40th Anniversary: Sitting with Storytellers


Join Cityview on its journey, 40 years in the making, to tell stories of home, stories that matter

As we look around the world today, it’s hard not to fall into the feeling that the bad outweighs the good. I’d like to challenge that idea, and tell you that there’s no time like the present to acknowledge all the good that’s happening. That deep desire to find the positive feels that much more important to our team this year, as we celebrate a milestone anniversary for our publication.

On this, the 40th anniversary of Cityview Magazine, I’ve spent some time thinking about how this publication has altered not only how we look at the world, but how we feel, too. As publisher, I’ve found our most recent decade to be one of celebration and gratitude. We at Cityview are so blessed to use this platform to tell the stories of our community and the people, organizations, and places that call it home. I’m grateful for everyone who has supported our journey as a publication over the last four decades, whether you have been reading since the ’80s or made Cityview your first pickup when you moved here this year. Whether you bought an ad to share the good work of your company with our readers or you partnered alongside us to support a nonprofit in our Top Chef event, however you’ve supported us throughout our history, our team and I thank you.

There’s an adage that I’ve heard before that says that after food, water, companionship and love, the fifth thing people need most in their lives is good storytelling. The camaraderie sharing a good story creates is lasting. I often remind our team that no matter what part we play in the magazine—editorial, sales, creative—it’s our job to tell that person’s story and do it the right way. It’s the whole reason we do this work. There’s good happening here. A lot of it. And we’ve all felt grateful that the publication has truly become a celebration of all that good. Our pages are filled with the stories of our neighbors.

Learning how to tell stories the right way has been a journey. We’ve always been committed to thorough, honest storytelling, but helping people connect with those stories is something you can only learn with time and experience. The thing that I think made the difference is opening up and letting myself step into the story with you. Over the years, I’ve watched my own storytelling shift as I’ve grown more comfortable sharing the gritty details. I’m no longer just sharing the facts; I’m telling you how it felt to see the fish rise to the perfect presentation just as the sun is setting. That turn towards experiential writing has been an important milestone for our magazine. It’s not just my adventures, either; most of our writers have made this shift as well, and I hear from many of you about how much deeper the connection is with our writers and the subjects they are covering.

This brings me to our writers. They have done deep dives into more stories than I can count—for quite some time, too—giving us front row seats to some of the businesses, nonprofits, and people that call East Tennessee home. Some names, like Susan Alexander, Brooks Clark, Karen Clark, Mary Leidig, and Matt McGarry, you will find under dozens or even hundreds of bylines. Bob Pryor, George Korda, and Gary Wade have made it a point over the last decade to share their deep knowledge of our region with us, painting a picture of Knoxville that informs both our past and our present, oftentimes our future.

Bruce Fox, meanwhile, helped us discover greater knowledge of ourselves, and now he’s handed the torch to new voices in our magazine like Reverend George Doebler. Writers like Phil Newman, Chris Blue, Oana Harrison, and Carolyn Evans have brought exciting new voices to Cityview these past few years. Marc Anthony and John Quillen (who ironically met during a hike-based interview a few years back) have reminded us that there is whimsy and peace in the everyday moments in nature and out in our urban environment.

And those are the just the voices who have been part of our more recent past. Hundreds of other writers and editors have been the caretakers of the region’s stories with Cityview over the last four decades, and I feel honored by their willingness to give so much of themselves to this work, whether that was during the hard hitting journalism days of the mid 2000s, the tumultuous time of a global pandemic, through to our eventual transition into a magazine exclusively focused on finding the good.

But equally important to share with you over recent decades have been the stories we tell through imagery. Countless photographers have found their names among our contributors. Our long-time friend and senior photographer Bruce McCamish recently won first in Best of the Best for commercial photography. Carlos Reveiz has been a newer addition to our circle, but he’s made his own waves, taking the cover shot for this past September’s issue as well as countless other photos. Last but certainly not least is my good friend Jimmy Chiarella. From almost the very start Jimmy has been there not only to create content but to teach me how to be a better photographer. 

If you ask me why I first purchased this magazine, I’ll tell you it was in part an effort to keep a struggling magazine alive. But truthfully, I bought it based on intuition. When the interim publisher came to me, magazine clutched to her chest and tears in her eyes, I thought why not, I had enjoyed being part of the media in the past and this seemed like a challenge. I still occasionally chuckle as I think about what actually goes in to creating content that is relevant to our readers.  What I originally thought was going to be a side-hustle has now become a full-time career… and I’m glad it turned out that way.

The Cityview of today is quite different than that of the past. Most visibly because of the quality and depth of the editorial content, which creates a opportunity for better photography, but we’ve grown in many other ways as well due to the dedicated efforts of all those who have poured their hearts and souls into making this publication. Through the years, there have been many names printed on our masthead, names like Johnny Pirkle, Tom Russell, Edgar Miller, Colleen Oakley, Shayne Ivy, Keith Norris, Hannah Slaughter, Kim Olen, Doug Coffin, Juli Neal, and Eric Creed, to name just a few. There are just simply too many to list, but make no mistake, everyone who has contributed has been important to the helping build Cityview into a modern editorial magazine. The 40 years of our publication is their triumph as much as it is ours, and their legacy is the magazine in your hands now.

“Tell your story the way you want to,” was the motto of Cityview’s original owners John and Nancy Lyle. We’ve always done this with journalistic integrity, but as of the last decade, we’ve realized how powerful it is to a community to share its wins and successes and that’s where we’ve chosen to focus our efforts. On the good. 

Honest. Clean. Brave. Reverent story telling. That’s what I’ve always wanted our magazine to embody as its publisher, and I like to think we’ve lived up to that ideal. And that’s how we will stay connected with you over the coming decade. You’ll find our direction slightly shifting.  Cityview will continue to evolve while embracing new technology to be able to better tell our stories. There are opportunities out there for us to explore our community in new ways and share them with more people, and that’s something we’re eager to explore.

But we will always have Cityview the print version of the publication, because let’s be honest, there is just no substitute for holding it in your hand and flipping through the pages. 

But as important as print may be, there is no question that technology is a significant part of all of our lives. Your positive response and support of the magazine have made us realize the importance of creating social content that you can join into by contributing part of your own story. Look online for more details on how you can participate. 

As we move forward into our 40th year and beyond, we here at Cityview hope our longtime readers will continue on this journey with us, and for those of you who are picking us up for the first time, we invite you to join us. We would not have stories to write if you hadn’t given them to us. Your love for this place we call home, and the hard work you have put in to make it the one-of-a-kind place that it is, has made all this possible.

So we ask you to keep doing what you’re doing. Keep making East Tennessee an amazing place to live and explore. Keep making our home a place worth writing about and sharing with the world. And we’ll keep on telling your stories, the right way. 

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