Very sad today about Nashville’s loss of Gail Kerr, one of my dearest friends in the Nashville news world. Gail and I got to know each other during the old SPJ Gridiron Show years ago – she was one of the main writers and I was one of the worst performers. (I believe she also met her husband, the incredible Les Kerr , at Gridiron. Les was one of the only truly talented people in the show, the other star being Brent Stoker, who came by his talent honestly, being the son of Jordanaire Gordon Stoker.)
Gail was one of the kindest, smartest, funniest and most honest journalists I’ve ever known. She consistently delivered insightful columns that fairly called out problems and problem makers and praised successes and heroes in our city. Her writing was crisp, engaging and highly readable – one thing I consistently read in every issue of The Tennessean. Because she had been with the paper for so long, since the Seigenthaler days, she was also able to put current events into perspective of the long view. Few people loved this town more, and she wasn’t shy about making that clear.
She was also fair to PR folks like me. A straight shooter, she’d tell you if she thought your story was actually a story, versus puffery, and if she thought it was a story, she’d suggest the best person at the paper to pitch it to. Nobody knew The Tennessean newsroom like Gail.
And nobody knew Nashville like she did. Our city has lost something very important with her passing.
Below are links to remembrances of Gail by competing journalists, one a current competitor, Steve Cavendish with SouthComm, and the other a former competitor who became a colleague, Bruce Dobie, founding editor of the Nashvile Scene and current Tennessean columnist. When competitors say good things about someone, you know she was special.