Gerber: A new face on the Times page

Gerber: A new face on the Times page

May 5th, 2013 by Alison Gerber in Opinion Columns

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

It's true that Sohn, who's been a journalist in Chattanooga for 25 years, is a tough broad (she's also the kind of woman who would not be offended to be described as a "broad," by the way).

She's a solid journalist who over the years has covered a variety of beats: crime, courts, health care, education and the environment.

Sohn does not shy away from complicated, controversial topics and is the type of journalist who truly believes in a newspaper's watchdog role. She has worked as both an editor and reporter and has a wealth of institutional knowledge about Chattanooga and the counties that surround it.

Starting today, she takes on a new role as editor of the Times page. Turn to page F4 to read her introductory column.

Sohn, who was raised on Walden's Ridge, started at the Chattanooga Times in 1985 after spending 10 years at the Anniston Star in Alabama.

Over the years, Sohn has won dozens of writing awards, including first-place honors for breaking news, investigative news, public service and feature writing. Last year. She was a runner-up for a prestigious national award, the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, for her "Saving Mary" story about a homeless woman and the woman who helped her get off the streets.

Just last week, Sohn received a first-place award for daily deadline reporting in the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors contest.

She succeeds Harry Austin, who retired Friday after 37 years at the Times and Times Free Press. When he announced his retirement, I received several inquiries about whether the paper would continue to have two editorial pages.

Yes. Absolutely.

This newspaper is unique in having two editorial pages - the left-leaning Times page and the right-leaning Free Press page. Our commitment to honor the legacy of the two papers that in 1999 were combined to create the Times Free Press is solid. It's also an example of this newspaper going against the grain of our industry.

Just last week, our president, Jason Taylor, announced that the Times Free Press will make a multimillion-dollar investment in a new printing press.

In an era when some newspapers are printing only three days a week and the industry has been under strain, a new press - along with entirely new hardware and software in the newsroom - demonstrates an enormous commitment to the printed newspaper.

We expect to serve readers in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama for years to come.

So while you'll be able to read Sohn's editorials on your phone or tablet or computer, you'll also continue to be able to read her work, and the rest of the newspaper, in the printed version delivered to your door.

Alison Gerber is the managing editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Reach her at agerber@timesfreepress.com.