Burch: 'City Paper' closing

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 1:13am
By Michael R. Burch

It has been a distinct honor and a real pleasure to have been allowed to write a weekly column for The City Paper these last three years. But I’m glad that I didn’t quit my day job, because professional journalism is becoming a very tough financial row to hoe.

As more and more content becomes free on the Internet, it becomes harder and harder to get readers to pay for anything non-copyright-able, like the news. And as advertisers devote more and more of their budgets to Internet heavyweights like Google and YouTube, it becomes harder and harder for smaller publishers to earn enough advertising money to stay afloat. I believe The City Paper has been a consistently good publication that is now shutting down through no fault of its own — a victim of demographics.

Unfortunately, many other outstanding small news outfits will soon follow suit. Such is the march of progress, one supposes. But sometimes “progress” means settling for a cheap aluminum can, rather than a fist-satisfying pewter tankard.

And such “progress” is not limited to newspapers and pubs. In a recent flashy presentation to well-heeled advertisers, Google’s Eric Schmidt didn’t predict that Internet video will one day surpass TV viewing. Instead, according to him, it’s already happened. Schmidt said that “the future is now” for YouTube, which recently passed one billion unique visitors per month. But he’s already talking about six or seven billion.

Obviously, if Google, YouTube, Facebook and a few other Internet heavyweights get billions of visitors per month, they can suck in huge amounts of advertising money, creating enormous vacuums elsewhere in the ether. In the writing world, quality normally means much more than quantity ... but not if no one can find the words.

I hope all my colleagues at The City Paper are able to land on their feet. I was very fortunate to have worked with two excellent editors, William Williams and James Nix. They gave me the chance to follow in the footsteps of “Give ’em Hell” Harry S. Truman, who once pointed out that he didn’t actually give anyone hell: he just told them the truth and they thought it was hell.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

105 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 5:41

Harry Truman gave good advice on telling the truth, Mike. I'm following Harry Trumans (and my parents) wisdom, Mike, by telling the truth on the presidential issue. And it looks like you, and many of your readers, are thinking it's hell.

I little advice from me is: Look the issue up, facts are facts.

My parents gave my siblings and me wise guidance to follow in our life's on this earth: You don't lie and you don't steal. I've followed their advice all of my life.

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 7:37

The closing of the City Paper has two considerations, Mike: One is; it will take you away from some [on-line] friends you've been "commenting" with (or should I say competing with) for a number of years. The other is; (the best?) it will give you more time to get something more comprehensible accomplished.

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 8:02

Mike,

There's three good books you (and your fellow Obama fans) should read: 1. Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Mode; 2. Laughing at Obama: Vol. 1; 3, How Obama Betrayed America.

You can get them through Kindle.

By: bfra on 7/26/13 at 8:05

Mike as usual, you present another very interesting article & well deserved compliments for the City Paper & personel. Too bad the bottom feeder starts off trying to side track it with his pitiful uninformed ideas.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 8:35

Mike Burch, I will miss your comments has much as I will for most of the people I have grown to admire on this board.

I wish the best to you and your wife.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 8:41

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 5:41

Harry Truman gave good advice on telling the truth, Mike. I'm following Harry Trumans (and my parents) wisdom, Mike, by telling the truth on the presidential issue. And it looks like you, and many of your readers, are thinking it's hell.

I little advice from me is: Look the issue up, facts are facts.

My parents gave my siblings and me wise guidance to follow in our life's on this earth: You don't lie and you don't steal. I've followed their advice all of my life.
****************************************************************************************
Comrade yogi is caught in a perpetual lie, which has consumed his miscible life. He has made one lie after another on this board time after time. Being a weatherman is just one of his many fabrications. His distortion of history is another and his prediction of future events is comical.

His fixation that President Obama as a black President has made him a laughing stock on this board and in his community. I believe it has surpassed his UFO sightings

I won’t miss this appalling excuse of humanity at all.

By: bfra on 7/26/13 at 8:48

Nemo - Good Morning & Amen on the accurate description of what I call a brainless blob. To not see his LIES will be a blessing.

By: MamaG on 7/26/13 at 8:59

Good morning all! Beautiful day today!
This is a very nice article, Mr. Burch and you will be missed.Good luck to you in your future.

As for comrade yogi, I have come to the conclusion he must have a brain tumor or something similar, that makes him get stuck on one thing. Yogi, get outside and enjoy the day for a change!

By: Moonglow1 on 7/26/13 at 9:09

Moonglow1: The City Paper is the best. I love your column. What other paper would allow a writer to speak without "corporate intervention/censor." I hope Nashville creatives will be able to publish an alternative paper or have a website. We would contribute content. Our posts are creative!! Anyhow I will miss this paper!!!

