Reynolds Weekly: November 12, 2018

by November 12, 2018

Looking for story ideas? We’ve taken recent headlines and put together a list of resources and angles you can use for your local coverage. (Photo credit to Pexels)

Amazon’s New Headquarters

Amazon is splitting its second headquarters into two. The second headquarters building will be split between New York’s Long Island and Virginia’s Arlington, according to sources who told to The New York Times and Bloomberg, the latter of which first broke the story.

Amazon’s executives recently met with New York officials Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill Blasio. Cuomo was enthusiastic about the potential move, but Arlington developers and government officials declined to comment, according to The New York Times.

How to localize:

How do the people in your area think about this change, as either potential workers or ordinary citizens? How does this affect the tech industry?

How many workers does Amazon have now, and will this create potentially new jobs for people in your area? Amazon currently has 600,000 employees, but is expected to grow to 50,000 more, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press also reported that the second headquarter’s employees will be paid “an average of more than $100,000 a year,” more than the recent $15 an hour. What do people think of this salary? What’s the cost of living in their area? How does this compare to other companies in your area?

Are the locals concerned about cost, increased traffic, etc.? The construction may cost $5 billion, according to CNN Business. The corporation has also requested its headquarters to be in a large city with “proximity to a major airport and the ability to attract technical talent.

Should You Pay or Rent to Get Away?

Do you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain—or investing in a second house?

CNN Business offered advice for people considering this potentially costly decision. On one hand, it may be financially viable to buy a vacation home, build equity and even charge other vacation-goers when the property isn’t in use. On the other, being a landlord may not be appealing or fruitful in the future to some.

The article advises to consider whether you’re ready for added expenses (including property taxes, upkeep, insurance or possible repairs if guests damage the house) and to research potential properties and investment returns, especially in certain areas.

How to localize:

Are people buying more vacation homes? Why? Have they profited, and how?

Are they using renting services, such as AirBnB or HomeAway? How much profit do they make? (AirBnB turned profitable in 2016 and is worth $31 billion.) Which locations are the best? Who is renting? (Millenials are popular in AirBnB’s bookings, according to an article from The Atlantic.  

Have some previously owned these homes and given up or stopped renting property out? If so, what were their reasons? How long did they own the home? How much was their profit?

How will this affect other hospitality-related areas, such as hotels, motels, hostels, etc.? Does they significantly compete with these or other rental houses or apartments? What is the rent control policy like?

Lastly, how does this affect the owner’s home insurance? What are some hidden costs of buying a second home? As always, location and demographics matter.  

Sears and Kmart’s Further Demises

Locations of 40 stores will shut its doors on February 2019, but liquidation sales will start as early as next week, according to a statement from the company. The Sears Auto Stores associated with these closing stores will also shut down. A spokesman refused to comment on how many employees will be affected, according to CBS News.

This marks the end of Sears’ run since 1886, where it got its start by selling watches. Kmart also was founded in 1899 and opened in 1962, then bought Sears in 2005. The two companies were then established as Sears Holdings.

Sears Holdings recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October and closed 142 “unprofitable” stores, according to The New York Times. It fell behind its competitors of such corporations as Amazon and WalMart. It also lost $6.26 million and its global revenues have significantly declined.

How to localize:

Which Sears and Kmart stores are closing in your area? What will take their place? What will happen to the affected employees? How has the employment rate at either KMart or Sears been in recent years? (as both a full-time and a part-time profession)

Sears and Kmart will still be open during the holiday season, according to the chairman of Sears Holdings, Edward S. Lampert, in a press release. Will people take advantage of liquidation sales or find items somewhere else?

Sears was at its peak in the 1960s, where it primarily sold and delivered toys. How many locals remember shopping there? Now, or in recent years, how many people shopped (primarily or not) at Sears or Kmart? Did they buy in-store or go online?