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Former Newspaperman Begins New Gig in Jim Cooper’s Office | Hill Climber

This is not the first time Chris Carroll has taken a leap of faith.

The Tennessee native and new press secretary for Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., originally planned to become a physician before an internship with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” during his sophomore year of college.

“I was initially looking at it as a three-month diversion from science classes,” Carroll said. “I already sort of knew that I liked my history and writing and political classes better than the science classes, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do beyond medical school. ‘The Daily Show’ kind of changed that.”

Carroll pursued journalism, politics and law opportunities his final two years, graduating in 2009 with a history degree from East Tennessee State University. An internship shortly after with the Chattanooga Times Free Press launched his journalism career.

“I covered a homicide on my third day; the internship program at the Chattanooga Times Free Press is such that they throw you in immediately, sink or swim,” Carroll said.

After spending more than three years at the Times Free Press, including most recently as the paper’s Washington, D.C., correspondent, Carroll jumped to Cooper’s staff.

“There was no hesitation to take this leap,” he said. “I thought it was a really great opportunity to explore another side of the political world that has always interested me and it was for a member of Congress who I believed in.”

Carroll has a family background in news and public relations. His father is a local television anchor in Chattanooga and his mother works in public relations. Carroll said his family, history and newspaper background would help in his new role.

“Lending a sense of context to every newspaper story in an interesting and informative way as well as considering the source … all resonates with a history degree,” Carroll said.

Carroll started Aug. 5 and replaced Katie Hill, who became a press secretary for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions. Cooper also hired staff assistant Vic Goetz to replace Kathleen Ambrose, who jumped to North Carolina Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre’s office and hired Paul Shorkey as a health care legislative fellow, replacing Ruth McDonald.

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