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Jack Neely

Title: Associate Editor

About Jack Neely


Born in Japan during the reign of the Emperor Hirohito, Jack Neely is a UT graduate and, among other things, a former truck driver, piledriver-crew supervisor, Egyptian museum guide, and criminal-defense investigator. After six years as an editor for for humor, fiction, and other magazines published by Whittle Communications, he worked as a freelance journalist. In 1992 Metro Pulse debuted his column, Secret History. Since then, the column has won several awards, including the East Tennessee Historical Society’s History in the Media award and the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place award in the newspaper columns category. He has been a staffer for the paper since 1995, and is now associate editor of that weekly, as well as co-host of the monthly radio-TV-internet variety show Scruffy City Ramble. Neely has also worked as a consultant and project writer for various historical and cultural projects, including the BBC's 1995 and 2007 audio documentaries about James Agee, and Knoxville's live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" (1999). He has lectured on journalism, history, architecture, music, and literature at UT, Maryville College, and other institutions. His work has appeared in several collections, including "From the Shadow Side" (2003), "Market Square: A History of the Most Democratic Place on Earth" (2011), and "Knoxville, Tennessee: This Obscure Prismatic City" (2009). He also wrote the text for the photographic book, "The Marble City," published by UT Press in 1999, and in 2006 Webb School published his book about Robert Webb’s founding of the school, "A Splendid Instinct." He has contributed essays to recent collections like "Cumberland Avenue Revisited," "Knoxville Bound," and "Agee Agonistes."
Jack Neely

Position History

  • Associate Editor
    01/01/1993 - current

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Recent Work

  • Best Breakfast: Pete's Coffee shop Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Pete’s breakfast is now both politically historic and literary.

  • Best Gay Club: Carousel II and Club XYZ (tie) Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    They tied. And why shouldn’t they? They both offer well-stocked bars and regular drag shows in interesting neighborhoods.

  • Best Jazz Band: Donald Brown Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Originally from Memphis, East Tennessee’s best-known jazz pianist is a former member of Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers, with several albums of his own (hear Piano Short Stories) and has been a familiar figure in town for 20-odd years.

  • Best Concert Venue: Tennessee Theatre Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Kind of a shoo-in in this category, the Tennessee Theatre has won many times before. But it got more national attention in 2010 than it has in any calendar year in its 82-year history, except for maybe the night back ...

  • Best Middle-Eastern: Sitar Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Bearden’s long-lived Indian restaurant has more competition than it used to, but it’s still a Knoxville favorite.

  • Best Wine List: Oodles Uncorked Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    A wine list notable for its variety, but maybe more so for its economy.

  • Best Addition to Knoxville: Strangers Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Okay, Knoxville’s not exactly a stranger to strangers, and hasn’t been ever since Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand showed up here looking for material for his novels and a refuge from the guillotines of Paris. Ever since Ambrose Burnside rode into town ...

  • Best Meat & Three: Chandler’s Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    This sunny soul-food buffet, now a decade old, has become an East Knoxville institution.

  • Best Eyewear Shop: Luttrell’s Eyewear Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    Walk into this Bearden business, more colorful in decor than any mall shop, and more comfortable, and you may have the impression you’re visiting a friendly neighbor.

  • Best Salads: Trio Café Published 05/12/2010 at 5 p.m.

    This Market Square cafe-with-patio offers probably the most conspicuous salad bar downtown.

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