When I first came to The Pulse, my passion for alternative newsweeklies was revived along with my (sometimes unfortunate) propensity to take on everything at once. But the moment demanded that aggressive posture and I have rarely slowed the pace.
Why? When I first met Zach, I met a kindred spirit, someone whose vision matched my own and whose affection and concern for his hometown I admired, as my own quickly returning sense of pride in a city I had left behind 30 years before surfaced. The Pulse was born of the city’s renaissance, sought to catch and capture that wave and distill its machinations in music, arts, culture and politics in its pages with all the best hallmarks of the alt-weeklies Cooper and Kull admired most. Zach and Bill Colrus had boarded that ship briefly before, but its hull was not sturdy enough for the choppy seas it confronted. The Pulse was, and has since built its reputation as the state’s fourth star in Tennessee’s alt-weekly universe, joining The Memphis Flyer, the Nashville Scene and the Metro Pulse in Knoxville as Chattanooga’s true alternative. That legacy, combined with my newfound respect and fascination with the remarkable, ongoing revival of my hometown convinced me every effort, every long, lonely hour I spent was worth the price—and it still is.
So, here we are, beginning a new year, a new decade of existence and reviewing a remarkable 10 years of “Greatest Hits.” With the first issue of this year, I came out of the closet and added the title of editor to that of creative director in front of my name. With Zach’s departure, I felt readers needed a responsible to party to laud or blame for the paper’s direction and coverage. And while I possess little of Cooper’s smooth style and in-depth knowledge of modern Chattanooga and that of his paper, I’ve learned enough to earn his blessing. I hope that counts for something.
Paging through back issues of the slowly yellowing archives of The Pulse, I felt something like a new in-law married into an eccentric, brilliant family. I grimaced at its shortfalls, smiled at its achievements and marveled again at the idea that a group of young, inspired and dedicated individuals would and could produce a weekly journal in an era when the odds of its survival are much diminished. The Pulse is very much a family, and in 10 years I hope to have earned my place at the reunion.