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Former Tennessean reporter Trent Seibert dies at 47

Trent Seibert, a former statehouse reporter for the Tennessean, has died. He was 47.

Seibert was the founder and editor of The Texas Monitor, which announced his passing on Thursday.

Seibert and then-colleague Brad Schrade in 2005 broke several stories in the Tennessean about problems with the Tennessee Highway Patrol during the administration of then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, including that prominent people were given “honorary badges” that some saw as get-out-of-jail-free cards and that promotions within the THP predominantly went to troopers with Democratic connections.

Bredesen declared early in the series that he often learned of problems at the THP and Safety Department from reading the newspaper, and that he was “tired of The Tennessean doing out work for us.”

Seibert also had reporting stints at the The Denver Post, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Nashville’s WKRN-TV, and KTRK-TV in Houston. Seibert launched and edited the Texas Watchdog a decade ago and did some work for the defunct TN Report. 

Seibert also had a hand in projects with the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (the predecessor to today’s Beacon Center), in breaking the 2007  story about Al Gore’s home in the Belle Meade area of Nashville consuming more electricity in a month than the average American household did in a year.

The Tennessean is (sorta) ending endorsements

The Tennessean is going to focus on helping “citizens make good decisions” rather then on traditional endorsements, according to a fairly confusing column by USA Today Network-Tennessee Vice President Michael A. Anastasi.

“Contemporary readers want to be able to make smart decisions and learn from balanced perspectives,” Anastasi writes. “But they would rather not be told what to think, according to USA TODAY NETWORK research.”

So all endorsements are out, right? Well, not exactly.

“This does not mean we have stopped doing endorsements; rather, we are focused on races where we believe our opinion adds the greatest value,” according to Anastasi.

That apparently means endorsing Jim Shulman for vice mayor of Nashville and retiring Democratic state Sen. Thelma Harper’s chosen successor, Howard Jones, over state Rep. Brenda Gilmore.

As for that little $50 million-plus race to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam? Crickets.

Candidate profile season is upon us

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean speaks to a business group in Nashville on March 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

With early voting getting underway on July 13, state newspapers are in full candidate profile mode. Today, the Gannett papers look into the background of former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, while the Chattanooga Times Free Press examines House Speaker Beth Harwell’s record.

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