Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Solar story

There's nobody more pleased than me that the Freeman finally carried a story today about a major local solar energy initiative that could bring hundreds of jobs to TechCity. It's is the project I mentioned in an earlier blog in which I said something big was brewing, but I couldn't tell you about it.

Since I'm in the business of reporting news, not sitting on it, this was one of those tricky situations a publisher encounters on occasion when he learns of a big story from being a participant in it.

It would be improper for an editor or reporter to work on something like this from the inside. It's different for those of us on the business side of the operation. My role as one of the handful of people who launched and planned The Solar Energy Consortium was to help advance that project. But it had to be kept confidential until the time was right to make a formal announcement. And that time wouldn't be until we felt the project had a green light, financially and otherwise.

At meeting after meeting of the consortium, I urged my colleagues to call a press conference. Too many people knew something was in the works, I reasoned. It was on the street, as we say. And the last thing I wanted to do was pick up somebody else's newspaper and read about it there first, when I could have handed it to my staff months ago.

Indeed, today's story still is premature. That is to say, the consortium and Congressman Hinchey, who has been a key player from the beginning, weren't ready to break the news yet.

But as I suspected would eventually happen, another news organization finally began sniffing around, apparently after getting tipped off in Albany while working on another story. Once its reporter started asking specific questions local people and a story seemed imminent, I gave our people the right phone numbers, a meeting was quickly arranged and today's lead story was produced.

You'll be reading lots more about The Solar Energy Consortium in the weeks ahead. I'll try to fill you in here, too. For now, suffice it to say this one could be the real deal in terms of an economic development boost. And it's particularly exciting since it involved alternative energy. We all should be rooting for its success.
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