by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL
The mission statement of Construction Forum STL is "Building the future of the St. Louis Region through inclusive engagement, unbiased communication, and focused action." When it comes to communication that means that welcoming all viewpoints without an agenda other than a bias for positive change that is baked into our DNA.
Yesterday I wrote a note to Donna Korando, who works her last day at KWMU today (Jan. 6). Donna and I were classmates in journalism school at SIUC in the early '70s. We also worked together on the University's newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.
Donna was the whiz kid in journalism law and editorial writing classes. Years later she would become a distinguished editor and editorial writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Along the way she earned a Masters degree in law studies from Yale and taught high school in Wisconsin.
I wrote her: "You obviously learned all the SIU-C/DE lessons well. You have conducted your career with a skill and integrity that I admired then and continue to respect to this day."
Donna was a real journalist. I write that to contrast her with the "fake" journalism (also known as fiction or lies) that is permeating media these days as people without the training or respect for the sacredness of delivering information that was inculcated in us at SIUE fling digital dung into the ether.
I began my own journalism career in the U.S. and abroad back in the days when there were still presses that used hot lead for type, as well as typewriters, carbon paper, and teletype machines in the newsroom. I was following the lead of my Dad, who was also a journalist,
I have always been enthralled by the intersection of technology and communication, from the first computerized typesetters to the birth of the Internet. My own Masters degree in communication focused on that intersection, with a focus on the construction industry. I explored (this was 2010) the digital divide from my own Boomer generation to Digital Natives, who have never known a world where they weren't flexing their thumbs on tiny keyboards.
The idea of curating information on our industry for you was part of the concept of the Forum, from the first article I wrote on it in 2010 and the white paper that served as its business plan, written in early 2011. The forum's aggregator website, www.ConstructForSTL.org , launched a few months after the Forum was incorporated in November 2013.
The proof is in the pudding (or in the metrics). In 2016, 1,346 articles were posted to the website, about 10 percent of those staff written. Our newsletter went out twice a week to over 11,000 email addresses. The website had 190,771 page views in 103,768 sessions.
Sifting through the good, the bad, and the garbage to bring you information you can use... information that can change our region for the better... has been our honor and privilege. This rings even truer in this era of "fake news".
This is what the best of what Donna and I went to school to learn over 40 years ago.