New JFP Office Progress
UPDATED: We are moving downtown after almost a decade in Fondren. Here are pictures of our new home! Wish us luck!
This week, soon after we ship this issue to the printer, we're packing up our office and moving to downtown Jackson—our first move in almost a decade.
You can't imagine the memories we're finding buried in boxes ... unless you follow Donna Ladd on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
We leave Fondren in good hands—teeming with local restaurants, retailers, artists and service providers. This neighborhood looks remarkably different from when we first moved into our building back before the Fondren Corner building had a fresh coat of paint, much less offices, apartments, restaurants and galleries. Sal and Mookie's was a burned-out shell of a former steakhouse; Aladdin's didn't exist, and neither did Babalu, Miso, Cafe Ole or Petra—and, of course, Nick's was still out Lakeland. (Walker's was here, and it was and is still awesome.)
As much as we've loved watching Fondren grow—and being able to walk to all this fabulous stuff most every day—we've wanted to move downtown for quite a while now. We've been seriously looking for more two years and almost had a lease pulled together about a year ago.
But this time around, we got in front of the right folks and saw a very interesting spot. When Jan and Jack showed us some offices on the 13th floor of Capitol Towers in downtown Jackson, I found myself returning to and standing in one office in particular. It was a big, open room with wonderful views of Jackson to the south and east of the building. The carpet was rough (and filled with staples—the former tenant had been a printer of some kind), the place needed paint and some TLC, and we'd need a little additional space for offices and breakout rooms.
But I felt like I was looking at our future newsroom.
Standing in that space, I imagined a workspace where Superman's Daily Planet meets the offices of Google. I imagined open collaborative workspaces, but with breakout rooms, huge whiteboards, good coffee and a beer fridge. (We're still discussing the—perhaps obligatory—ping-pong table.)
Of course, our vision and our non-Google budget don't always mesh, which is where we have to thank the Mattiace Property folks—Jan, Andrew, Jack and Gordon, along with workmen who have transformed the space nearly overnight—for the energy they've put into the build-out of our space. The Mattiace team has gone above and beyond with new paint, new carpet, new doors, new walls—even hallways where there used to be walls and a conference room where there used to be nothing. It's been a ball to watch it all come together, and you can see some of the progress yourself at jfp.ms/newoffice/.
Even more important than the space is what we plan to do in it. One thing we're excited about is the opportunity for our reporting and editing team to be more in the mix of the variety of government and nonprofit offices in downtown—we cross the street to City Hall and a variety of courthouses, and it's just a few blocks up to the Capitol building. It's impossible for Donna Ladd, R.L. Nave and Tyler Cleveland to stand on a street corner in downtown and not get whiff of a story—more often than not from someone who catches them in the street and offers a tip. Being down there will give us an even better opportunity to serve our readers with that information, digging deeper into how decisions are made, how our tax dollars are spent and what, if anything, is ever going to happen with downtown development.
That doesn't mean we'll take our eyes off the rest of the city and area—as evidenced from our launch of the new Jacktown app (jfp.ms/jacktown) for iPhone and Android, our events and music team (Latasha Willis, Tommy Burton, Briana Robinson and Dustin Cardon) are working hard to bring our readers even more access to the city's best music and events coverage, while our sales and marketing team (Kimberly Griffin, Gina Haug and David Rahaim) are pursuing new avenues for special deals when you show your Jacktown app to area businesses. As I write, we're launching a new Fondren Unwrapped channel that you'll want to check out on the app this week.
And, of course, in the midst of all of this, Kathleen Mitchell, Amber Helsel, Kristin Brenemen, Trip Burns, Andrea Thomas (and new stylist Nicole Wyatt and freelance photographer Tate Nations) are working on the January BOOM Jackson—including some exciting new downtown venues for our photo shoots and an emphasis on weddings with our Hitched resource guide and wedding announcements in the next issue. (If you're recently engaged or married and want to place your announcement in BOOM, get in touch quickly via boomjackson.com/hitched.html.)
Finally, during all this, we've even got a Best of Jackson ballot—our 12th—out and actively accepting nominations right now. This year, Best of Jackson is a little different. Through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 17, we'll be accepting write-in nominations in all categories. We'll then tally the finalists and put out a new multiple-choice ballot from Nov. 27 until Dec. 15, 2013, where our readers will determine the winners and placements for each category. If you have a business or if you're an individual looking to be a finalist, HURRY and get nominated at bestofjackson.com!
I'd like to publicly thank the staff for their hard work during this move (and David Joseph and Caroline Lacy-Crawford for coordinating it, and Aprile Smith and Richard Laswell for keeping the trains running on time), and beg patience from our partners, advertisers and the public if anything goes south with our phones or Internet over the weekend. (Don't worry—the Best of Jackson ballot should be fine.)
We look forward to our new space because it represents a fresh look at what we can do as a local media company, and how we can grow with new offerings—merging the latest tech with gumshoe journalism—and have fun doing it.
But most of all, we look forward to continuing to offer you quality news and entertainment coverage for improving your life and bringing this fantastic community of folks together in the region—and now the downtown—that we call home.