Based on my research so far, I’m planning on focusing my beat on the economic growth of downtown Athens. I will mostly be looking at the success of small businesses and any major renovations or construction that is being done in the downtown area.
One idea I plan on covering is the rise of tech start-ups in Athens and how the Chamber of Commerce is working with these new companies to promote growth. I’ve been reading a lot about the company Four Athens, which brings together a lot of these start-ups and creates an online community that allows people to share ideas. They also have multiple events for tech enthusiasts around Athens to meet up and bounce ideas off one another. I think this story is especially important because of the government involvement. Since there are so many people working together to make Athens more appealing to start-ups, there has been rapid growth on this topic.
I am also thinking about reporting on the new Caterpillar factory that is being built in Clarke County. Because poverty is such a big issue here, the number of jobs this company could offer would be really beneficial to the economic development of Athens. It is also important that many positions they’re offering only require a a high school diploma. This could directly impact those that are closer to the poverty line and need to find work.
To start out, I’m planning on contacting a few professionals in my areas. I really want more information on the government’s involvement, so I’m planning on possibly contacting some members of the Chamber of Commerce to use as sources. I’m also planning on contacting local journalists from Flagpole and the Athens Banner-Herald to learn more about business in Athens and where they find information.