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Alison Gerber

Stories by Alison

You can never tell what kind of stories will get readers talking.

A former colleague once described Pam Sohn as being tougher than woodpecker lips.

It would be nice if, instead of paying for a can of Coke, the Coca-Cola Co. simply gave it away for free.

Tennessee lawmakers say a bill they passed last week will protect animals from abuse.

Let's take the new members of the Chattanooga City Council at their word.

It’s spring and time for America’s favorite pastime. So it’s fitting that the Chattanooga region is abuzz with talk about the film “42.”

No one gets into journalism to get rich or to have a relaxing career.

It goes without saying that the pope is important. He oversees a flock of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, and a quarter of Americans are Catholic.

A 16-year-old killed on the street.

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck last week questioned the Times Free Press’ decision to publish Sheriff Jim Hammond’s comments that he’s seen more fear of crime in the past three years, in part, because we have a black president.

Q: Who do government officials work for?

People are dying in custody in Tennessee and Georgia and for months the Times Free Press and other newspapers have been trying to answer the most basic question: Why?

It’s ironic that Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said at a recent meeting that he was pleased the press wasn’t there so party members could talk privately about sensitive issues and avoid “a big brouhaha.”

At a time when many newspapers are scaling back coverage and closing bureaus, the Times Free Press is doing something to buck the trend.

People lie; records don’t. That’s the advice a veteran newshound gave me when I was a young reporter.

For years, the Times Free Press published obituaries in four categories: Hamilton County, Tennessee, Georgia and Other Areas.

Political fights for the presidency and plunging over the fiscal cliff may be in our nation’s rearview mirror. But locally, things are about to heat up when City of Chattanooga voters elect a new mayor and council members in March.

We’re coming up on the publication of our annual list of people, places and things to watch in the new year, and we need your help.

Since it’s the time of year for wish-lists, it seems appropriate to put on a red cap and play a little Santa Claus.

Hopefully, this will not be my last column.

Reporters have a lot of high-tech tools at their disposal these days. Still, nothing beats old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting: knocking on doors, combing through public records, building sources and sticking with a story until you have all the facts.

I have a theory that productivity dropped dramatically in Tennessee workplaces last week.

A Chattanooga holiday tradition dates back to a Christmas Day decades ago when Adolph Ochs ate a big turkey dinner and then took a stroll through New York City.

There was no shortage of big news stories in 2012.

Now that the election is over, I don’t know what’s going to fill up my inbox.

There’s an old saying in journalism: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

A year from now, 800 journalists from across the world will spend five days fanning across the area’s mountains and rivers and visiting our factories and plants.

Last week, one of Clay Bennett’s cartoons offended some folks.

Tennessee found itself in the national spotlight last week. But not for a good reason.

Sometimes I feel like the only person in the city — perhaps all of Tennessee and Georgia — who’s never eaten a Krystal hamburger.

Important lessons on journalism were learned this week when a student editor at a local Christian college defied his college’s president to get news out.

Seventy-five thousand dollars. One hundred and seventy-three pages. Six months of research and assessment.

Corpus Christi, Texas, is 1,040 miles and a couple of cultures away from Chattanooga.

There is no daily conspiracy at the Times Free Press. By that, I mean editors do not sit around and tell reporters, you “can’t” do a story about this or that. In fact, we tell them nothing is off limits. And we don’t tell them they must write about a certain person or organization in a favorable or negative light.

I recently received a letter from a reader that started like this: “Dear Alison Berber.” Actually, my last name is Gerber. But you can call me anything as long as you keep reading the paper.

It’s still sticky and hot outside, but we know cool fall weather is coming because kids are slipping on helmets, strapping on pads, lacing up cleats and sweating like sauna dwellers on football fields across the region.

Judy Walton’s byline hasn’t appeared in the paper very often in recent months. You’re about to see a lot of it for the next six days.

Lately, a lot of national, state and local news coverage has been focused heavily on the elections.

We all know local government keeps public schools open, puts out fires, arrests bad guys and picks up garbage. But many of us often see it as vast and unapproachable.

Evidence is everywhere: Signs cluttering the roadsides, candidates trading accusations, an endless string of political ads on TV.

The election is less than a month away and early voting starts Friday. In other words, if you haven’t already decided, it’s time to think about how you’ll cast your ballot.

More than 50,000 page views.

Many readers probably read through today’s front-page story, Tempest in My Soul, and felt strong emotions: Anger. Confusion. Sadness. Compassion.

We live in a world of chronic tweeters. Heck, even the pope has a Twitter account.

The newspaper's newly hired Free Press opinion editor was the victim of a mean-spirited Internet prank Saturday.

The Free Press editorial page is getting a new face.

Ever been backstage at a concert, watching the stars heading to the stage, hobnobbing with other VIPs?

The nominations poured in for a new award program that highlights top-performing educators.

On the side of a box of Mayfield’s peanut butter fudge ice cream, you can learn that a serving contains 170 calories, 11 fat grams and 75 milligrams of sodium.

The Times Free Press preps staff logged more than 12,000 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Los Angeles and back and back again — covering high school sports from Aug. 1 through the upcoming Spring Fling.

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