Sunday, December 20, 2015

Associate introduction, Part V

If you've been following these posts, it's pretty clear we've got a lot of talent involved in creating the Business Quarterly. Today I'll introduce some more of the crew.

Melissa Scallan is a former reporter and editor with 25 years of newspaper experience. She previously worked for the Alexandria Daily Town Talk in Alexandria, La., the Monroe News Star in Monroe, La., and the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. Currently she manages the public affairs office of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi. She lives in Gulfport, Miss.

I worked with Melissa at the Sun Herald and one of the first things she did when I got to the paper – she knew I was commuting from Gulf Breeze, Fla., – was to invite me and a couple of other reporters for dinner, to make us feel welcome to our new jobs.

"The stories of the Gulf Coast states need to be told, and the group of reporters telling these stories are experienced, knowledgeable people, and together we can put out the information that residents of all these states need," she said.

"The Gulf Coast states each has its own unique culture and customs, but they also are linked by some of the same industries. Aerospace, transportation and seafood are just a few of the businesses they have in common. This type of magazine will show business leaders, as well as residents and tourists, what these states have to offer and why they should work together."

Even before she did anything for the business magazine, I had Melissa write for another one of our publications,the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor annual book. For our upcoming business magazine, Melissa contributed to the downtown renaissance stories, and I'm also tapping her to do some editing chores.

Martha Simmons has worked as a writer, photographer and editor for the Mobile Press-Register, Pensacola News Journal and The News Herald of Panama City, Fla. She served as chief communications officer for the Alabama two-year college system and two district attorney offices, and most recently worked as a congressional staffer. Simmons has freelanced for national and international publications, and worked in corporate communications for the Coca-Cola Co. She lives in Stockton, Ala.

Martha was one of the folks I hired as a business reporter when I was at the Mobile Press-Register. I liked her moxie, might be the best way to put it. And she didn't prove me wrong. I lost her to another department at the paper later, but always valued her work.

As with Melissa, I starting using Martha as one of my writers even before we started the Business Quarterly. She's handled work for one of my other projects, and I consistently went back to her for more work. That says a lot. When it came time to do this publication, Martha was an obvious must-have.

She's been instrumental in creating this magazine, going well beyond her writing chores.

So why is she taking part in this venture?

"Despite the proliferation of online media sources, it has become more and more difficult to obtain information one can trust. Local business coverage has been all but abandoned by traditional media outlets. That's why I am proud to be a part of this new publication. I am confident that our coverage will adhere to the highest journalistic standards, and that Business Quarterly will quickly become the most trusted source of local business news on the Gulf Coast."

Ron Stallcup has worked more than 27 years in newsrooms, most at the Pensacola News Journal. An infographics specialist, he won first, second and third place from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in 2014. He currently works at Studer Community Institute, producing stories, graphics, videos and photos and oversees design of Studer Institute reports. He lives in Pensacola, Fla.

Back in the early 1990s when I worked at the News Journal as a military reporter, I often had reason to work with Ron. He always delivered a graphic that represented the story perfectly. He just seems to have a penchant for bringing the right elements together.

"Business does not stop at a county line or city limits. Interstate 10 and the intercostal waterway is the backbone of commerce in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. This area needs a news outlet that can focus, analysis and tell the stories of this area," Ron said.

Ron is handling some of the opening pages for the first issue of the magazine.

In my next posting, I'll introduce you to more of the associate members of our magazine, including a go-to photographer who has done far more than her share of work making this magazine a reality, a writer who sat next to me at the PNJ years ago and became a dear friend. I'll also introduce a writer who just recently agreed to participate in this project, the newest member of our team. - David Tortorano, editor

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