Joy Lukachick Smith (Reporter, Photographer)

Phone: 423-757-6659
Joy Lukachick Smith is an investigative reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. In 2014, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in the Tennessee Press Association for best news reporting and investigative reporting for her series on murders and corruption in Georgia's state prison system. Raised near the Bayou, Smith's hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. When Smith isn't chasing down stories, she is a full-time supporter of the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints. She also loves cooking Cajun food. Contact Smith at 423-757-6659 or

Lessons learned from a revival, still unfinished

Published Oct. 1 2017

Lessons learned from a revival, still unfinished.

The rise and fall of a vision for Chattanooga's future

Published Sep. 27 2017

The real story behind Chattanooga's rebirth has never been told. These are the lost chapters.

The lost chapters of the Chattanooga story

Published Sep. 24 2017

Nearly 40 years ago, an idiosyncratic multimillionaire, a North Chattanooga housewife and a tribe of idealistic baby boomers formed an...


Chattanooga organization wants to unite public on solutions to inequality

Published May. 18 2017

A local coalition is hoping to unite the public around solving Chattanooga's rising inequality problems.

Chattanooga revamps reading program at recreational centers

Published Mar. 13 2017

A Chattanooga-funded reading initiative is undergoing changes in an effort to align with the Hamilton County school system.

Mayoral candidate calls Berke's housing policies failures, proposes his own

Published Feb. 10 2017

One of Mayor Andy Berke's challengers claims a key initiative of the mayor's — creating affordable housing — has failed,...

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy celebrates much-needed gym renovations

Published Jan. 26 2017

During one basketball game at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, a referee had to pause the game to pick up insulation...

Hamilton Place mall security increased after multiple incidents

Published Jan. 19 2017

After recent disturbances at Hamilton Place mall, including one that led to a lawsuit, officials announced they will beef up...

Black families rejected for home loans at higher rate than whites in Chattanooga, study finds [video]

Published Oct. 9 2016

Chattanooga banks award only a fraction of the home purchase loans they originate to black families, and black families' applications...

Council postpones decision about controversial tax breaks for developers

Published Sep. 14 2016

The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing next week on the city's controversial tax break program. The...

Murder suspect Cortez Sims to get new attorney, delayed trial date

Published Sep. 13 2016

While prosecutors have argued that a delay in the trial of a 19-year-old accused killer could put more witnesses at...

Critics ask for a seat at the table in planning controversial tax break program

Published Sep. 7 2016

Hours before the City Council was set to vote with no prior public discussion on a tax incentive program that...

City Council delays controversial tax break vote for two weeks after outcry

Published Sep. 6 2016

The City Council voted to defer for two weeks voting on the controversial tax break program after critics claimed the...

Critics want City Council to delay vote on controversial tax break program

Published Sep. 6 2016

City leaders aren't giving the public ample time to talk with their elected officials publicly before tonight's scheduled vote on...

Gatlinburg: Gateway to the Smokies

Published Sep. 1 2016

This small mountain town gives families a taste of Appalachian Tennessee with gorgeous views of the Great Smoky Mountains and...

After calls for change, Chattanooga mayor revises tax breaks for downtown developers

Published Jul. 20 2016

After months of critics calling for the city to halt its tax incentive program for developers downtown, Mayor Andy Berke...

City reworks controversial housing tax breaks

Published Jul. 19 2016

Though the current tax breaks for housing developments will end in their current form, the city will retain the right...

Chattanooga developer partners with tax-break critics to rewrite policy on controversial housing program

Published Jul. 14 2016

A local developer has teamed up with his critics to propose policy changes for Chattanooga's controversial program that offers tax...

Some residents consider leaving East Chattanooga block after latest violence

Published Jul. 5 2016

On the corner of a violent block of East Chattanooga, children ran screaming for cover in the dark as two...

Family mourns after finding sister dead at her College Hill Courts home on her birthday

Published Jul. 5 2016

A Chattanooga woman who should have been celebrating her birthday Monday was found dead in the early afternoon in her...