Credit unions, little known, not-for-profit financial institutes, are taking on the banks, pushing against a limit on the value of commercial loans they can make. This article led me to learn about this unusual financial organization and gave me the opportunity to exercise objective journalism, letting each side have their say. The article was published in the Columbia Business Times.
Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Business Times’
Posted in Articles, Journalism practices, tagged columbia, journalism, missouri, dianna borsi obrien, Columbia Business Times, Centro Latino, obesity, Eduardo Crespi, Comedor Popular, Hispanic, why is this important on June 14, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
One of the core missions of journalism, I believe, is to explain why something is important.
This article does exactly that, in concrete and subtle ways. First, it outlines the expansion of the Centro Latino and the role of Eduardo Crespi.
Under Crespi’s direction, the Centro has been serving the growing Hispanic community of Columbia for 11 years. Now, he’s expanding its educational offerings in an effort to stem the tide of obesity in this population and the community as a whole.
The article outlines the obesity rates and the results of the problem. But it also highlights the results of one man’s efforts, multiplied through networking and community effort.
You can read the article at the link below:
June 10, 2011, Centro Latino: Relocating, Expanding Mission, Columbia Business Times. The 11-year-old Centro Latino, is moving to a new location and starting a new operation, Comedor Popular. Guided by Eduardo Crespi, the center, which provides assistance to Columbia’s growing Hispanic population, will now offer meals and education to stem the tide of obesity and related illnesses.
Posted in Articles, Journalism practices, tagged Century 21 Advantage, Columbia Business Times, Dave Denton, dianna borsi obrien, double checking, Freddy Spencer, journalism, Karla Wilcoxson on May 4, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
As a journalist, I can become jaded. A story too good to be true often is just that.
But not in this case. When I first spoke to Freddy Spencer, it seemed hard to believe that despite being out of the office nearly more than he was in it during 2009, his fledgling real estate office increased sales and number of agents. He credited his positive attitude.
As a journalist, that seemed like a flimsy thing to peg his success on. But when I spoke to his agents, friends and family members, that’s what they kept talking about, along with his faith and support of them. I still checked with the corporate office, to check his numbers. I checked with other sources as well. That’s journalism, double checking and triple checking.
In addition, I spoke to many people, several of whom I didn’t quote in the article. I was looking for the “real” reason Spencer’s company thrived despite his absence. In the end, it seemed that a story too good to be true really was.
You can read all about it in this article about Freddy Spencer, his family and his business via the Columbia Business Times website.
Below is a blurb about the article and a link to it.
April 29, 2011, A Realtor’s Ordeal Birth becomes blessing, business gains perspective, Columbia Business Times. In the last couple of years, Freddy Spencer of Century 21 Advantage, has faced a trifecta of trauma: he launched his real estate office just as the housing market crashed, his mother died suddenly in 2008 and in 2009, his son was born with a rare heart defect. Despite these odds, his company thrived. Spencer — and his agents — credit his positive attitude, faith and his support of his agents.
One of the jobs of the media is to provide a place where a community can have a conversation with itself.
That’s what this article is all about. Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher wants the community to discuss changing a law so voters can have an opportunity to tax themselves to pay for quality preschool for all children in Boone County.
He knows increasing taxes isn’t popular. He knows it will be a tough sell. But he also knows nothing will happen if people aren’t exposed to the idea so they can discuss the idea.
Belcher isn’t a fool. He provides a lot of dollar-and-cents reasons for going with quality preschool for children, including the fact that children who come to school unprepared are more likely to end up on the wrong side of the law later in life instead of becoming the workers and good citizens we’d like all children to grow up to be.
Learn more by reading this March 4, 2011 article in the Columbia Business Times.
Posted in Articles, tagged Alex LaBrunerie, China, columbia, Columbia Business Times, dianna borsi obrien, Environmental Dynamics, guanxi, Jason Van Eaton, Jerry Conner, LaBrunerie Financial Services, missouri, Rising Tide, Spectrum Consulting Group on January 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Several Columbia firms have found a foothold in China, one of the world’s most massive markets.
How is this possible? Columbia isn’t on the coast, where you might think of industries turning to foreign markets.
