The Commercial Appeal

The Commercial Appeal
The Commercial Appeal
Commercial Appeal logo.png
The Commercial Appeal front page.jpg
The July 27, 2005 front page of
The Commercial Appeal
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner E. W. Scripps Company
Publisher Joseph Pepe
Editor Chris Peck
Founded 1841 (as The Appeal)
Headquarters 495 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
 United States
Circulation 147,598 Daily
178,082 Sunday[1]
Official website

The Commercial Appeal is the predominant daily newspaper of Memphis, Tennessee, and its surrounding metropolitan area. It is owned by The E. W. Scripps Company, a major North American media company. Scripps also owned the former afternoon paper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar, which it folded in 1983.

Like most market-dominant daily papers, the CA is a seven-day morning paper. It generally takes a liberal point of view regarding editorial positions. The Commercial Appeal is distributed primarily in Greater Memphis, including Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton counties in Tennessee and DeSoto, Tate, and Tunica counties in Mississippi. These are the contiguous counties to the city of Memphis.

The paper's unusual name comes from a 19th century merger between two predecessors, the Memphis Commercial and the Appeal. The Appeal had an interesting history during the American Civil War. On June 6, 1862, the presses and plates were loaded into a boxcar and moved to Grenada, Mississippi. The Appeal later journeyed to Jackson, Mississippi, Meridian, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia, and finally Montgomery, Alabama, where the plates were destroyed on April 6, 1865, only days before the Confederate surrender, halting publication temporarily of what had been one of the major papers serving the Southern cause. The press was hidden and saved, and publication resumed in Memphis, using it, on November 5, 1865. Another early paper, The Avalanche, was incorporated later in the 19th century. The paper is properly The Commercial Appeal and not the Memphis Commercial Appeal as it is often called, although the predecessor Appeal was formally the Memphis Daily Appeal.

In 1923, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage and editorial opposition to the resurgent Ku Klux Klan. In 1994, The Commercial Appeal won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning by Michael Ramirez.


'Monetizing' controversy

In the fall of 2007, the Appeal touched off a controversial policy that would have linked specific stories and specific advertisers. The proposal was greeted by outrage among media analysts, so the authors of the so-called 'monetization memo'-- the Appeal's editor and its sales manager-- quietly withdrew the effort.[2]

Guns Database

At the end of 2008, "The Commercial Appeal" posted a controversial database listing Tennessee residents with permits to carry handguns.[3] The database is a public record in Tennessee but had not been posted online. After a permit-to-carry holder shot and killed a man in Memphis for parking too close to his SUV, the gun database suddenly came to the attention of pro-gun groups, including the NRA and the Tennessee Firearms Association. Legislators who supported gun groups quickly drafted a bill to close the permit-to-carry database. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government lobbied to keep the database public and the bill to close the database did not pass in the 2009 legislative session, in part because the pro-gun groups decided it would be a good fund raising tool.


  1. ^ "2009 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation" (PDF). BurrellesLuce. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  2. ^ Barnes, Lindsay (2007-11-08). "News for sale? Former C-Ville publisher sparks media debate". The Hook (newspaper) (Charlottesville). Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  3. ^ public record (2008-11-08). "Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit Database". The Commercial Appeal (newspaper) (Memphis). Retrieved 2009-06-29. 

External links

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