Minding Your Business: Community should be the focus | News

As we prepare to round the corner on February, springtime thoughts are on the way. Below are a few business and green-themed notes that came across my desk this week I wanted to share with MYB readers.

According to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors, the Tri-Cities commercial real estate market kicked off the new year with a 52% increase in transactions as last year’s growing demand extended into the new year.

Warriors Path State Park will hold its adopt a tree event on Saturday from 10 am to noon. For every tree seedling you help plant in the park, you get to take one home. Supplies of trees are limited. This event is free.

The Kingsport Chamber will host a ribbon cutting for its recycling program, “Recyclops” on Wednesday at noon in the chamber’s Eastman Board Room.

The Tennessee gas price average continues to increase, rising three cents over the last week on average, according to AAA. The Tennessee gas average price is now $3.29, which is 25 cents more expensive than one month ago and 89 cents more than one year ago.

Notes from the field

Every once in a while, an event in the community pops up that requires more than just one of the Times News’ reporters. Over the summer, the Volunteer High School shooting hoax included work from each member of our staff, from livestream efforts at a quickly scheduled press conference to one KTN reporter on the scene that morning gathering information. A few weeks ago, the steam line rupture at Eastman also required a team of reporters.

But it also took help from another source.

Our emails were flooded with pictures and videos taken by you, KTN readers, of steam clouds rising into the sky and even debris that had fallen on local cars. Pictures from Dobyns-Bennett, various nearby homes and roadways offered different views, but all helped tell the same story.

This column isn’t about the steam line rupture or our reporters — it’s about you. Every story we write, every question we ask, every project we plan has a driving force that is the community. It’s easy to get distracted by details, interesting pieces of information or even just the rhythm of creating content. But the goal is and the focus should always be the community.

That community engagement doesn’t stop at photos. There are many times we receive news tips or various emails with information, questions or even rumors that inspire us to ask specific questions. You may not know it every time, but your tips, your information that is sent with good intent, your concerns and your questions are valued — and often stick in the backs of our minds when pursuing our stories.

Communication between reporters and community members with real concerns and questions can do more than you might imagine. While I was a reporter in Jonesborough, a woman came into our office with printed photos of some sort of new bitcoin mining business that was creating noise from small buildings in rural Washington County. She was concerned the property adjacent to continuous her and her husband’s would eventually be victim to the same buzzing sound that I soon found was disturbing multiple neighbors in the community.

After gathering information, coming to the business owner, local and state elected officials and taking a few trips out to the bitcoin mining operation myself, it seemed I had a full-on, multiple-article story on my hands. Since then, multiple media outlets caught on to the story, community members have rallied to see action taken to combat the continuous noise and the county has taken legal action against the company.

All this to say, community engagement can bring issues to light, and it can bring about answers that might not have otherwise been found.

In the same vein as my column title, your business is our business. Your concerns, questions and interests are part of each story I begin to write. I often think about what you want to know, what questions my own family and friends asked me about this topic and what will best serve our readers and community. No one is perfect, but I think as a journalist, if the reader is the primary consideration, you’ll be more than all right.

It’s in the best interest for the KTN to make you our business. But more than that, I hope that this paper is able to serve you. I urge you to keep sending us your questions, photos, concerns and comments. Your words mean more than you think.

Send your notes and/or a business anniversaries (ending in a five or zero) to mwaters@timesnews.net.

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