Livability Media Program Overview

AUDIENCE

Primary: Mix of visitors, recent newcomers and others looking for relocation or travel information for themselves or to share about a place

Secondary: Current residents, business owners and workers of a place

CONTENT

General direction: Emphasize the positive attributes of the community — what makes it a vibrant, unique and desirable place to live and do business. See Livability.com for examples of published content and digital magazines.

Categories: things to do, education, health care, recreation, arts & culture, neighborhoods, the business climate and food

Objectives: Content should answer

  • What makes this community special or unique?
  • What do its residents value most about it?
  • Where are the most popular places for eating, playing, working and living, and WHY are they “most popular”?IMPORTANT: During interviews and fact-checks, regardless of the assignment or story angle, remember interviewees are locals. Ask them about their favorite places to go, what they think of their community, and include that information if it fits the assignment. If it’s positive, but doesn’t fit the assignment, simply pass it along to the project manager. These testimonials ensure content that reads like personal conversations rather than tourist brochures.

Use the links below for detailed direction for each type of assignment:

COMMUNITY SUMMARY

ALL “OVERVIEW” ASSIGNMENTS

ARTS & CULTURE

BUSINESS

EDUCATION

GOLF

HEALTH & WELLNESS

LOCAL FLAVOR

NEIGHBORHOODS

PETS

SHOPPING

SPORTS & RECREATION



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Best Place to Live Articles

Using the top two or three scores from the data index and personally researched information, write a 500-word article about why this city is a great place to live and was chosen as a Livability Top 100 city. Highlight 2-3 index points that make it unique and backup with examples. Overall, it should have a conversational tone. Include quote from sources listed below. The data points are measured on a 1-100 scale, so please emphasize the highest numbers. Eg: If your city received high scores in health care, amenities and housing, write about those things. Interview a key community leader (see sources notes below)

Keyword phrases: Best place to live, best places to live, living in <city> (include early in body copy)

Quote: Quote should speak to what makes the city special - a community program or great amenities like a children’s library, nice parks, walkable downtown, etc.

Sources: Mayor (ideally. We typically can secure the mayor and don’t hesitate to say that we typically talk to the mayor) City Manager, Chamber Executive, CVB Representative - Or, a famous person who grew up in the city.
Writer’s Script:

Livability.com launched its annual ranking of the top 100 best places to live this fall, with world-renowned urbanist Richard Florida and assistant clinical professor Steven Pedigo from the Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities at NYU School of Professional Studies. We're preparing stories on the cities that made the list.  Your city ranked number <#> and we’d love to write about why you’re one of the best places to live. Would you {OR THE PERSON YOU REPRESENT} have 20 minutes or so to chat about what makes CITY a great place to live and work sometime this week?  


Livabiltity Index/Ranking Data

http://livability.com/best-places/top-100/2015/ranking-data

Best Places Story Examples:

http://livability.com/va/arlington/community/why-arlington-va-top-100-best-place-live-2015

http://livability.com/sc/charleston/community/why-charleston-sc-top-100-best-place-live-2015

Format:  500 word article

Photo Direction: Acquire two photos for this story, if possible. One that shows the city skyline, and a second that shows the downtown area, a park or something the source has talked about.  



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Best Cities for Families in [State]

We don’t yet have an example of what of these will look like, but you can certainly turn to our affordable cities lists for some guidance:

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Wyoming

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Montana

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Minnesota

Step 1: The Data

You’ll be shared a Google Docs spreadsheet of the data from the 5 Most Affordable cities in the state, and this is what it’ll look like:

Here’s how to read it:

The cities are already ranked from 1-5. So in the above Fort Collins is the Best Place to Raise a Family in CO, while Lafayette is No. 5.

Total; Estimate; Total population: This represents the population.

Under5: The % of residents under the age of 5.

SchoolAge: The % of residents that are of school age.

TotLibes: No, this does not represent the average # of libations a toddler enjoys each day in [city]. It's the total # of libraries.

