Duncan bashes Washington Post reporter in House floor speech

Republican U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., who earlier this year said President Donald Trump was wrong in declaring the press an “enemy of the people,” on Tuesday delivered a brief House floor speech denouncing The Washington Post and its White House bureau chief, Philip Rucker.

Duncan singled out a Tuesday article by Rucker bearing the headline “Trump reacts to London terror by stoking fear and renewing feud with mayor.

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David Smith exits as Haslam director of communications

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that David Smith, his director of communications and one of the longest serving members of his staff, will leave the administration in August to start his own business as a communications consultant.

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Open records lawsuit seeks documents on failed Fall Creek Falls State Park privatization effort

The Nashville Post and Nashville Scene, sister publications with the same ownership, have filed a lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court against the state Department of General Services under Tennessee’s Open Records Act, contending officials wrongfully refused to release documents related to a failed attempt at outsourcing operation of the Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn.

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Politico notes Harold Ford Jr’s 47th birthdaay

It’s former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr.’s 47th birthday and Politico takes note of the occasion. He moved to New York after losing to Bob Corker in the 2006 U.S. Senate race and, among other things, is now a regular commentator on the national TV talk political talk show circuit. Excerpt:

“I got my start watching my dad hold Saturday afternoon office time as a 1st and 2nd term congressman in grocery stores and gymnasiums in Memphis. I was 4, 5 and 6 years old and would go with him every Saturday. He taught me what the core of public service really is — trying to use power and influence to solve the problems of the least and unmighty. To me, that’s what politics is.”

Just guessing, but Corker probably didn’t send a card.

House rejects honoring resolution for writer with Penthouse background

The House has spurned a resolution honoring Kay West, longtime Nashville journalist perhaps best known as a restaurant food critic – apparently because she once worked for Penthouse magazine. The resolution (HR127) was sponsored by Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville.

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Memphis newspaper editor resigns

Thirty-eight years after he began working for The Commercial Appeal’s now-closed Jackson news bureau, Louis Graham has resigned as editor of Memphis’ daily newspaper effective May 12.

From the CA’s report on his exit:

He’s leaving to become executive director of enterprise content at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

For Graham, who turns 60 later this month, the career change isn’t as dramatic as it might seem. “I’m just moving into another mission,” he said.

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UT student newspaper cuts print edition to twice weekly

The University of Tennessee’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Beacon, is cutting its print frequency to twice weekly after 50 years of printing five days per week, reports the News Sentinel.

The change, which will start in the fall of 2017, was announced Tuesday in an editorial by the paper’s current and incoming chief editors. (Note: It’s HERE.)

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Chattanooga publisher, civic leader Ruth Holmberg dies, age 96

Ruth Holmberg, Chattanooga civic leader and former publisher of The Chattanooga Times, died Wednesday at her home. She was 96.

Further from the Times-Free Press:

Holmberg was the granddaughter of Adolph Ochs, the 19th-century patriarch of The Chattanooga Times who rose to world prominence as publisher of The New York Times in the early decades of the 20th century.

Over time, Holmberg was deeply involved in Chattanooga civic life, serving in leadership roles in the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Association, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Chattanooga Urban League and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She was named Tennessee Woman of the Year in 2003.

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Emails show UT officials fired reporter in fear of funding loss in firing reporter

Email correspondence between University of Tennessee at Chattanooga top officials, obtained by the Times-Free Press, show that lawmaker pressure and a fear of losing state funding were indeed involved in the firing of WUTC reporter Jacqui Helbert.

Comments in emails appear in some respects appear to contradict earlier statements of UTC officials on the firing of Helbert, who has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the university.

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Fired public radio reporter sues UT-Chattanooga

Fired reporter Jacqui Helbert is suing the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga over her termination from the campus’s public radio station, WUTC-FM, reports the Nashville Scene.

In a lawsuit filed (Thursday) in Hamilton County Circuit Court, Helbert asks for “reinstatement, apology, education and training about the laws violated, lost wages, harm for the emotional distress from the retaliatory firing, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, and any further relief appropriate to the circumstances,” up to $1 million in damages.

The university and and two employees, senior associate vice chancellor of marketing and communications George Heddleston and associate vice chancellor of marketing and communications Chuck Cantrell, are named as defendants.

“Clearly I believe I was fired for reporting a story of important public interest that did not sit well with lawmakers,” Helbert says in a prepared statement.

See also the Times-Free Press report. An excerpt:

Helbert was fired “because she accurately reported the inflammatory and embarrassing words of one legislator and the truthful but unpopular words of another,” the lawsuit states. “Sadly, UTC chose self-preservation through retaliation over honesty.”

And the AP did a brief story on the lawsuit that was distributed nationally.