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

Daisy Street shooters targeted kids playing hoops

Published Jul. 4 2016

Witnesses describe gunmen firing into group of neighborhood kids.

Pigeon Forge: Small town, big history

Published Jul. 1 2016

Adventure awaits in this small Appalachian town filled with local traditions. For starter's, it's the home of Dollywood.

Ray Brent Marsh victim asks public to forgive him following release

Published Jun. 30 2016

When Sheila Manis learned her husband, Ira, was likely among the hundreds of bodies tossed in fields or left in...

Brent Marsh, convicted in Tri-State crematory case, released after serving 12 years in prison

Published Jun. 29 2016

Ray Brent Marsh, who was convicted of tossing bodies into buildings, holes and leaving them in their caskets when he...

Chattanoogan is the first woman in Tennessee to enlist in once male-only Army combat unit

Published May. 30 2016

Alayna Becker's earliest memories with her grandfather were crawling into his lap to hear stories of his days driving tanks...

Pinkston may call in TBI to investigate Berke official's case

Published May. 25 2016

District Attorney Neal Pinkston is strongly considering whether to call in the Tennessee Bureau of investigation to investigate a case...

Citizen watchdog group asks Chattanooga to halt further tax breaks to private developers

Published May. 8 2016

Offering tax breaks to residential developers has not helped address Chattanooga's growing affordable housing deficit, say a number of downtown...

Unprecedented request for tax break on Chattanooga apartment complex sparks controversy

Published Apr. 28 2016

A Chattanooga developer's unprecedented request to be given a six-year-old tax break on his nearly completed downtown apartment complex prompted...

Apison man devotes life to helping others after devastating twister

Published Apr. 27 2016

In front of Arthur Bates' farmhouse in Apison is a sign that reads: 'The house God built.'

After the 2011 tornadoes, many devout Ringgold residents asked: 'Where's God?'

Published Apr. 27 2016

It's been five years since Connie Wilson lost her sister, her sister's husband and their son and daughter, and she...

Five years after storms killed hundreds across the Southeast, scientists hope lessons learned can save lives in the future

Published Apr. 24 2016

It took the deadliest tornado outbreak in modern history to shatter the false sense of security among Chattanooga area residents...

Chattanooga high school briefly evacuated for nearby brush fire

Published Apr. 22 2016

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts students were temporarily evacuated from their classes this morning because of a nearby...

Chattanooga police backlogged on 23,000 expunged records

Published Mar. 19 2016

While Chattanooga leaders are working to make it easier to hire people with criminal backgrounds, the Chattanooga Police Department is...

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy director calls for community partners to close education gap

Published Mar. 16 2016

Before Elaine Swafford became executive director of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy in mid-2012 and transformed the failing charter school, she...

Parents upset about school zoning changes that would split up Falling Water students

Published Mar. 15 2016

A crowd of disgruntled parents accused Hamilton County Schools leaders of poor communication when they learned Monday night about zoning...

Dalton schools new mobile app offers push notifications, access to grades, homework

Published Mar. 13 2016

In January, the Dalton school district rolled out the new mobile app for students and parents to download for free,...

Another VRI leader leaves Chattanooga

Published Mar. 11 2016

Chattanooga's Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith is leaving his position to take a job with the National Network for Safe...

Crowd reacts angrily to Moses Freeman during community event

Published Mar. 11 2016

Chattanooga City Councilman Moses Freeman drew strong criticism Thursday night from the crowd at a community event when he said...

Poverty Puzzle: About the reporting

Published Mar. 6 2016

THIS SERIES WAS reported for more than a year. To have a foundation of knowledge on the issues of poverty,...

This unlikely alliance is bridging the divide between the penniless and the prosperous

Published Mar. 6 2016

A model that unites middle class families with their struggling neighbors is proving poverty can be beat.