About the Project


The documentary is produced and directed by Derrall Stalvey, a 20-year veteran of broadcast television. He served as news director for Sarkes Tarzian, Inc.'s NBC affiliate in Chattanooga, TN from 2007-2017 where his team earned the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. Co-writers were Derrall Stalvey and John Altenbern. Narration by John Reeves.

Principal videographers for the project include Kiersten Williams, Rachael Porter, and Kelly Lacy from Make Beautiful Co. in Chattanooga, TN as well as Bryan Evans from Consider It Done Productions in Reno, NV. 


W. Bradford Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project and Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He is also Senior Fellow of the Institute for Family Studies. He holds a PhD in sociology from Princeton University.

Melissa Langsam Braunstein is a Contributing Writer at the Institute for Family Studies. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she was a Pforzheimer Fellow.


Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. is a small, family-owned media company that operates two television stations in these two cities. The cities were selected for special focus, in part, as a service to these two communities in which the television company has roots. While no two cities can represent all of America's diversity, these two metropolitan areas that are 2,300 miles apart are very different. Despite their differences, the project found the same four keys to happiness. The same keys to happiness found in Chattanooga and Reno are found in the rest in the national data. This is Chattanooga's story and it is Reno's story. But it just as much America's story.


We relied upon two surveys for the figures depicted in this report. The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationally representative survey of more than two million households across the United States conducted by the U.S. Census. We conducted an analysis of ACS data covering more than 8,200 households in the Chattanooga metropolitan area and 6,500 from Reno. The National Survey of Family Life was conducted in 2018 by CJ&N, a survey firm, among more than 1,000 U.S. adults, ages 25-55. The sample, drawn from Survey Sampling International, was balanced to reflect the age, gender, ethnicity, and geographic distribution of the U.S. population as defined by the U.S. Census. CJ&N also surveyed an additional 100 online respondents from the Chattanooga area and 100 more from Reno. Nicholas Leaver, Vijay Menon, and Joseph Price provided statistical analysis and substantive research for this report. Anna Sutherland copy-edited this report. Finally, this report was sponsored and funded by Sarkes Tarzian, Inc.


Hard to Believe (Stephen Keech), 1982 (Stephen Keech), First Light (Stephen Keech), Rising (Stephen Keech), What Can't be Said (Kevin Graham), Better Than Two (Darren King & Brendan St. Gelais), Crossroads (S.L.J. Kalmeijer)

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