That’s what I am doing this morning as I check out the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, which we learned Monday was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, the highest award in journalism.
It seems like only yesterday Joan Garrett (now Joan Garrett McClane) was sitting in my classes as part of the Knight Fellows in Community Journalism at the University of Alabama.
Now she’s spending nine months researching a story analyzing homicide cases and learning, among other things, that fewer than half of shooting suspects in Chattanooga are caught.
According to the story “Speak No Evil, ” 58 percent of open homicide and shooting investigations in Chattanooga are at dead ends because of witness silence.
This gives me a whole different impression of that community surrounded by mountains off Interstate 24. You see it as you travel between Atlanta and Nashville or going from North Alabama up to Knoxville, Tenn.
The Pulitzer committee recognized McClane, Todd South, Doug Strickland and Mary Helen Miller “for using an array of journalistic tools to explore the “no-snitch” culture that helps perpetuate a cycle of violence in one of the most dangerous cities in the South.”
Today I recognize McClane, in particular, for developing the multimedia skill set as a student and putting it to work in way that brought national recognition to her news organization and great pride to those of us here in the journalism department at The University of Alabama.
Having done research at the Chattanooga newspaper several years ago, I know what a top-notch news operation they have there. Now the world knows by another example of the work the staff there is producing.
I’m just excited that one of our graduates is among those producing such work.
Way to go Joan!