Valley Business FRONT Post – Regionalism

Given the regional economic initiatives represented by the recent visit of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Blacksburg, Virginia, and Radford University's Entrepreneurial Summit, Handshake 2.0 asked Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, these questions:

A great deal of attention is being paid to regionalism and regional development as defined by Richard Florida in various forms.  Here's a part of Stuart Mease's views on regionalism.

As a regional magazine, could Valley Business FRONT be considered part of a local movement towards regionalism?  In the inaugural issue's "Welcome," you write, "Valley Business FRONT is a publication based in the fine old American journalistic tradition of unabashed, unashamed advocacy."  Are you advocating regionalism?

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

Dan Smith, Editor of Valley Business FRONT, at age 40 For the past 20 years, I have been involved in encouraging regionalism. When we started the Business Journal, the name was the Blue Ridge Regional Business Journal. We dropped Regional later because it was cumbersome, but you get the idea. Our notion of the region was the TRADE REGION: Greater Lynchburg, New River Valley and Roanoke Valley. We even included the Alleghany Highlands to Covington and Lexington. That was a million people and it was logical because distances are short and roads among these localities are good.

What we saw was that businesses had accepted the region without formally declaring it so. Governments had rejected anything beyond their traditional boundaries and had a lot of trouble cooperating on things like water, air travel, emergency services and the like. The cultural community began to come around about 12 years ago when the General Assembly started cutting their budgets and insisting they do things as a group. Governments have come to believe that in some areas, they must cooperate. Business continues to do as it has, but has formalized some of its relationships with organizations like NCTC, which started as an experiment and evolved into something entirely different than was originally proposed–much narrower in scope.  (This photo is of me at 40–22 years ago).

The "advocacy" you refer to is a general statement and you'll know what we think when an issue comes up. That statement is intended to counter any notion that we are "neutral" in our reporting. We want to state emphatically that we will stand up for business–sometimes in ways that business people will disagree with (I, for example, am a broad supporter of appropriate taxes and of regulation, which is necessary because business people don't always behave as they should; my partner and FRONT Publisher Tom Field opposes both; he's a Libertarian and I'm pretty close to socialism; we both agree that workers should be treated with respect, dignity and generosity). We agree on many things, especially when it comes to giving entrepreneurial people the opportunity to do the best they can with as little interference as possible. We like to allow the marketplace to function (look what it's doing with the environment, finally).

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.  Dan Smith writes the blog fromtheeditr.

Dan Smith's e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can't annoy somebody, why write?'

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

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