Every time a staffer marches into my office with their sad face on, it typically means either: A.) We've run out of coffee again, or B.) They've found another job. Since staff writer Frank Carlson isn't much of a coffee drinker, it was immediately clear several weeks ago that he'd been given an offer he couldn't refuse. Thus, he has joined the production staff of the PBS NewsHour in Washington D.C. (In fact, you might see him now in those TV newsroom shots—one of those earnest-looking workers in the background, studiously typing at a computer.)
Even though he was with us for just one year, Frank made a big impact—from his very first feature (which managed to annoy future mayoral candidate Madeline Rogero) to some of our most well-reported stories on contentious issues. In 2009, he picked up several awards, including national nods from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for media reporting (with his examination of knoxnews.com's user comments) and public service (shared with Charles Maldonado for their combined coverage of the TVA ash spill), as well as regional prizes from the East Tennessee Society for Professional Journalists for general reporting (our state gun-bills coverage) and community service (again, for the TVA ash spill stories, also shared with Charles). In 2010, he tackled two of our biggest cover stories: "Halfway Home," the most thorough look yet at the Ten-Year Plan, and "Race, Abortion, and Distortions," which dared to probe charges of a "black genocide" right here in Knoxville. Frank also shot his own photographs, recorded and constructed audio slideshows for our website, and generally seemed more well adjusted than the rest of us.
Our online ad for a new reporter attracted nearly 100 applicants from around the country and from all walks of life—which is either disturbing evidence of the lack of media jobs out there today, or a real tribute to what we've tried to achieve here (let's go with both). After many interviews and clip-file readings, we've hired Cari Gervin of Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Cari is a true multi-media journalist, starting her career as a community reporter, first at the Lake Oconee News in Eatonton, Ga., and then at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Then she plunged into radio reporting, working for Georgia Public Broadcasting and then Mississippi Public Broadcasting, garnering several regional awards along the way from AP and SPJ. Meanwhile, she's freelanced for such outlets as NPR, Deadspin.com, Paste Magazine, and Creative Loafing in Atlanta. And, most impressively, as a student at Yale University she was the recipient of a Richter Fellowship to study women-in-prison movies.
We predict she'll fit right in—both at Metro Pulse and Knoxville.
—Coury Turczyn, editor