Times Free Press launches ‘subscriber exclusive’ content

The Chattanooga Times Free Press traces its history to 1869 when the firm of Kirby & Gamble was optimistic enough to open a small newspaper, the Chattanooga Daily Times, in a city just starting to rebuild from the devastation of the Civil War.

More than 150 years later, the newspaper is still here — the third oldest continuously operating business in Chattanooga — and still provisioning news seven days a week about the city and region.

Over the decades, journalists have recorded the city's evolution from a small river town to a booming metropolitan area with some of the fastest internet speeds on the planet.

Times Free Press subscribers get to read the full paper, but we offer a few online stories a month to non-subscribers, like a free sample at Costco. This practice dates back to the founding of the Times, when the newspaper was delivered for 25 cents a week and the newspaper offered "specimen copies sent for free."

Back then, no one expected us to provide the news at no charge. And it's not realistic for us to provide it that way now. We see the gathering of the news as a partnership with our subscribers, and we are taking some new steps to highlight the best work to come out of that partnership.

Starting today, a selection of stories on timesfreepress.com will be labeled "subscriber exclusive" and will not be available to non-subscribers.

These stories will be unique to the Times Free Press. They won't be stories you'll see on the evening news and they won't be the stories that all news outlets chase, like crimes, weather events and votes by elected officials here or in Nashville.

They will be stories no one else is covering, such as this examination by Andrew Schwartz of an ongoing split in the United Methodist Church.

Or this story by Elizabeth Fite of an East Brainerd man struggling with long COVID, or this one about the Chattanooga surgeons who successfully removed a rare 34-pound tumor from a patient.

Or this story by Joan Garrett McClane about the friction between Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly and Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp over the new stadium proposal for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

The team in the TFP newsroom works hard every day to cover everything from Friday night football and new restaurants to how local students fared on state assessment tests and how new developments will change the face of the city.

A healthy newspaper is vital to the civic health of a community. Research shows that voter participation declines and corruption increases in communities not covered by strong news organizations. We strive every day to give Chattanooga-area residents the news they need to understand and participate in this great community we call home.

If you're a subscriber, thank you for being part of the TFP family. Please enjoy our exclusive content.

If you're not, please consider this introductory rate. Join us as we record the city's history as it continues to unfold.

Alison Gerber is the editor of the Times Free Press. Reach her at agerber@timesfreepress.com or (423) 757-6408.

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