Sunday, December 13, 2015

Associate introduction, Part III

Welcome to the third installment of my introduction to the experienced journalists who are participating in the creation of the Gulf Coast Reporters' League Business Quarterly, which is scheduled to publish Jan. 5.

Today I'll introduce three more team members, including a co-founder of the League who seems to have worked in as many places as I have. I'll also introduce a talented photographer who just retired from his newspaper job in October. I'll also introduce you to a newspaper veteran who can handle writing, editing or page design chores without breaking a sweat.

Duwayne Escobedo is a co-founder of the Gulf Coast Reporters' League. We were having lunch at a barbecue eatery in Gulf Breeze, and we began talking about the aerospace activities in the region. He knew I had created an aerospace website and was producing a daily news feed. We began talking about the need for an aerospace book.

So we decided to each find one other experienced journalist who could join us to work on an aerospace book. That was the start of the League. We published our first aerospace book in June 2011, and published our fifth edition in June 2015.

Duwayne, a freelance journalist, has worked nearly two dozen years as an editor, investigative reporter and columnist. His experience includes covering Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and a range of news, business and feature stories in Northwest Florida. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Associated Press, Bloomberg and Time magazine. He won the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors award for investigative reporting in 1997. He lives in Pensacola, Fla.

He's continued to write for the annual book, and he's also taken on writing chores for our aerospace bimonthly, as well as some additional writing assignments for other projects that I handle. He's of course key to this magazine.

"The collapse of mainstream media is allowing true journalists to thrive, especially here on the Gulf Coast, where all kinds of news is going unreported. We've succeeded in other topics and I'm confident putting experienced reporters to work on this new business-focused publication will make it quickly become a must read, as well," he said.

Duwayne is writing about a well-known research institute that some years ago became independent from the university where it got its start. He'll fill us in on what has been good and bad about that decision. He's also participating in one of the quarterly reviews.

Bruce Graner has more than 40 years of experience as a newspaper photographer. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida in 1974 and began his newspaper career with the Times Enterprise in Thomasville, Ga.

Bruce has contributed photographs to local, state and national publications such as Newsweek and People magazines and has received numerous awards in photography. He retired from the Pensacola News Journal on Oct. 31, 2015, and is now a freelance photographer. He lives in Pensacola, Fla.

When I knew he was no longer at his long-time home at the PNJ, I jumped at the opportunity to bring him in our fold.

"The business climate of the world is changing faster today than it has in the last two generations. A magazine devoted to understanding the business forecast for the Gulf Coast doesn't seem like just a good idea, but a necessity for success."

Bruce will be contributing multiple photos to our January inaugural issue. I've already seen his first two assignments, and they are top-notch. In fact, our photography team has turned in photos of such high quality that we're giving a lot more space to photos that initially planned.

Matt Irvin, former assistant metro editor at the Mobile Press-Register, is a freelance writer, researcher and editor, and I've known him as a co-worker and friend for many years. Through a newspaper career that spanned more than 30 years, he worked as a reporter, page designer, copy editor and news editor. He's a native of the Gulf Coast region and lives in Mobile, Ala.

Matt is one of those folks who does his job quietly and efficiently, and he never seems to get bent out of shape or succumb to the pressures of the job. That's a valuable quality. I knew I had to get him involved in the magazine. Every high-pressure project needs someone like Matt.

"Now more than ever, the Gulf Coast is poised for enormous progress. Because commerce is the primary driver of that progress, it's vital to tell the story our region's economy. As a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast, I'm excited about the chance to help tell that story."

In the January issue of our magazine, Matt will be one of the contributors to our story about the downtown renaissance that's occurring across the region. He'll also handle editing chores.

In my next post, I'll introduce you to one of the other founding members of the Gulf Coast Reporters' League, along with a few more talented journalists. - David Tortorano, editor

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