KidsCirc: No, this does not represent the # of kids in circulation in the community, which sounds...worrisome. This represents the # of KIDS BOOKS in circulation at the local library/libraries.

Don't worry about Delta-Age and DomCounty.

Families in Poverty: This is the percent of families living beneath the poverty line in the city. (A figure you should basically ignore. #AlwaysPositiveAtJCI)

HS-better: The % of residents with High School education or better.

% LBW (county):

%Insured: % of residents with health insurance.

LongCommute: Average time, in minutes, it takes residents to commute to work.

Walk Score: This is the Walk Score for the community. Walkability is very important to livability.

GreatSchools: This is out of 10, and a rating like Walk Score.

Diversity: A measure of the community's diversity. Higher is more diverse.

Crime: This is an index, meaning that if the U.S. national average is 100, this is where the community scored in relation to it. Lower is better.

Parks: This is literally just the # of parks in the community. People love parks.

Black: The % of African Americans in the community.

Don't worry about the orange numbers. That's just the score, which adds up to the final score. And how we ranked these.

Step 2: The intro

50-100 words

The intro paragraph should do two things: It should introduce the reader to the state, highlighting the great things about living in it. Then you should transition by saying something like, “And it's also a great place to raise a family. Thus, we've sifted through the data to find the 5 Best Places to Raise a Family in [State]. We know this stage of life is a little different, and relies upon variables that you might not have been concerned about in your 20s, or your 70s. Schools, libraries, transportation, parks, etc. take on a different meaning when you've got kiddos to take care of." Yada yada. Remember: These lists are going to be trafficked by people looking to start families (older millennials) or those with families looking to move. So try to be aware of what they might be looking for.

Now we’re onto the show.

Step 3: The cities

50-100 words each

For each city, you should begin by going to its city page on Livability.com. Let’s go to Fort Collins, CO for example. What you’re looking for initially is whether or not this city has made another Top 10. Fort Collins has actually made several of our Top 10s and Top 100s--which you'll definitely want to mention. Why? Because it signifies this is AN AWESOME PLACE TO LIVE. It's consistent in its awesomeness.

Whether or not a city has Top 10 accolades, the next big thing is digging into the data. It will be important to note both the median home price in the city, as well as the household income. I’d also mention whether or not a city falls above or below the national average for groceries, healthcare, and utilities. Next, I’d look at Trulia for data on: Average Age of residents, percent of residents that own or rent, percent of residents that are single, percent that are college educated. This will help readers get a better idea of who’s there and what they’re doing with their lives. Here’s a link to Fort Collins’ guide on Trulia. I love this tool. Just type in a new city in the search bar on top.

Finally, let us know about interesting things to do in the city. What makes it a great place to live? Why is it not only an affordable place, but a place that someone would want to move to?

Once you’re done with that, repeat 4 more times.

Step 4: List the cities 5-1.

This way, people have to read the whole thing to get to the best city.

Step 5: Linking.

Make sure to link to each city’s page on Livability.com the first time you mention the city’s name in the paragraph. DO NOT LINK in the header. So it might look like this:

4. Naperville, IL

It’s no mystery that Naperville is a great place to live, having already twice been featured on other top 10s. In 2015, it made our…yada yada yada.

DO NOT link to outside articles, especially to Forbes and other data sites like ours, unless absolutely necessary. Also no linking to something like the Naperville Public Library. All links should go to other pages on Livability.com.

Step 6: Feature Image

Flickr Creative Commons is your best friend. So too is Wikimedia Commons. Find something beautiful of the state. Doesn’t necessarily have to be of one of the cities.

Step 7: YouTube videos

Find a corresponding YouTube video for each city. to embed it in the article, take your normal youtube link (NOT THE EMBED CODE or IFRAME) and beneath the header, do this:

The code goes like this: www.youtube.com/managingeditorsgonewild

One of those per city and you’ll be good to go.

Step 8: Load into the CMS. Write a deck. Then you’re done.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Chris Pilny or Natasha Lorens.