Instead, Columbia and mid-Missouri is home to exceptional entrepreneurs who look beyond today and local, state and even national boundaries. This article outlines tips and some cautionary tales to help others access the Chinese market.
For example, Environmental Dynamics Inc. has been doing business in this Asian country for more than 10 years. During that time Jerry Conner of that company says they’ve learned the most crucial factor in doing business in China is guanxi or networking. The Chinese, he said, want to know they are going to see you and your firm again. They want to know about your firm, you and who you know that they might know.
That means if you want to work in China, you’ll need patience and diligence to establish guanxi.
It also means you may need help to get started. Jason Van Eaton of Spectrum Consulting Group saw this need as a business opportunity. Today, the firm started three years ago is working with 20 companies to help them break into the China market.
Alex LaBrunerie of LaBrunerie Financial launched Rising Tide to access investment information after deciding that the China market was the next big thing. The first thing he did was network and he found right here in Columbia someone who knew a major Chinese expert in that country’s equity investment information industry.
Russ Potterfield is so certain China is where he needs to be to help his company, Battenfeld Technologies, thrive he moved his whole family to Shenzhen, China, including his wife, who had to interrupt her own career teaching at Westminster College, and his three young sons. The move might seem extreme, but only to those who can’t see the future.
Of course, all these business people have their eyes open. They know that there are things to watch out for. But that didn’t stop them and the advice they offer should help other Columbia entrepreneurs access the Asian markets.
As Van Eaton said, a business already has a strategy to get into China or it will in five years. And then, he noted, it could be too late.
Posted in Articles, tagged AERI, Alex LaBrunerie, Asian Equity Research Institute, columbia, Columbia Business Times, dianna borsi obrien, Flush Financial Services, Hexin Flush, LaBrunerie Financial Services, missouri, Rising Tide, university of missouri, Yi Zheng on January 7, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Should cultural diversity be considered an economic development tool? Perhaps.
In this article about Rising Tide and the Asian Equity Research Institute (AERI), a research center at the University of Missouri, Alex LaBrunerie, one of the principals behind both of these organizations, credited Columbia’s cultural diversity for making both of these businesses a reality.
That’s because it was through a connection with a Chinese national who was working for a friend of his that he made contact with one of the major players in the Chinese equity information business. That’s how a small city in mid-Missouri (Columbia, population 100,000) has developed two local organizations to tap into the growing powerhouse of the Chinese economy.
Read the entire article here: Jan. 7, 2011, LaBrunerie’s Leverage, Columbia Business Times. How a small financial services company in Columbia landed major players for a Chinese equity research center to help investors understand the world’s second largest economy.
Posted in Articles, tagged Battenfeld Technologies, China, columbia, Columbia Business Times, Columbia Missouri, dianna borsi obrien, missouri, Russ Potterfield, Shenzhen on December 24, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Columbia, Missouri is replete with energetic entrepreneurs, but the most lively person I’ve interviewed so far is Russ Potterfield. Before leaving for China to accompany my husband David J. O’Brien to a convention where he was giving a presentation.
When I learned Russ, a local businessman, had opened an office in China just this summer, I quickly made plans, via email, to meet with him. After all, how many Columbia companies have offices in China? Turns out more than you might think.
At any rate, despite the demands of opening on overseas office, Russ took several hours to meet with me, describe all the amazing opportunities his new venture was providing for him and his family. For me, it was an amazing opportunity to meet such an energetic, farseeing individual.
Once again, I feel I am so lucky to be a journalist and have the opportunity to write about local, well kind of local, businesses and the people operating them. Congrats on the new office, Russ.
Dec. 24, 2010, Russ Potterfield’s China presence proving profitable Battenfeld improves logistics with satellite office, Columbia Business Times.
Posted in Articles, tagged columbia, Columbia Business Times, Columbia Missouri, dianna borsi obrien, historic theaters, historic theatres, journalism, missouri, Missouri Theatre, movie theaters, movie theatres, Ninth Street, Panera Bread Company, Roaring 20s, The Blue Note, The Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts on June 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
One of the things I love about journalism is how it helps me and readers see new connections by bringing information together, in this case, the history and economics of movie theatres.
