First Year of Business Section at Success
Where does time go? My younger daughter recently graduated from college. My older son started first grade two days ago, and I am less than a month away from attending my 30th high school reunion.
Oh, by the way, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of this Business section.
It was last July that The Pilot shut down its in-house press and started having the thrice-weekly newspaper printed by The News & Observer of Raleigh, a move that enabled us to go from three section fronts to four.
Publisher David Woronoff and Editor Steve Bouser said the decision to focus on business news in the additional section of Wednesday's edition was virtually a no-brainer.
"We cover the community, and business news was a hole in our coverage that needed to be filled," Woronoff said.
Bouser added, "For a long time, the lack of comprehensive business coverage was our biggest deficiency. We had tried several approaches over the years, but none seemed to click."
Of course, I was happy to receive a call from Bouser in June 2010 offering me a part-time job covering the business beat. A lifelong journalist, I was working outside the industry at the time and was miserable professionally.
The opportunity to help build the new section from scratch was appealing, as was another chance to help small business owners in Moore County.
I published Sandhills Business Times, a 10-county regional business newspaper, from June 2003 through November 2008. Like many small business owners, I made a ton of mistakes. I figured my past experience could be beneficial. Perhaps I could help readers from falling into the same traps.
That is why this space usually focuses on education.
I also encourage feedback and seek story ideas from readers. I often say, "Send me everything. I can't promise you it will get in the paper, but it's got no chance if I don't see it."
This section is a partnership between The Pilot and you, Dear Reader. It will only be as good as the exchange between the two of us. So far, so good.
"I think the Business section has been very well received," Woronoff said. "Many people, including the folks affiliated with Moore County Partners in Progress, feel it has helped galvanize the business community."
But don't think for a minute that we're resting on our laurels.
"In the future, I'd like to see a little more authoritative analysis of what drives our economy week in and week out," Woronoff said. "The health care industry is changing. The tourism industry seems to be rebounding, and the retail industry appears to be booming. We need to put that all into context and show our readers how it affects them."
While Bouser is also "thrilled" with the new section, he would like to see more balance.
"To me, the ideal business page would have a mix of macro- and micro-economic issues," he said. "We always want readers to be responsive and tell us how we're doing. But we also want to be proactive and help shape the future debate about the best way for Moore County to grow economically."
The last year has been a whirlwind. I attained full-time status with the newspaper last January, adding the health care and Southern Pines beats to my duties. But the Business section will always be closest to my heart.
It's time to wrap this up, so thanks for a great first year.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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