So there may be some folks who wonder, why is does it matter if downtown Oklahoma City is featured in a publication like the New York Times?
Truth be told, and this may surprise some of you, people still read newspapers. A lot of people still read newspapers. And while the industry has had it’s troubles, such trouble is shared by local television and the big networks (you just don’t hear about the cutbacks and layoffs at tv like you do with newspapers) and radio.
The media pie has a lot more slices to it. But the important, credible brands, I believe, will persevere over the Perez Hiltons and TMZs of the world. And in the newspaper world, no newspaper is bigger in legend than the New York Times. Go to any Starbucks or Barnes and Noble and you’ll find it. It’s to be found at any airport in the country.
At some point Charlotte, N.C. was a blank slate. Ditto for Seattle, Denver, Houston and Portland. Yet all of these cities emerged as trend-setters over the past two decades – areas hailed by planning experts, the business world and academia as places worth watching.
And such image transformations began with the very sort of article printed today in the New York Times – one that will be read by thousands of executives traveling by air, by academics enjoying their morning paper or scanning headlines online. And with the image transformation tackled in such cities, economic development and investment followed. Some of the most creative, smart and talented folks around decided to give these cities a shot.
The next trick, obviously, is to move beyond print – to get the same sort of results with cable news networks. In the past 20 years I’ve seen a dramatic transformation of this city’s self-image, one that went from young people saying “we’re boring, our downtown is dead, and I can’t wait to get out” to “we’ve got a great city, our downtown kicks ass, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
Now, before anyone accuses me of being too much of a cheerleader here, I’ll be the first to say we’ve still got plenty of problems to tackle. And despite the headlines, we’re not some magical recession proof city. But for now, let’s just enjoy the afterglow of a national story that doesn’t mention tornados, football, the Grapes of Wrath, corrupt county commissioners or narrow-minded legislators.