said only, "We're always open to expansion." The company publishes the Memphis Daily News five days per week online and a free weekly print edition. Those products have [corrected] 3,000 subscribers for the daily and 20,000 placed in newswracks for the weekly, Barnes said.
"We’ll report on the courts, publish public records and public notices, and do the other things traditionally associated with a legal paper, but we also want to be interesting to a broader audience of business people and general readers, as well as being more visually appealling than the traditional legal paper," Barnes explained in an e-mailed response to questions from VNC.
Relaunch of The Ledger coincides with DNPC's "major upgrade" of a sister Tennessee and Nashville real-estate information service, Chandler Reports, Barnes noted. Chandler is targeted toward real estate pros, bankers and government officials, Barnes said. The Ledger will soon "add more public records, an email edition, downloadable lists, more mapping" and other features, Barnes added.
Barnes said he hopes The Ledger's print-version pickup will hit 20,000 by year's-end, from the current 7,500. The paper's website offers subscription options for Nashville and Middle Tennessee; "All of Tennessee (excluding Memphis)"; and, print-only access (without deep web access).
Lyle Graves is The Nashville Ledger's general manager and executive editor. His earlier career included stints as editor-in-chief of HealthLeaders.com and Nashville Banner politics editor, assistant managing editor and technology projects editor. Graves is a 1984 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.
Underwood (left), the founder of the original Westview in 1978, began his journalism career in 1949, and served in reporter, photographer, sports writer and other roles, before trying his hand in broadcast journalism with WLAC and WSM in Nashville. Underwood also founded Westview Publishing Co. Inc.'s book publishing division, which was later led by his daughter, Paula Underwood Winters.
Barnes has been with DNPC eight years, and previously spent six years in several operations and editorial roles with Memphis-based Towery Publishing. Towery, bought by a Chicago firm in 2001, publishes community-oriented media in collaboration with chambers of commerce, among other products, according to a Memphis Business Journal story. Barnes also served in editorial roles with I.O. Publishing and Healthcare Satellite Broadcasting. He holds a Connecticut College bachelor's in English and a Columbia University fine arts (writing) master's, according to LinkedIn. VNC