Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

Two Minute Tips

First steps to covering your local economy

July 17, 2017

Share this article:

Be relentless about making contacts when covering local businesses. ("Small Town America" image by "Wendy" via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Be relentless about making contacts when covering local businesses. ("Small Town America" image by "Wendy" via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Be relentless about making contacts when covering local businesses. ("Small Town America" image by "Wendy" via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Be relentless about making contacts when covering local businesses. (“Small Town America” image by “Wendy” via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

To cover a local or regional economy, you need to know what makes it tick. Find a few lists, or compile them on your own:

• Fortune 500 companies based in your area

• Other local publicly held companies

• The largest privately-owned companies in your region

• The 10 largest employers in your locality. These could include government operations or educational institutions

• The largest unions in your area

• Other significant industries that might not be represented above, such as agriculture

Now get out your appointment calendar and start setting up meetings with people who are connected to each of these organizations or fields. It doesn’t have to be the CEO or the corporate communications official. Sometimes, the people in between are a better first stop.

Add to your list the head of the local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau and nearest business school, and any government officials connected to economic development. Ask each person you meet for the names of other people you need to know in order to understand the local economy. Even if you have just one informational meeting a week, you’ll be well-connected to your business community within a few months.

Look for productive ways to tap your community via social media, too. Start exploring which blogs, Facebook and Twitter sites might link you to people in the know about what’s happening in your region’s economy. (Originally reported by Pam Luecke)

More Like This...

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is full of story ideas for business reporters. (Image by Jennifer1051 via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

3 business stories for Veterans Day

Since 1918, when America celebrated the armistice ending WWI, November 11 has been an important day in the United States. It became even more notable in 1954, when President Eisenhower

Business journalists who want to cover climate change for a local audience can focus on the impact on agriculture. ("Calf" image by "zdenet" via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

How to localize climate change through agriculture

Discussions about climate change usually center around global temperatures and the general state of the environment. The relevance to a local audience isn’t always apparent. A person in Arizona, for

Get Two Minute Tips For Business Journalism Delivered To Your Email Every Tuesday

Two Minute Tips

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism. Sign up now and get one Tuesday.