A few weeks back we promised changes in our coverage and emphasis of business news. Those changes start with this Tuesday's print edition.
Page one of our B section— currently devoted to community news contributed by readers and freelance writers — will become the business section cover.
The new section front will feature local, national and world economic news with a focus on jobs, business developments in Southwest Florida, new ventures, failed ventures and insights from a wealth of accomplished business leaders who now reside in the Naples-Fort Myers area. We will offer a daily column by veteran journalist Dave Osborn devoted to the local economy and business activities. We are actively recruiting another reporter to specifically cover business issues and trends. We are raising the bar.
This emphasis on business news is a direct result of our Lighthouse Project that we launched earlier this year.
Our unprecedented look at our history, our current demographics and our future potential — covered in three special sections published in April — clearly showed a need to better understand and report on the local economy and business in general.
One of the key goals of the Lighthouse Project is to better focus our reporting on the topics most important to the community as a whole.
As related in an earlier column, our Lighthouse reporting told us:
(bullet) Business ventures and the people behind them have been the lifeblood of Naples and the surrounding area dating back to 1885 when Kentucky businessman Walter Haldeman arrived with ambitious plans to build a winter resort enterprise. He was followed a few decades later by the county's namesake, Barron Collier, who was followed by countless other entrepreneurs who have taken us to where we are today and will take us into the future.
We will be looking for those entrepreneurs.
(bullet) One of the key community assets identified in recent visioning plans commissioned by local government is the wealth of retired CEOs living in the Naples area. A study looking into the future of Collier County's economic development efforts noted that this asset has gone untapped, yet could provide unparalleled leadership moving forward.
We will help tap that resource.
(bullet) Pre-recession visioning plans identified rapid residential and shopping-center development as a threat to our quality of life. In response, government enacted policies and rules to rein in growth. Many of those policies and rules are still in place and possibly in need of modification to make it easier to do business in Southwest Florida.
We will examine those policies and report on their effectiveness and current need.
Monday's B section cover will provide more details about this new emphasis on business news and the local economy.
It will also detail changes in how we present community news.
The community news and columnists featured on the cover of the B section the last three years will still be offered in other sections of the newspaper.
For instance, the award-winning photo essay "Our World" will move to our Monday Neapolitan cover. The education news that has appeared each Saturday on the B section cover will also move to our Neapolitan section. That will happen in August after the summer recess.
The various community columnists will be carried weekly, every other week or monthly in one or more of our community publications — the Collier Citizen, the Banner and the Marco Eagle. Those publications are inserted in our daily edition depending on the circulation area and the day of the week.
As always, we welcome feedback. Let us know what you think of the changes and suggest improvements.
(Phil Lewis is executive editor of the Daily News. His email address is email@example.com)