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Economic Development Program Overview

AUDIENCE

Primary: Site selectors, corporate relocation professionals and business executives who play a role in making corporate investment decisions. Online, our target audience also includes people seeking information about a place for personal or business relocation.

Secondary: People who already live, work or do businesses in a place.

CONTENT

The core categories we cover on the website and in the print magazine for each of these publications are: business climate, education, transportation, energy/technology, health care, top industries/employers, cool companies and livability. In addition, we focus on key industries in a community or locale, such as aerospace, manufacturing, life sciences and finance. We highlight success stories, innovation, breakthrough companies and quality of place differentiators.

OBJECTIVE

To tell a compelling story about the economic vitality and innovation in a locale, its major differentiators, business advantages and quality of place attributes, and answer these questions:

Why would someone want to invest or locate there?

Why would someone want to live there?

Online Research

• Online research is important, but keep in mind that many websites are outdated. Gather the contact information for sources as you do this type of research, and call or email to verify the information you plan to use. Also note that many websites are copyright protected, so lifting information verbatim from such sites is illegal. In many cases, the client maintains a website that can offer valuable background information and data that can be useful in your article. You also may be asked to gather information that will be used for charts, graphs or other graphic elements. The client’s website is the preferred source whenever possible for data, statistics and other numerical information.

Interviews & Use of Quotes

• When working on Journal projects, writers are representatives of the company and are expected to communicate with clients and sources in a professional manner.

*On the first page of the story list, you will see a section on how to introduce yourself. This is very helpful, and most times you can also send a link to the current website or digital magazine. You will need to find the appropriate project from our umbrella site: http://businessclimate.com.

• If you find a good source of photography on the topic – online or by speaking with someone – be sure to include that information in your notes when submitting the article. If someone wants to submit a photo, please email the person who sent you the assignment (Assignment Editor). They will forward it to the correct person.

• You must contact all sources listed. Many times, these sources are specifically requested by the sponsor. If you have trouble with the sources, please contact the Assignment Editor before your assignment is due. We may be able to provide an alternative source or contact.

• Quotes are encouraged – especially in features – but keep in mind that they should always be additive. Avoid over-attribution and gratuitous quotes. Avoid using quotes that state the obvious (Ex. 1) or simply repeat facts already presented in the story (Ex. 2). Avoid using them when the interviewee has simply stated a fact (Ex. 3).

Example 1: “This is a great town,” Mayor John Doe says.

Example 2: “Active types are always on the go in Mytown, Tenn., which has a host of recreation venues ranging from skate parks and swimming holes to soccer complexes and walking trails. “We really have a lot of different options for physical activity,” says Jane Doe, Parks and Recreation Director.

Example 3: “We’ve just added a cardiac care wing and new non-invasive screening technology,” Anytown Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Smith says.

WEB-FIRST PUBLISHING EXPECTATIONS

We often publish content online before print, so the following items are critically important:

• Write for SEO. You must have at least a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices and use them in writing subheads, Web headlines and copy.

HELPFUL RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SEO:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/a-freelance-writers-basic-guide-to-seo

http://www.copyblogger.com/seo-copywriting/

• Organize the story with subheads. See the JCI Style Guide for more information, if needed.

• Embed relevant links into your copy. See the JCI Style Guide for more information, if needed.

• Whenever possible, keep the information in each article as timeless as possible, avoiding phrases such as “last summer,” “next year,” etc. and instead using specific dates, such as “spring 2007.” Before writing dated information into a story, consider other ways you could serve the reader with this type of information.

REVIEWING AND SUBMITTING CONTENT

• When you review your work before submitting, double-check the content against the questions outlined in Objective above. Does your copy answer these questions? Does your copy follow the story list and any Project Manager requests? Ie: The “must include” section of the assignment if there is one.

• The project editor will include a list of key points for each article assignment. While these do not need to be included verbatim, it is important the article touches on all of the key points mentioned in the outline.