I’ve lived in Columbia twice, once from 1991-1995, then from 1998 until now, but I never realized that the beautiful theatre buildings on Ninth Street revealed literally the concrete results of the roaring 1920s.
During the 1920s, thousands of movie theaters were built across the country. Actually, these buildings were called movie palaces because that’s what they were — ornate, beautiful, fanciful buildings where people went to see the developing medium, moving picture shows.
But what goes up must come down, which explains why by the time I moved to Columbia, the former Hall Theatre was vacant, the Missouri Theatre was struggling and the former Varsity Theatre had not yet become the successful live music venue, The Blue Note.
After the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression came along and decades later, television and the move to the suburbs were other changes that explain why so many downtown movie palaces were left vacant or converted to other uses.
By 1962, the number of movie theaters had fallen to 9,150, down from 14,716 in 1954. As one source noted, the glut of buildings in the 1920s led to the glut of demolition in the 1950s and 1960s.
But I think the wave of destruction is over. Today, the Hall Theatre houses the Panera Bread Company, The Blue Note continues to be a successful live music venue and the chief of operations at the Missouri Theatre has a plan designed to solve its financial problems.
This connection to the roaring 1920s was not visible to me until reporting connected the dots along Ninth Street. That’s why journalism, in which information is put into context, is so important.
Read the two-page package published on June 25, 2010 in the Columbia Business Times either at this link or below.
Posted in Articles, tagged Columbia Business Times, dianna borsi obrien, Grant Savage, university of missouri, University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics, University of Missouri-Columbia on May 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
One of the things I love about being a reporter is the opportunity to take complex ideas and write about them in ways that ordinary people — like me — can understand.
What makes that even nicer is when I get to work with someone who understands that examples make abstract ideas more concrete, which makes them easier to understand.
When I was asked to write about this $6.8 million, two-year award to the University of Missouri from the federal government, at first I thought, “Oh, no.” The awarding agency’s name took up nearly a paragraph, which is usually a bad sign for being able to make something complex clear and easy to understand in an article.
But I lucked out — I interviewed Grant Savage, Ph.D., head of the University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics.
He was willing and able to explain the award in simple terms, with examples. The problem is physicians’ records are all in paper, so if you want to know something you have to read through a file and might or might not find what you need to know. Savage’s project will help physicians find out how to use software and hardware to go digital. It’s more than just plopping a laptop onto a doctor’s desk.
Read about Savage’s project and how it will help people like me — patients — and Missouri doctors in this article in the Columbia Business Times.
Posted in Articles, tagged accuracy checking, Columbia Business Times, Columbia Missouri, David Reed, dianna borsi obrien, journalism, Mary Stilwell, reporting, University of Missouri-Columbia on April 21, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
As a journalist, I hate making mistakes. I do my best to make sure none ever get in print, but sometimes it happens.
Most recently it happened with the article, ”City Chicks,” written with David Reed published in the Columbia Business Times. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the name of a source, Mary Stilwell, was misspelled in some instances.
As regretable as this mistake is, however, the most important things are to acknowledge mistakes do happen and to note what I do to make sure mistakes are kept to a minimum.
For starters, I practice something I learned at the University of Missouri-Columbia — accuracy checking. This involves asking a source if she or he would like to review the article and/or their quotes before the article goes to print.
I figure if I’m afraid to let a source read an article before it goes to print, maybe I’m not as confident in my facts as I should be.
Of course, sometimes this process can go awry, such as when a source decides to try to edit the work, beyond checking it for accuracy. This is rare, but when it happens, I ask the person if the information is accurate. If the answer is yes, we may discuss the other changes requested, but the main focus for me is on accuracy.
Sometimes, despite my best efforts and those of others, a mistake will slip through. When it does, I am comforted to know that everyone makes mistakes — even the illustrious New York Times. For example, on April 20, 2010, the newspaper published six corrections for its A section. I am sure every single one of those New York Times reporters were cringing that morning.
I also remember what I used to tell my journalism students back when I taught at MU — the good news and the bad news about journalism is we get to try to do it again only better with the next article.
Finally, I apologize to the source, in this case Mary Stilwell.
So, as noted, it’s time to get back to work on that next article — after I apologize to Mary Stilwell.