Archive | May, 2008

Turnover at the Weekly & the Daily

29 May

We’re used to seeing frequent turnover in the broadcast world – but it’s been a trend of late with our Treasure Valley print journalists as well. First Lora Volkert and Eddie Kovsky leaving the Idaho Business Review (and Simon Shifrin & Dani Grigg starting), then Ken Dey departing the Statesman. Now comes word that the head of the helm at Boise’s alt Weekly is moving on… here’s the email from soon-to-be-former BW editor Shea Andersen.

Folks,
I’m writing to inform people that after two years at the Boise Weekly, I’m
moving on. I’m taking advantage of an opportunity to return to Ketchum as
the editor of the Idaho Mountain Express.

I do this with some regret, because I love working at the BW, and in Boise.
I’m happy to say that the BW is in better shape than ever before. I only
wish I could take credit for all of it.

BW publisher Sally Freeman and I are working on the transition and I’m
confident that the paper will end up in good hands.

I’ll be off duty as editor here as of May 30. I’ll be on board in Ketchum by
mid-June.

Thanks for making this town so endlessly interesting. See you in the papers,

Shea

Shea’s sharp wit and journalistic style put many a company, elected official, and organization under the microscope – but he and his team raised the level of conversation in the Valley. Word is stellar long-time staffer Rachael Daigle is moving into the editor position – the Weekly is in great hands

And on the daily side – a departure at the Statesman as well.

One of the state’s most respected and longtime journalists – Jennifer Swindell – has decided to leave her position as Assistaing Editorial Page editor at the Idaho Statesman. Jennifer is well-known as being approachable and she will be missed by many, especially in the public relations world. Yet, she is joining us in the flack ranks – and, this is exciting. Swindell will be heading up communications for the Caldwell School District.

Good luck to both!

-Jess

Every story is local…

23 May

I had one of those wonderful moments this morning as I sat reading the Statesman. That ‘aha!’ feeling when you read a trend or national story that is intriguing on its own, and you realize it also has a local tie –  to a client of course.

It just illustrates the simple yet enduring concept that ‘every story is local’. I remember this from my TV news days when we were constantly striving to bring the news down to the local level where it could have greater impact. One striking example, 9-11.  I was running the newsroom that day (I’m sure everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing). It was one of the longest days of my professional career – 15+ hours. When I told my family they asked – ‘Why so long, that didn’t happen here… what could you possibly have been busy with?’ But as you know, no matter what town or city you lived in – that story was local. And that is the case more often than not.

In the particular instance from today, it’s the national alarm bell being sounded about the rapidly growing broadband needs nationwide.  As the Associated Press story noted, we have all this great technology, but traditional home wiring can’t and won’t be able to handle it. It will impact not only entertainment needs, but telecommuting and news consumption. The way we are consuming information and communicating is changing at a rapid pace. But the access to the technology needed may not be keeping up.

The local tie? I’m working with a tech company in the Treasure Valley that is addressing the very issue – future proofing (don’t you love that word) communities against the projected needs and those not even known yet by providing fiber-to-the-home in new communities in the Valley.  Zial Networks is the first company building dedicated point-to-point FTTH networks in the Western US – right here in the Treasure Valley.

Just another feather in the Valley’s cap – with forward thinking companies keeping an eye on future needs and ensuring we are ready.

-Jessi

The Creative Class and Beating the Drum

22 May

The conversation continues about what our Valley needs to grow the economy, attact new businesses, and retain and support the talent we already have. Many needs are cited, among them – enhancing public transportation, infrastructure, business incentives and higher education.

But what is often lost when we list off the needs is what the Boise Valley already has…a vibrant and growing professional services infrastructure.

The point has been brought home of late….

The Grand Opening of the Watercooler – a spectacular example of a public-private partnership to support the creative class by creating an incubator for start-ups to work in a collaborative environment. The vibe and promise was palatable Wednesday as developer Mark Rivers lit the bulb to signify the Watercooler’s inspiring spirit. The room was packed with those who would define themselves as proud members of the creative economy – talent to rival that found in our bigger sibling cities.

The Bullish on Boise drum being beaten by the Statesman. I still can’t decide where I fall on this tactic by the hometown paper. Should newspapers blatantly act as issues advocates? Should they purchase space to tell the story their editorial space apparently isn’t telling? With the rapidly changing media landscape, I’m not sure how to answer that. But what I do believe is that this Valley has talent, potential, and passion which is not showcased enough to the community at large. So if it takes a full-page color ad to remind people of what we have here – so be it.

And finally, an observation. I’ve spent the past few months in many a networking meeting and professional event (that comes with the territory of starting a biz!). From Kickstand and its upcoming IdaVation conference for innovators, to TechBoise and the BoiseBloggers, the rapidly growing Public Relations Society of America Chapter, to the exploding membership of the Boise Young Professional.

And while many of these professionals may lament the hard infrastructure elements missing from our economy – it is impossible to ignore the professional services infrastructure coming into its own. Whether it is brain power spun off from the granddaddy tech companies, transplants from larger cities, boomerangs who have seen what is possible and want it to happen here, or homegrown Idaho talent – the minds are in place and the passion is real. Add that to the attributes that our economic development leaders should tout.

There’s my soapbox blog of the quarter – back to PR Musings tomorrow ; – )

-Jess