• Copyedit your work before submitting. Content should have no grammatical or spelling errors.

• Fact-check your work before submitting. Writers are expected to verify all information presented in articles and provide the sources of that verification to Journal editors. Articles will not be further fact-checked by JCI editors or proofreaders. Make sure your sources’ names are spelled correctly.

• Do not include CQs in your copy; it will be assumed that your facts have all been checked. Content will be reviewed by a proofreader but will not be further proofread by JCI editors.

• Double check subheads to ensure they are optimized for search engines and in bold type.

• Double check hyperlinks to ensure they are accurate and open a new window.

INVOICES & PAYMENT

• Writers’ fees will be paid approximately 30-45 days after the invoice is processed. Please note invoices cannot be processed until all have been received. If you have accepted an assignment but do not have a signed freelance contract and tax ID form [Form W-9] on file with us, please contact us immediately. We must have these original, signed documents in our office in order to process your payment. Mail signed forms and contracts to: Journal Communications Inc., Accounting Dept., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067.

• Writers should submit their invoices when submitting the assignment. IMPORTANT: Invoice should include a unique invoice number (any combination of letters and numbers will do, as long as it is different from any prior invoice numbers you have submitted to us); the date submitted; writer’s name, address, email and phone number; the project name; the assignments; the fee; and total.



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Best Small Towns in [State]

We don't yet have an example of what of these will look like, but you can certainly turn to our affordable cities lists for some guidance:

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Wyoming

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Montana

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Minnesota

Step 1: The Data

You’ll be shared a Google Docs spreadsheet of the data from the 5 Most Affordable cities in the state, and this is what it’ll look like:

Here’s how to read it:

The cities are already ranked from 1-5. So in the above Sebastopol is the Best Small Town in CA, while Solana Beach is No. 5.

TOTPOP_CY = Total population in 2015

Drove alone = % of people who commute to work alone

Commute time = average work commute time of residents

COLI = Cost of Living Index. This is not a percent. Look at it this way, the number 100 is the U.S. average. So anything above that is more expensive than the U.S. average, and anything below is less expensive than the U.S. average. The lower the COLI the better.

Amenities, Engagement, Crime, Arts = These are all indexes like the COLI. So 100 is U.S. average. Amenities means what the city has to offer residents, thus higher is better. Engagement means how active residents are in the community; again, higher is better. Crime is, well, crime rate; thus, lower is better. Arts represents the amount of arts-related opportunities there are in the city/town. This number is likely to be small (larger is better) because it's a small town and not much is going on! You don't think of arts when you think of small towns.

2015 Diversity Index:

2015-2020 Growth Rate (Population): This is a figure predicting how much the population is going to grow by 2020.

2015-2020 Growth Rate (Med. HH Inc): This is a figure predicting how much the median household income is going to grow by 2020.

2015 Population Density:

Libes: # of libraries in the community

Health-related data

This helps us look at the health of residents in the community--something that potential movers may be interested in knowing. Health, uh, is important.

Years of Potential Life Lost Rate:

%LBW

%Obese: This is the percent of residents who are obese in the community.

% with access: In California, this might be mistaken as the percent of people with access to marijuana. But it is not--in any state. It represents the % of residents with access to healthcare.

PCP Rate: No, this does not measure the percent of PCP users in a city. It stands for Primary Care Physician, and this figure represents

Preventable Hosp. Rate:

Average Daily PM2.5

BS-higher: % of residents with a B.S. degree or higher.

SchRate: This is out of 10. Based on GreatSchools rating.

College+University: The # of colleges or universities in the area.

No need to worry about the rest of the data on the sheet. That's all scoring stuff.

Step 2: The intro

50-100 words

The intro paragraph should do two things: It should introduce the reader to the state, highlighting the great things about living in it. Then you should transition by saying something like, "Everyone knows the big cities in [state]. But big cities aren't for everyone. Some like small town living, and that's what we're looking to provide with these lists: Options for those who want to live in [State], but not in its most recognizable metro areas. But, we didn't just base this list on population size, we dug deep into the data to deliver a list that includes five small towns that are also incredible places to live." You get the idea.

