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Melissa Preddy’s tips on localizing national business stories

BusinessJournalism.org blogger Melissa Preddy offered these 10 tips on localizing national business stories:

Melissa Preddy, SABEW, BusinessJournalism.org

Melissa Preddy

1. Break it down. Use alternative story-telling methods such as a diagrams, timelines, Q-and-As, consumer guides, such as this interactive one from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

2.       Go long. Over time, follow a job seeker, track the price of a market basket of goods or track the transactions on a single property.

3.       Engage local experts. Talk to Kellogg’s on commodities, Masco Corp. on home building or local app developers on the new iPad.

4.       Source the suppliers. Purchasing groups and unions can also be sources.

5.       Tap into trade groups. Looking at fitness-group websites, she found information about pending legislation in several states regulating personal trainers. There are groups that manage trade groups and can be a conduit to other trade groups.

6.       Delve into local data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has livestock stats down to the county level. The National Conference of State Legislatures and Center for Public Policy Priorities track information down to the state level. Woods & Poole Economics Inc. does county-level jobs, housing and economic forecasts to 2040.

7.       Who benefits? Even in calamity, someone often benefits. Seafood suppliers from elsewhere were in demand after the Gulf oil spill.

8.       Find the personal finance angle. Ponder the consumer angle along these seven dimensions: earning, borrowing, spending, saving, investing, taxes and risk management.

9.       Go beyond the biz wire. With Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan in the news, how about a story on the business of drug rehabilitation? Even the royal British wedding is a U.S. business story.

10.   Have fun! Oddball economic indicators include luxury desserts, romance novels and dry-cleaning pickups.

Preddy will also do a free Webinar on the same topic on June 21. Below are some more resources and examples.

Helpful Documents and Links:

HUD Housing Scorecard, Feb 2011 (PDF)

“Pre-existing condition? Now a health policy may not be impossible” (New York Times)

“Fortunes rise and fall for one North Las Vegas neighborhood” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Times Square District Management Association Retail Vacancy Map (PDF)

United Van Lines Migration Study Press Release

“Michigan laborers choosing unemployment” (UPI)

“10 Quirky Indicators” (Kiplinger’s)

“10 Signs the economy is on the upswing” (Kiplinger’s)

“Some Michigan retailers are lucky spots for lottery players” (Detroit Free Press via Lottery Post)

About the Author

The Reynolds Center, created through generous grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas and operated by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is dedicated to improving the quality of business and economics coverage through training programs for business reporters and editors.

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