By: Moonglow1 on 7/26/13 at 9:11

Moonglow1: The City Paper is the best. I love your column. What other paper would allow a writer to speak without "corporate intervention/censor." I hope Nashville creatives will be able to publish an alternative paper or have a website. We would contribute content. Our posts are creative!! Anyhow I will miss this paper!!!

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:11

Yogi,

I think I have used my free time much more constructively than you have. As I have pointed out a number of times, it's much better to have an intelligent Kenyan running the country, or an enlightened space alien, than a home-grown buffoon like Bush Junior.

At some point in the future, people will no longer worry about the color of their skin or where on the planet they were born. If they ever peruse what you wrote, they will think of you as we think of cannibals and slaveholders today. The idea that human beings should be judged by their race and place of origin will be as foreign then, as eating another human being is to us today. This is called "progress" and is understandable to people who use their brains.

If you don't want your descendants to be ashamed of you, and blush when your name is mentioned, you should devote your free time to becoming a progressive-thinking liberal. Otherwise, you will be a skeleton rattling in the family closet. Is that what you want,. really?

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:13

bfra,

Thanks for reading my articles and commenting on them. Hopefully we can both do things to help the country improve, which is true patriotism.

Mike

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 9:20

I got a hold of Loner yesterday and told him of the news. We talk about him starting up him blog once more. I suggested that he change the subject more often.

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:21

Nemo,

One of my favorite books when I was a boy was "Mysterious Island," the Jules Verne novel in which Captain Nemo makes a surprise appearance at the end. And you have been one of my favorite readers, so I will miss you. But I am published widely elsewhere, so you can Google my full name (Michael R. Burch) and see what I'm up to. If anything, I am more "anti" the things I oppose when I don't have to worry about the delicate sensibilities of conservative newspaper readers, and what editors will chop out if I go "too far," in their opinion. I might even use cusswords from time to time. when I talk about the religious fanatics who are trying to turn the United States into a medieval theocracy based on a book that says the worst crimes known to mankind are the "will of God": slavery, sex slavery, infanticide, matricide, ethnic cleansing and genocide. As I put it in a small poem

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.

Cheers,
Mike

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 9:21

LOL Mike to your 9:11 post.

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:23

MamaG,

Thanks, and I wish you all the best!

My warm regards,
Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:29

Moonglow1,

I think our posts have been creative, and informative. Each of us can continue to post elsewhere ... it's a big Internet. One thing we might do is all visit the online letters section of the Tennessean and comment on the letters published there. The Tennessean publishes some "news" that is not factual, or that fails to mention important facts, so we could do a real service to the community by adding our two cents' worth. And we would still be able to stay in touch.

What do you think?
Mike

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 9:29

Both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Mysterious Island are two of my favorites.

I will google you and hope others do the same. Maybe some day we can meet in person.

Captain Nemo-

Comrade yogi
post
and God laughs.

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:31

Nemo,

Perhaps Loner could add some variety to his blog by creating an article, then letting us comment on it, the way people commented on my articles here. Do you have his email address? If so, don't post it online, but I would like to get in touch with him.

Thanks,
Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:36

Nemo,

Those two great books.

I think we should try to get together, exchange email addresses, and find a new place to carry on our discussions. I have a literary website that gets about a million page views per year, so people are actually reading it. If Loner and I both publish our threads, we may end up being heard, and it's important for ordinary citizens to speak and be heard. So I suggest that we do the following:

Get together
Exchange email addresses
Discuss how we can continue these discussions online

Anyone else in favor?
Mike

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 9:41

I will suggest it to him Mike. He did have one at one time, but I have not used it in years. I will ask the next time I reach him. He is on his retreat and I got a hold of him yesterday just by chance.

I got to go to work now. It is the last day before I take next three weeks off.

Vacation time is almost here!!!!!!

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 9:42

Well do Mike.

I will check back later today if possible.

By: MamaG on 7/26/13 at 9:53

I will definitely try to keep up with you, Mike. I enjoy reading like-minded, intelligent writings.

I'm sure many of us will be 'seeing' each other around somewhere. At least I hope so!

By: budlight on 7/26/13 at 10:32

We talk about him starting up him blog once more (Nemo, that would be "We talked about him starting up his blog once more")

Mike, I know I've been hard on you, but you took it in stride - like a gentleman. Thanks for your perspective and for reading the perspectives of others on this site, including myself, and for responding with respect.

