New editor takes helm

Christen Coulon, Editor

New editor  takes helm

Christen Coulon

On June 11, I began my term as editor of the Independent Appeal. Being selected as editor of this publication is both a great honor and a tremendous responsibility. As the editor of the premier news source for McNairy County, I have been charged with the task of maintaining the reputation and quality of this historic newspaper and building upon its success to provide the best possible content to its readers. 

Having already spent my first week working and living in McNairy County, I have found it to be a wonderful and friendly community that very much reminds me of my childhood home of Dekalb County, Indiana. My wife, Lanessa and I are both extremely excited for the opportunity to raise our children Fox, 6 and Pixel, 1 (plus one more on the way) in such a tight knit and caring environment. I am looking forward to learning more about the stories and people that make McNairy County a great place to live and work.

I began my career as a journalist and my life as a Tennessean in 2000 when I joined the staff of the Fort Campbell Courier in Clarksville, Tennessee. As a soldier-journalist I was asked to wear many hats working as a writer, photographer, and sports editor in addition to performing my regular duties as an enlisted member of the U.S. Army.    During my tenure at Fort Campbell, I was deployed twice, first to Kosovo, where I worked as a correspondent, and then to Kuwait where I served as the Editor of the Desert Voice Magazine. 

I left the Army after four years and attended Austin Peay State University earning my Bachelor’s in print journalism and web design and Master’s in corporate communication. During this time, I worked as a freelance writer for various publications and as a copy editor for the university’s student newspaper The All State. In 2007, I was selected as a graduate assistant for APSU’s College of Graduate Studies where I worked as their website content manager and multimedia designer. After graduation, I stayed on at Austin Peay as an Adjunct Professor for the Department of Communication and have been teaching future journalists and communication professionals internet technologies, advanced web design techniques and newspaper design and layout. I finished my last course at the university July 8 and began preparing for my move to McNairy County.

I hope to draw upon my past experience in journalism and teaching to provide the citizens of this county with an informative and entertaining publication that maintains the high community standards established by my predecessors. Having inherited a highly talented staff and an award-winning newspaper from former editor John Philleo, I am extremely hesitant to make any changes to the overall design of this publication. However it is my goal to improve the Independent Appeal in any way that I can. I understand that the true test of a newspaper’s quality is not determined by its editor or staff, but by its readers. I know that I could not hope to improve the publication without first getting to know the people whom I serve. During this transition, I have met many members of the community who have truly made me feel like I am at home. I know that I still have an enormous amount to learn about the people and history of this county, and I am looking forward to learning more about what makes McNairy County unique.

During the next few months, I will be working with our staff to understand the best way to deliver our content to our readers. I will take time to meet with members of this community to determine what, if anything, we can do to better serve you. 

I would like to recognize the hard work of the writers, designers, ad sales members and other staff who have all pitched in to complete the recent issues of this paper without a full time editor. They have all worked so hard the last few weeks, and I extend my thanks to them for maintaining the high level of quality that Independent Appeal readers have come to expect.  

I would also like to thank Janet Rail for putting her trust in me and allowing me to serve as caretaker to her family’s legacy in this community.

Finally, I would like to thank the many members of this community who have welcomed me and allowed me to become a small part of the next phase of this county’s history. I encourage each of you to send your story ideas, interesting photos and any suggestions you may have on how to improve this publication to me at I look forward to a productive term with the Independent Appeal and to getting to know you better.


--Christen Coulon, Editor