Wednesday, November 24, 2010

City Bound

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Well, I've got news.

After 10 years, I'm leaving the Flyer to go work for the City of Memphis as a specialist in brand management and civic engagement.

People — undoubtedly broken-hearted at the thought of never reading another well-reported story by me — have asked me why.

The reasons are many. Some personal. Some professional. One is simply that I've been a fan of Mayor Wharton since he was elected in Shelby County, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work for him.

Another is that I believe in Memphis.

This is a place where if you have an idea or want to do something, no one is going to stop you from pursuing it. Look at Aaron Shafer. He came from California and wanted to get a skatepark built here. Sure, it took him five years, but the city is building a skatepark in Tobey Fields.

People have also asked how a journalism background is going to help me do my new job.

I've spent the last 10 years reporting on the city of Memphis. Through my work here, on this blog, and my companion column, I've looked at what makes cities successful, what doesn't, what we're doing in the city of Memphis to move forward, and what other cities are doing to meet challenges similar to those of Memphis.

I understand the realities of Memphis — its challenges and its opportunities. I'm hoping to use the skill sets I honed here to find bright spots that are happening in city government and the community, to communicate with the general public — both locally and nationally — about the amazing things going on in the city of Memphis, and, frankly, I hope to contribute to policy development that will make Memphis even better.

Crime is down 27 percent since 2006. People are exercising together in droves on the Shelby Farms Greenline, creating healthier habits and healthier communities. Citizens are looking to innovative strategies to make their neighborhoods more livable.

We're in an amazing place right now, and I can't wait to see what's next.

(I'll still be posting here for the next several days ... so feel free to check back. And thank you all for your continued support. It means the world to me.)

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