Just starting out on the business beat and not sure where to begin? Here are two suggestions to help you cover local businesses.
Get familiar with the local business scene
In order to cover your local area, you need to know what it is made of. Start by finding or compiling a list of businesses in your area. Separate them by sector and whether they are government, public or privately held, non-profits, or even locally and family-owned organizations.
Take special note of the following:
- The largest employers in your region
- Publicly held companies based locally
- Organizations with labor unions
- Largest industry sector in your community
- Fast growing businesses
- Long-time established organizations
- Local chains
- Minority-owned or led businesses
Think about who would know the most about your local economy and reach out to them to set up an informational meeting. Consider economic professors at the community college, the head of your local Chamber of Commerce or any other government officials that focuses on economic development.
From there you can start talking to business owners in your largest sector, heads of labor unions, and directors at any sort of professional trade organization. All of these people have the capacity to give you a different insight to how your local economy operates and what it counts on to thrive.
Ask each person you meet with to suggest someone else you may want to talk to in order to understand your locality. Before you know it, you will be well connected in your business community and getting those interviews with business leaders won’t be so hard to get on your calendar.