After a long wait, production of Lakeland Local has moved lock, stock, and laptop from a home office to one in downtown Lakeland. Yes, I do worry that it might mean some will start to take us seriously. However, I’m sure I’ll soon publish something that will end any such crazy thoughts.
Last August, I posted that I needed a new view. After years of sitting at home cranking out news, reviews, and (insert your favorite description here) I was bored with the view.
I received three offers almost immediately. (Obviously, they weren’t all that familiar with the sites.) One didn’t work out, but I accepted the proposals from two Lakeland concerns. I figured I’d spend a little time at each. Nothing too much or I’d drive them crazy. One came from the wonderful folks at NFocus. A spot to call my own and all the filmmaking I could stand. You’ve no doubt noticed I’ve mentioned their film, Endure, a time or two. It’s great learning the film marketing process after a film is finished. I also accepted their request that I put together the film’s “electronic press kit.” It has made it difficult from the news standpoint, as I’ve had to not print some information. A couple of times I felt I was out of the loop enough I could write a news story, but I added a note about helping out the team.
The second proposal was as quick, but it’s taken this long to actually move into the space. USF Polytechnic CEO and President Marshall Goodman asked me to take a space at Blue Sky West. At the time, it was just an office space in need of serious rehab, but I really liked the idea to bring a little Silicon Valley sideways thinking into downtown Lakeland. It seemed a good fit with Lakeland Local. Especially since I’ve started focusing on City Hall and downtown Lakeland activities.
To quash a couple of rumors — I am not employed by USFP, nor am I a volunteer. I will sit independent inside Blue Sky West, neither as a client nor staff. I will interact with both groups and with the general public, limited to offering my thoughts, mentoring and occasional advice. I’ll do what I can to help because I think such an incubator as Blue Sky West can work, and work well, for Lakeland. Working in the midst of it, especially under these conditions, is not something any hyperlocal reporter should pass up. You could say I’m embedded, but not beholden. I’ll praise Blue Sky when it deserves it, and criticize when that is called for.
I trust my independence has never been an issue. My wife is an employee of USFP. When the idea for USF Polytechnic was floated, she was all for it and I wasn’t convinced. Many liked the new name. Guess where I stood? Though I had hoped for a liberal arts college, I’m not against the idea of “polytechnic.” When an old media newspaper did a particulaly bad job with an editorial on USFP, I responded.
(And if you’re wondering…I still prefer the name USF Lakeland.)