How the city has changed (for the better) since The Pulse began
Thirteen years ago this week, a new publication hit the streets of Chattanooga. For over 600 weeks since then, The Pulse has been the voice of the city (or so we like to think). We aren’t much for birthday cakes or celebrations, but there is something very satisfying to have been a part of the city for as long as we have.
But what exactly is The Pulse? In the business, we are called an “alternative weekly,” but I like to think we are much more than that. What we really are is a celebration of all the things that make this city so interesting: music, arts, theater, food, politics, business, and above all else the fascinating people who have called this city home.
It all started with a baseball game. One Wednesday afternoon, Zach Cooper and Michael Kull agreed to catch a “businessman’s special” Lookouts game, only to have it rained out. So they walked to a nearby watering hole and over the course of the afternoon mapped out the idea that would, in time, become The Pulse.
“When we started The Pulse in late 2003, the term ‘entrepreneur’ wasn't used very much in Chattanooga,” Cooper explains. “Even less used were the words ‘new media’ or its ilk. We simply believed that this city needed an independent, hyper-local publication that concentrated on culture and civic topics.”
Cooper and Kull put together a talented group of writers and editors and embarked on a journey that has had as many ups-and-downs as the Cannonball roller coaster at Lake Winnie. And while neither Cooper nor Kull are with the paper anymore, all of us here still owe a major debt of gratitude to what they created.
Looking back to our very first issue, in which we covered the growing movement to reclaim and restore once-vibrant Main Street on the Southside (a battle that obviously has been won in the ensuing decade), a lot has changed. Writers, editors, artists, columnists have come and gone. The look of the paper has changed…several times. Even our ownership has changed. But one thing has not changed—passion. And through it all, what has also remained constant is a dedication to telling the best stories we know how.
In the 20-plus years I have made Chattanooga home, I’ve seen an extraordinary change in this city. The downtown, Northshore and Southside areas have all completely reenergized themselves. A growing arts community supports a number of galleries, theaters and events. Music venues thrive, and on any given night you can go out and experience a fantastic variety of very talented musicians and bands.
The business world has also changed. Young tech entrepreneurs have flocked to the city, major industries have settled in, and our economy is far stronger than it was just a decade ago. And the overlap between the business world and the creative arts has never been stronger or more beneficial to both.
Of course there are still many issues to address, many things that need to be improved upon or outright changed. No city is perfect. But I am proud of what this city has accomplished and am, quite honestly, amazed at the sheer amount of talent living among us. It is especially exciting to see a new generation come into their own, building upon what has come before, and helping to map out a strong and energized future for Chattanooga.
I like to think The Pulse has been a part of that growth. Every week, I learn something new about the city and its people in these pages. And my hope is that as the city grows, The Pulse will continue to grow along with it. It’s been a great 13 years, and I look forward to many more years to come.
I’m just thankful you are along for the ride with me. For we couldn’t have done it without you, the loyal reader. And for that, I humbly thank you.