Too bad that advertising isn't what it used to be. So sad that events like Weiner get so much publicity. But the one that takes the cake is Nancy Pelosi speaking out against Weiner and saying it's a disgrace to women. GEE Nancy, I guess Bill was lifting women up? Never heard her speak out against Clinton's actions which took place in t he oval office. At least Weiner was just on his phone -- ie, HIS, being the optimal word. Not the Citizens of this country. After all, it used to be OUR WHITE HOUSE.

So long.

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 10:45

dumba$$,

How about one of you referring to where I mentioned "black" as my argument on Barry's Constitutional ineligibility.

I'm also still waiting for one of you to explain how an Indonesian citizen became a natural born American citizen.

By: budlight on 7/26/13 at 10:55

Yogi, they "can't" give you an answer. And "can't" is the optimum word here. They don't know. And furthermore, they don't care. It's not their problem. Unfortunately, they have not got a dog in the fight, so they are part of the complacency that enabled the fall of the Roman Empire. God Bless You Yogi, Keep up the good fight.

By: revo-lou on 7/26/13 at 11:31

Mike,
I have enjoyed your column/writings, even if I didn’t always agree with you. That you would respond in the comments section was a nice interactive feature, so valuable in this current configuration of news presentation. You are to be applauded, I think, for having the courage to participate given the anonymity the internet provides.

Reading and posting to the comment section is often fun and entertaining, if not always informative. But, it gets tedious after a while, and I think that situation rings true to many forums such as this, and may be why they run a fairly short, tumultuous, if not downright vicious, life cycle. But, it is a big interweb world out there, with a place for all (though that is a scary reality).

The City Paper has been a welcome addition to the Nashville media circle and will be missed. But, of course, the only thing that matters is money, because we have made it that way. Hey, just remember, all these modern inventions (robots, computers, smart phones, etc.) are designed to make our lives better, and give us more “free time”, to do whatever it is that we have been missing the opportunity to do. Maybe we all should ponder on that and really utilize it for something useful, besides post to comments boards and such.

And on that note, I am out, and retreating back to spend more time with life. Oddly, maybe even a sign, as I have recently come back to this boars, the City Paper shuts down, to provide that catalyst.

My favorite saying to this point –

“All the time spent on things that don’t matter, is time not spent on the things that do.”

Best to all.

By: brrrrk on 7/26/13 at 11:50

If we're talking books to read, I would recommend The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. The book was written by Russel Kirk, the man who many on the right (Buckley, Nixon, Frum, Gingrich, etc....) call the father of the new Conservative movement. It's a bit of a slow read (boring), but it clearly outlines the game plan and thoughts of the modern conservative movement, including the elevation of the financial elite within our government (and our country in general), and the fear of a healthy middle class (and thereby the necessity for it's destruction). It's clearly the promotion of an authoritarian government where only the wealthy wield any power whatsoever.

For lefties it's an aggravating read.... but as the old saying goes, "know your enemy".

By: bfra on 7/26/13 at 11:56

By: budlight on 7/26/13 at 10:55

Yogi, they "can't" give you an answer. And "can't" is the optimum word here. They don't know. And furthermore, they don't care. It's not their problem. Unfortunately, they have not got a dog in the fight, so they are part of the complacency that enabled the fall of the Roman Empire. God Bless You Yogi, Keep up the good fight.
===============================================

bud - Don't keep advertising that you keep your head in the same area as yogi! He has been answered, proven WRONG, referred to links that prove him WRONG & the brainless blob doesn't have sense enough to understand English.l

By: pswindle on 7/26/13 at 12:05

Mike, I will miss your truth writing. I wish someone would step up and keep the Paper on-line.

By: govskeptic on 7/26/13 at 12:10

Kinda like President Truman, Eh? Good luck to you and the wife Mike.

By: govskeptic on 7/26/13 at 12:19

brrrk: I must say I read the very same book as you mentioned above, but find
most of your description of it to be totally different than anything I got
out of it. This guy was way ahead of Gingrich, and certainly received most
all his acclaim in the 50s from universal sources when he was in his mid 30s.

By: brrrrk on 7/26/13 at 12:39

govskeptic said on 7/26/13 at 12:19

"brrrk: I must say I read the very same book as you mentioned above, but find
most of your description of it to be totally different than anything I got
out of it. This guy was way ahead of Gingrich, and certainly received most
all his acclaim in the 50s from universal sources when he was in his mid 30s."

