Gerber: Finding the local angle

Gerber: Finding the local angle

May 26th, 2013 by Alison Gerber in Opinion Columns

The bicycles take over this weekend, and cars will have to take a backseat (or, more accurately, a back road).

Landing the USA Cycling National Championship was a coup for Chattanooga and is drawing thousands to the city. And the race makes history: For the first time ever the top U.S. women cyclists will share the road with men.

When Times Free Press photo intern Connor Choate heard that, he said, "Finding a local female rider was a MUST."

He and multimedia reporter Mary Helen Miller started searching for a female cyclist and ultimately tracked down Chattanoogan Amy Phillips, who is a member of the Hud Endurance Women's Cycling Team. She is one of the few local riders competing in the championship races.

"After finding (her) I started to think about how I wanted to shoot the piece and decided it was time to put my GoPro, which had been collecting dust on my shelf, to good use," Choate said.

A GoPro - a wearable camera - allows a videographer to film from the perspective of the person competing. Choate describes it as an "indestructible camera that gives viewers a different look and shoots amazing video."

He fastened the camera to Phillips' handlebar and incorporated some of that footage into his video about her. The video is posted at, a special multimedia page that features videos and slideshows and coverage throughout the event.

The page has plenty of other useful information, too. Go there if you want to know where to watch, who's coming, how traffic will be rerouted, what the economic impact is, and much more.

Today, you can catch up on yesterday's time trials, and watch video shot by photographer Dan Henry (who is also a talented cyclist).

On Memorial Day, when 164 cyclists compete in the final races, you'll find live coverage of the road races (women starts at 9 a.m.; men at 1:15 p.m.).

We will have updates throughout the day. Assistant Sports Editor Jim Tanner (another avid cyclist) will be updating the Times Free Press Sports Facebook and the paper's Twitter feed. Feel free to post your own photos to the paper's Facebook page as well.

The other big events this time of year are high school

graduations. Our annual look at valedictorians from more than 80 regional high schools runs today in Life.

And again, we'll have a multimedia component. At you'll find an interactive piece. Scroll over the valedictorians' photos and you'll see information about each, and on some of them you'll also get a pop-up with their answer to survey questions sent to them by the Times Free Press. Not all answered (hey, they're teenagers), but the ones who did had some interesting things to say.

While we will continue to cover these important events in the print newspaper, we'll also look for new ways of storytelling online, not to replace the stories we print every day, but to enhance them.

Online is a different animal from print in many ways; those who utilize it regularly often are interested in getting information in a different way than the paper. But between online and print, we hope to offer complete, thorough coverage of our area in ways that our readers want.

Alison Gerber is the managing editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Reach her at