Some might think combining communication and culture would be an oxymoron. But Leadership Manatee proves that it works, at least once a year.
I had the honor of joining a luncheon panel today for the 2008-09 Leadership Manatee Communication and Culture Day. We met in the South Florida Museum's board room, where you'd think the toughest competition in keeping the group's attention would be Snooty and his girlfriends swimming in the tank right behind us.
Not today. This media panel was comprised of partners and rivals, all of us in this news hunt together: Susan Burns, editor of the monthly Biz 941; Matt Walsh, publisher of Gulf Coast Business Review and the Observer Group; Summer Smith, reporter for Bay News 9; and this guy from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (OK, in the spirit of things, that would be Bart Pfankuch, their Manatee editor.)
We were there to talk to this year's Leadership class about our media, how we cover news and events in "our community," how we differ, and how these business leaders -- employees and employers -- can get media coverage.
Which subject received the most questions? If I were a betting person, I would have placed my money on "How do I get my story into the newspaper"? How refreshing to be proven wrong! Of course, all the panelists had already assured the crowded room that our focus is on "local" -- and that means their stories are our bread and butter. But the key questions from the audience today focused on fairness, ethics, change of leadership in Manatee County -- and that's music to journalists' ears.
Thanks to Maggie Mooney, a Leadership Manatee graduate, for organizing the luncheon. The passionate interest in how our industry is evolving was food for the soul.