Can you seriously deny the fact that Kirk promoted a class based system where only the well healed property owners in our society should have a say in our government? Or that he believed in a system of authoritarian aristocracy based in the inheritance of wealth and property, and not merit? Or that he tied our government to the Christian faith, thereby passively promoting a theocratic form of government based loosely on the ideas of Calvinism where only the wealthy have the blessings of God because God would only allow the more righteous to be wealthy?

No, I think we read the same book... only I did read it for what it is...

By: dargent7 on 7/26/13 at 1:00

M. Birch:
Enjoyed your Fri's only columns.
Wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment of why Osama and Saudi Arabia flew those planes into the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and obviously on their way to the White Hose with plane #4.
(Can you imagine that?)
But, all minor rags will go away, just like the 8 track tape, Beta Max, cassette, B&W tvs, vinyal records, even CD's.
I still read the hard cover of the New York Times and LA Times. Enjoyed the Tennessean while I lived in Nashville.
But, in the last 3 years, many disbanded TCP on-line, due to misfits like "Jug" who could ruin even Jesus Christ's day. The forum went from a lively discussion to a slug fest peppered with expletives and hate speech more than a WWF wrestling conference.
Best of luck to you and yours'.

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 1:30

Nemo,

Please let me know what Loner says, and let's all stay in touch. I'll be writing somewhere, and what I write will be available on the Internet. It would be nice to have feedback like the feedback I've received here, from people who are knowledgeable and really care about moving our country in the right direction (which is, of course, to the left).

Cheers,
Mike

By: Loner on 7/26/13 at 1:31

Good afternoon, Nashville.

Captain Nemo called me and related the bad news. I appreciated that. I'm breaking my media fast and leaving a comment or two on this soon-to-be-gone website.

Thank you, Mike Burch, for your thought-provoking essays and your personal feedback to our comments. As I have said before, you, mike Burch, are a voice in the wilderness....the wild frontier of coonskin cap country....the home of gun-totin', God-fearin', tea baggers.....keep yer powder dry, Michael.

The NCP has my e-mail on file, they have my permission to give that info to you....Mike, phone number too. I might start another blog-type deal; your suggestions are most welcome.

I have been posting on the Nashville City Paper (NCP) for about ten years. I survived the Great Purge.....Ben Dover and Nemo also survived that tsunami of censorship.

I have seen posters come and go....legends like Export Law and Idgaf....Serr8d too. Lots of characters have played roles on this online stage....God, I know I'm one.

I'm posting from the Minerva Free library in Sherman, NY...I had to sign-up for a library card in order to use this terminal....I'm undergoing full Shermanification.

Brake hose blew on the DJ-5L while I was on my summer retreat here...local boys rallied to get me out of that jam....brakes are fine now....better than ever....knock on the Formica, the US MULE, (vanity plates), is running great.

I will very much miss the NCP and this diverse posting community...it has been a privilege to post here and I sincerely thank our host.....perhaps a miracle will happen and the NCP stays afloat? But I'm donning my PFD right now....will there be a lifeboat for this rag tag group of passengers? Let us hope and pray.

I'll return tomorrow morning, to reply to any replies.

Jim Knight....AKA Loner

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 1:33

MamaG,

I hope so too, and it would be nice if we could stay in touch with each other. If nothing else, I can post articles on my Facebook page and everyone can comment there. Or we could set up a Facebook group called something like "Gnashed Nashvillians". :)

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 1:41

Loner,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm a big believer in using my freedom of speech before the right-wingers turn the country into the second coming of the Weimarer Republik. Bush Junior, Cheney and Rumsfeld gave us a sample of what to expect if we don't come to our national senses. And Bishop Romney was cut from the same cloth (pun intended).

I have a website that gets around a million page views per year, and normally does well with Google, meaning that people can find what I've written. It attracts lots of students and teachers, because the hits go up dramatically when school is in session. If we don't want to disband, we have a number of options:

Your blog
My website
Your blog and my website
A Facebook group or something similar

Please let me know what you think.

Cheers,
Mike

By: Libertine on 7/26/13 at 1:41

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 9:11

"Yogi,

I think I have used my free time much more constructively than you have. As I have pointed out a number of times, it's much better to have an intelligent Kenyan running the country, or an enlightened space alien, than a home-grown buffoon like Bush Junior. "

This is a good example of why this paper couldn't reach a broader audience and be more appealing to advertisers. There was not unbiased coverage of any issue. If wrote an opinion in protest of something that the democrats or President Obama was doing, you spent more words Bush and Republican bashing than you did presenting your case.

When you approach every issue from one perspective you aren't telling the truth, you are telling half-truths.

