Nashville Newspaper Hoping To Woo Younger Crowd: Let’s Party

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

More Social Club Than Newspaper

People in their twenties and thirties are a problem for the newspaper industry. Generally speaking, they don’t buy subscriptions. So the company that owns The Tennessean is trying a different approach. They’ve transferred employees from the paper to a new effort that may best be described as a social club with a side of journalism.

It’s called 12th & Broad. There is a website and a quarterly magazine with articles about Nashville’s creative class. But the staff listing doesn’t include a single editor.

Instead there’s an event planner, an engagement coordinator and a community manager. That last one is Meagan Rhodes’ title.

“We went out in the community and asked what would you pay for and people really seemed to want experiences and so we’ve created, every single month, one to maybe even four events that are somehow tied to the content.”

Ticketed events, of course. Or you can buy a membership for $14 a month.

1990s Nostalgia

The first event was this past Friday night at an abandoned strip club. Scheduled from 9pm – 2am, it was clearly not intended for those with kids. The ‘Christmas Staycation’ theme was a nod to National Lampoon’s 1989 film Christmas Vacation. And celebrating the nostalgia of the revelers, there was a live band playing 90s music and 90s attire was encouraged.

Here’s a regrettably low lit photo from Twitter:

Something Entirely New

So, is this still somehow about selling papers? Rhodes emphasizes that 12th & Broad is not an outgrowth of The Tennessean, but rather an entirely new project owned by Gannett and designed from the ground up in Nashville. However, membership does include a digital subscription (which is only $2 less than a membership) and its name comes from the newspaper’s physical address.

Rhodes believes that if 12th & Broad succeeds, it could become a model for other cities where Gannett owns newspapers.

In the past, Gannett tried to engage the same demographic with a free weekly tabloid called All The Rage. It stopped publication five years ago.

12th & Broad staffers plan to use what they call "secret venues" for the events, meaning buildings, like this one, that nobody would expect to see used that way. The first official party took place here Friday night. The holiday celebration coincides with articles about the neighborhood, which is interested in having people find new uses for crumbling commercial buildings like this. Image Source: Google Street View

12th & Broad staffers plan to use what they call “secret venues” for the events, meaning buildings, like this one, that nobody would expect to see used that way. The first official party took place here Friday night. The holiday celebration coincides with articles about the neighborhood, which is interested in having people find new uses for crumbling commercial buildings like this. Image Source: Google Street View

WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh contributed to this post.


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