Gerber: A fresh, modern look for your newspaper

Read moreVideo: Don't worry, dear reader, it's still us: Times Free Press updates its look and its capabilities

You're holding in your hands the new Times Free Press.

Plenty of papers these days are beefing up their offering on digital devices. That's a necessary move by an industry that didn't react quickly enough to the disruption of the Web.

But few are investing in print. Many are letting it dwindle away.

In Chattanooga, we're trying to do both, along with a solid dose of ambitious journalism.

You can read our paper on your computer, tablet, phone (and, who knows, maybe someday on your watch?). Journalists here make sure we're informing and entertaining you via social media and push notifications and email blasts and webcasts and video and interactive graphics and live blogs of GIFs, and all of the other things that our online and mobile readers expect.

But we have not given up on the printed paper.

Recently, papers have been delivered late on several days because of mechanical problems with the new press we've installed. Thousands of readers called the paper to complain. I spoke to many myself and suggested that they read the website or the e-edition, an exact replica of the print paper in digital form. Many wouldn't hear it. "The paper paper," one reader called it.

"I'm a baby boomer, and I like to hold the paper in my hands," another declared.

Today's paper, printed on our new press and with a fresh new look, is just one example of our commitment to good journalism.

We've invested in new equipment - installing our new press took more than a year and was a huge and expensive construction project - and redesigned the look of the paper for the first time in 15 years. We're also working on a redesign of our website.

It's harder than ever for a newspaper to do it all, but we have lofty goals. Our aim is not just to inform our readers on what's happened but to also bring you blue-ribbon journalism that betters our region. We believe it's our responsibility to do so.

We want to be part of the conversation that moves our community forward and questions the status quo. We want to be the place where you read about interesting characters who make you smile or cringe; or a penetrating exploration of a societal problem; or a profile that gnaws at you long after you've finished reading it.

In the past few years, we've invested more time than ever before in stories that we hope have a lasting impact. These stories are complex, and take a great deal of time and resources. But it's paid off.

People, especially those who travel a good deal and read other papers along the way, tell us they feel pride in their city's paper.

Our work has been recognized on a state, regional and national level.

Today's front page-story is an example of the type of journalism we are proud of.

The story idea originally came from a stranger in another state.

A few years ago, I received an email from a resident of Kirkwood, Mo., who said he was pondering the departure of "the very best among us."

He was talking about Franklin and Tresa McCallie. His email informed me that they were returning to "their beloved Chattanooga" and that their arrival was a "terrific gain" for us and a loss for Missouri.

"Just thought the people of Chattanooga should know," he wrote.

Then a reporter from St. Louis called and told me Franklin McCallie would make a good story. Why? I asked.

How much time do you have? the reporter replied.

Today, if you have some time, read Project Editor Joan Garrett McClane's story on McCallie.

McClane spent months getting to know McCallie, and his story should make us think about how we relate to one another and how we can overcome many of the misunderstandings that separate us.

Turn to Page A1 and read it. Or read it online. But please read it.

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