By: brrrrk on 7/26/13 at 1:48

Libertine said on 7/26/13 at 1:41

"This is a good example of why this paper couldn't reach a broader audience and be more appealing to advertisers. There was not unbiased coverage of any issue."

ROFLMAO...... I laughed so hard I peed my pants....

By: Loner on 7/26/13 at 1:53

Mike,

I once maintained a "blog" on live journal...the Russians bought the site...it kind of went to hell after that.

I don't have a Facebook account...I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole FB thing.

Please post your website's URL here.

I'm at Brushwood Folklore Center....enjoying the fest....honoring Bacchus...Dionysus...and Prometheus...as well as the pantheon of Goddesses, from Gaia to

By: Loner on 7/26/13 at 1:55

....to Aphrodite.

We honor them all.

Gotta run....later.

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 1:58

dargent7,

I agree with the FBI's assessment of the reasons for the 9-11 attacks, as testified under oath by Special Agent Fitzgerald before the 9-11 Commission, when he was asked by Vice Chair Lee Hamiltion why the terrorists were motivated to attack. And the FBI's answer made perfect sense. It was the Occam's Razor answer. The US was attacked because of its military presence in a part of the world where it doesn't belong, and because of its support for Israel (which has practiced ethnic cleansing against Palestinians for 60+ years, and continues to demolish their homes and steal the underlying land using the euphemism "settlement expansion).

Americans would have done the same thing if some foreign power had put troops within our borders and kept giving money and weapons to other foreigners, who then purged or subjugated our loved ones. Osama bin Laden and friends just did what any deep-woods American militia would do if the US was invaded by creepy foreigners. Americans fire-bombed the women and children of Dresden. They used atomic weapons against the women and children of Hiroshima. Osama bin Laden did something similar, and he did it because his people were suffering and dying unjustly at the hands of Americans and Israelis.

But most Americans refuse to believe that we can be the bad guys. So the FBI testimony was removed from the written record. But the proceedings were filmed, so anyone can see Agent Fitzgerald giving the simplest, sanest answer to the very important question: WHY?

I try to be civil, but I also believe that we have to consider facts, rather than engaging in bizarre fantasies that make us feel that we are in the right, when our nation has gone terribly wrong.

We fought two wars on false pretenses, and funded Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, a modern Holocaust. We left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions homeless, in a repeat of what our nation did not so very long ago to Native Americans. So no one should be surprised that our nation was attacked in retaliation.

Mike

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 2:33

You were never honest enough to say his was black, Comrade yogi. You have never had the courage to admit your hate of him. You are just a lying coward.

By: Libertine on 7/26/13 at 2:33

Really brrrrk? Maybe there was local advertising in the print edition, but I don't really see any here.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 2:37

This is for the old cow. No bud, we talked about him starting another blog. Now go blog yourself.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/26/13 at 2:41

Got to run once more, will take a look later and this weekend too.

By: yogiman on 7/26/13 at 6:17

Mike,

I, as most of the others, enjoy most of you weekly writings, but I would enjoy them more if you was more open minded about the issues instead of being purely democratic on them.

On your 9:11 post you mention your free time; hell, Mike, I'm retired. I have all the free time I need to do my research on an issue. according to your obvious admiration of Barry, maybe you should go back to school and learn a little more about the Constitution; you know the required eligibility to hold the president's seat in the Oval Office.

What do you think our founders were thinking of when they placed that "natural born citizen" requirement to become president of this nation. Do you really think they were thinking it would be a great idea for a Kenyan British subject to become President of the USA? I don't think they had that on their mind back then.

The color of the man's skin has nothing to do with his being in that office. If you want to consider his race, let's call him a Caucasian... OK? To hell with being a Negro; let's ignore that on this issue and just consider his legal eligibility on the issue.

Show one post on this site where I mentioned the color of Barry's skin or his race.

And Mike, before you edit this post and tell me I'm not a very good writer like you, please edit your 9:21 post before you edit me on this post. After all, I'm not trying to make a living with my "writing skills".

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 6:35

Loner,

My website is www.thehypertexts.com

I could add a Gnashville page, with a weekly article and user comments. Other people could write articles, so I wouldn't be the Lone Ranger.

Mike

By: Mike Burch on 7/26/13 at 6:43

budlight,

I think for the most part everyone remained gentlemen and gentlewomen, so all the regulars are to be commended. It doesn't bother me to be criticized by people who believe that God gave man the Bible, that there was a perfect garden of Eden and a "fall," or other bizarre fantasies. I consider the source. When conservative Christians criticize me, I know I must be on the right track, since their entire history has been the blind leading the blind into the ditch. If they agree with me, I would fear for my sanity.

Mike