USA Yesterday

Over the years, I’ve written a few scathing observations about Gannett (owner of the daily newspaper in my hometown of Nashville, The Tennessean) and the lawyers and corporate finance people who ruined lots of independent newspapers by buying them,┬ácalling them Gannett, slashing budgets, and then killing them in various ways. Employees and customers got screwed in all of these deals, but lawyers and corporate finance people did just fine. Here some examples of those posts:

Gonenett

Final thoughts on the whole newspaper thing

Stop blaming me for killing your newspaper

And, with irony that Nashville’s NHL Predators are today sold-out every game, this response to learning, several years ago, that the Tennessean no longer sent reporters to road games in 2009:

Observing the Tennessean die is like watching the Titanic sink in super slo-mo

Fast forward to today.

It has taken me several weeks to realize “The Tennessean” newspaper has been rebranded online as, merely, Tennessean. (Or, Tennessean.com or Tennessean Dot.) Yet another strange decision by one of the nation’s stranger media companies.

The re-branding is part of a nationwide re-branding of Gannett newspapers as the “USA Today Network. While they say in the article (below) that online, the brand is simply “Tennessean,” every reference to the publication I’ve read in an article, including the announcement article, calls it “The Tennessean.”

It’s kind of funny, if you think about it.

Like the way Facebook would never call itself, “The Facebook,” new media and old have different ways of defining what and who they are by the nuanced references they use to define themselves.

The corporate marketers at Gannett are pushing out the brands “USA Today Network” and Tennessean.com, while the creators of the content on that network and web news-service are still referring to the digital version with the print-focused “The” in front of the corporate marketer’s brand.

I would never suggest this is a conspiracy on the part of the reporters, but I’d like to think it is.