Alison Gerber: New year, new trends

Alison Gerber: New year, new trends

December 30th, 2012 by Alison Gerber in Opinion Columns

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.

This year it'll be "13 to watch in 2013," a list to be published on Jan. 1.

We have a working list, made up by the reporters and editors in the newsroom, but we'd like to get feedback from readers, too. So let us know who you think qualifies. It doesn't have to be a person; it can be a place, a business, a cultural trend. Really, it can be anything that promises to shape our community in the coming year or get us talking.

Last year's list included the voter, the gig geek, Highway 27 and gangs, all of which became major points of discussion in our area during 2012.

Newspapers love lists at the end of the year: top stories, most-viewed web stories, best photos. We love them because it's a good way to recap the year that was - and honestly, we cover so many stories we sometimes forget a few, especially if they happened in the early part of the year. The lists not only take us back, they can also take us forward because they help us see which stories are ongoing and need to be watched on a continuing basis.

In the case of the who-to-watch list, it's also an interesting and fun exercise to go back and gauge how accurate the list was.

For example, the 2012 list was fairly accurate because it included former Vols coach Derek Dooley who faced a make-or-break season that, as it turned out, he didn't survive.

The list also featured North Georgia native and "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina, who recently won new artist of the year in the American Country Awards, a prize based on fan voting and a sign that her star continues to rise.

So send in your ideas for who or what is worth watching next year, along with a few sentences on each. Do you think U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is someone to watch? Should we keep an eye on Andy Berke who, with little opposition now lined up, seems destined to be Chattanooga's next mayor?

What overarching issues are out there that are important? Gun control legislation? Rising taxes?

Are there any cultural phenomena out there that deserve attention?

Send your selections to And go to to look at the 12 to Watch in 2012 list and the recent where-are-they-now update on those 12.