Aug 14 2018
12:09 pm

Press release...

Knoxville’s new subscription-only online publication goes live in September

Hello, Knoxville! This is a press release to you from us, veteran journalists and inquisitive guys about town Scott Barker and Jesse Fox Mayshark.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Compass, our new website and newsletter dedicated to covering local government, politics and business. Compass will focus on Knoxville and Knox County, and help to explore the issues and interests that are shaping our community. We want to understand and illuminate the changes affecting the city we love.

You can learn more about it and subscribe at compassknox.com. We will start publishing on Sept. 4.

We bring decades of experience to this effort.

Scott was a local government reporter and editorial page editor at the Knoxville News Sentinel for 18 years. He covered the Black Wednesday scandal of 2007 in depth, and he was part of the paper’s successful effort to hold officials accountable for sunshine law violations.

Jesse also worked at the News Sentinel, was editor of Metro Pulse, and was a staff editor for The New York Times. He worked for the last six and a half years in communications for Mayor Madeline Rogero at the City of Knoxville. (He will be leaving coverage of City government to Scott, who will also lead our coverage of next year’s City elections.)

“During my time with the City,” Jesse says, “I watched up close as our local media eroded rapidly. Knoxville and Knox County are growing and changing, and there is almost nobody left telling the stories of what’s happening. I think people want to know more about what’s going on in our community and why. We want to fill those gaps.”

Compass will be a subscription-only publication. Subscribers will have access to articles on www.compassknox.com and receive a newsletter via email each weekday highlighting coverage updates. Thursday reports will include an in-depth feature story and other updates. You can expect well-reported profiles of major local figures, analysis of complex issues, stories about business and development trends.

“We anticipate our readers will be as interested in and dedicated to our community as we are,” Scott says “Our goal is to provide the information prized by decision-makers in government and business, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, PTAs and others who are shaping the future of Knoxville and Knox County.”

R. Neal's picture

Congratulations and good

Congratulations and good luck!

Rachel's picture

This is SUCH good news. I've

This is SUCH good news. I've already signed up and you should too.

j.f.m.'s picture

Many thanks! We look forward

Many thanks! We look forward to publishing, starting Sept. 4.

Treehouse's picture


I assume you will have something to say about Pilot, Discovery, and Tennova layoffs?

It's a rather large job for two guys, even you two. Hope you've got your running shoes on.

Congratulations and I look forward to it.

j.f.m.'s picture

Thanks! And yes, I'm sure we

Thanks! And yes, I'm sure we will!

R. Neal's picture

Barking Shark Media. Lol.Was

Barking Shark Media. Lol.

Was thinking the other day it should be something clever like SharkBark. Barking Shark is better. Actually, perfect.

danandrews's picture

I believe so strongly in this I already bought a year membership

Good luck guys...

j.f.m.'s picture

Thanks Dan! And yes, we will

Thanks Dan! And yes, we will keep an eye on PBA. We'll tell them you sent us!

barker's picture


Thanks, everybody. Especially Randy, for hosting this site and running the news release. We're excited to get started -- I spent more time in the City County Building today than I have in a long time. We'll do our best to make it worthy of the community.

Thanks again!

j.f.m.'s picture

And I spent LESS time in the

And I spent LESS time in the City County Building than I have in a long time, which also felt good.

danandrews's picture

I am pretty stoked

I mean I look at the Public Building Authority. Nobody is covering it.Yet that is literally the nerve center of Knoxville and Knox County and nobody is covering it.

Mykhailo's picture



j.f.m.'s picture

We are planning on having a

We are planning on having a moderated (emphasis on moderated) FB group for subscribers.

barker's picture


The first week is in the books, and the response has been gratifying. We held a launch party for Compass subscribers this evening at Ironwood Studios, and I was overwhelmed by the support. It's going to be tough to meet their expectations, buy our expectations are just as high and we like to think of ourselves as a couple of tough hombres.

Randy has been a hero for local civic engagement, and I hope we can help out too. There's always room for more.

Mykhailo's picture

I got a subscription for my

I got a subscription for my 83 year old mother yesterday, and she actually called me this morning to tell me how thrilled she was when she read her first issue, and how grateful she is to you two for this.

j.f.m.'s picture

That's great to hear! Also

That's great to hear! Also great to meet you in person at the party Friday. Many thanks for the support.

danandrews's picture

It is amazing!

Very high quality. No fluff. No opinions, I recommend it to everyone

barker's picture


Thanks, Dan. It's been a wild week and half, but we're hanging in there. And hopefully doing good work. The reaction has been positive and humbling. Again, thanks for the kind words.

NiccoD's picture

Compass Launch

Hey Guys, good luck!
You are right, the Sentinel has deteriorated under USA Today. Lost it’s local on-the-ground coverage. What does some guy scribbling in a basement in Memphis or Nashville know about our town? Or how it ticks.?

barker's picture


Thanks, Nick. Of course, we're just two guys scribbling at home too, but neither of us works in our basements and we do live in Knoxville.

I've enjoyed chatting with you at the various Recode Knoxville meetings. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

j.f.m.'s picture

I do most of my scribbling on

I do most of my scribbling on the couch. Definitely not in the basement, don't get good wi-fi there.

barker's picture


My basement is pretty scary. My soul might be damp and dank, but my workspace needs to be more airy. Plus it's easier to get to the kitchen when I'm upstairs!

Opinari's picture

Terrific News

Glad to see JFM back in the local news fray. I can't remember the last time I read anything from the KNS, so this is much welcomed in my home. One question - any chance you'll set up PayPal as a means of payment?

barker's picture


What am I, chopped liver? Seriously, Jesse is a great journalist and I am blessed that we're working together. We tried to integrate the payment system with all the other systems involved in getting the site online. It ain't easy, but we think we have the best system for our business model. Let us know if you have problems with payment (we want your money!!).

j.f.m.'s picture

Yeah, what he said. We

Yeah, what he said. We started with credit cards, but PayPal can be integrated, it's just a matter of working out some things on the back end. Neither of us are tech whizzes, so we're taking all of that one step at a time. We definitely want to make it as easy as possible.

j.f.m.'s picture

Outside the Paywall!

Good news everybody!

As of this morning, we have moved our entire first Special Report -- "A User's Guide to Local Government and Politics" -- out from behind the paywall. If you're not a subscriber, now you can read some of what we've been up to. If you are a subscriber, feel free to share with anyone you think might be interested. Thank you all for your support! This includes both the Knox 2018 guide and the "How It Works" sections on the city, county, school board and UT.




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