Now we’re onto the show.

Step 3: The cities

50-100 words each

For each city, you should begin by going to its city page on Livability.com. Let’s go to Sebastopol, CA for example. What you’re looking for initially is whether or not this city has made another Top 10. Sebastopol has actually made our Best Small Towns list twice: in 2015 and 2016. You'd 100% want to mention this. And any other Top 10s/Top 100s the city might have made.

Whether or not a city has Top 10 accolades, the next big thing is digging into the data. It will be important to note both the median home price in the city, as well as the household income. I’d also mention whether or not a city falls above or below the national average for groceries, healthcare, and utilities. Next, I’d look at Trulia for data on: Average Age of residents, percent of residents that own or rent, percent of residents that are single, percent that are college educated. This will help readers get a better idea of who’s there and what they’re doing with their lives. Here’s a link to Sebastopol’s guide on Trulia. I love this tool. Just type in a new city in the search bar on top.

Finally, let us know about interesting things to do in the city. What makes it a great place to live? Why is it not only an affordable place, but a place that someone would want to move to?

Once you’re done with that, repeat 4 more times.

Step 4: List the cities 5-1.

This way, people have to read the whole thing to get to the best city.

Step 5: Linking.

Make sure to link to each city’s page on Livability.com the first time you mention the city’s name in the paragraph. DO NOT LINK in the header. So it might look like this:

4. Naperville, IL

It’s no mystery that Naperville is a great place to live, having already twice been featured on other top 10s. In 2015, it made our…yada yada yada.

DO NOT link to outside articles, especially to Forbes and other data sites like ours, unless absolutely necessary. Also no linking to something like the Naperville Public Library. All links should go to other pages on Livability.com.

Step 6: Feature Image

Flickr Creative Commons is your best friend. So too is Wikimedia Commons. Find something beautiful of the state. Doesn’t necessarily have to be of one of the cities.

Step 7: YouTube videos

Find a corresponding YouTube video for each city. to embed it in the article, take your normal youtube link (NOT THE EMBED CODE or IFRAME) and beneath the header, do this:

The code goes like this: www.youtube.com/managingeditorsgonewild

One of those per city and you’ll be good to go.

Step 8: Load into the CMS. Write a deck. Then you’re done.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Chris Pilny  - cpilny@jnlcom.com



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Most Affordable Cities in [State]

After the resounding success of our Affordable Cities Top 10, we branched out this year and began providing affordable cities lists for each of the 50 states. We are slowly but surely making our way through all of them, and there’s a good chance you’ll receive one of these articles as an assignment.

Here are a few examples of some so far:

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Wyoming

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Montana

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Minnesota

Step 1: The Data

You’ll be shared a Google Docs spreadsheet of the data from the 5 Most Affordable cities in the state, and this is what it’ll look like:

Here’s how to read it:

The cities are already ranked from 1-5. So in the above Bloomington is the Most Affordable City in IL, while Springfield is No. 5.

POPEST2012 is the population of the city.

Groceries, Utilities, Health, Misc are all indexes, meaning they are a representation of the national average. 100 is the national average, so if they’re below that, the city is below the national average in cost for these items. If above, they are above.

Housing = housing affordability (lower is better).

Gini is a number that helps express income distribution in a city. 0 would represent perfect equality (everybody makes the same income in the city), while 1 would represent perfect inequality (One person makes all the income in the city).

HHIncome = Household income.

LivScore = Our patented LivScore. Higher is better. I wouldn’t be too concerned about expressing this in the article. This just helps us rank cities better.

Step 2: The intro

The intro paragraph should do two things: It should introduce the reader to the state, highlighting the great things about living in it. Then you should transition by saying something like, “even though it’s freaking amazing, there are still plenty of affordable options. And by affordable, we don’t just mean cheapest. We’ve analyzed the data and found cities that are both great places to live, as well as affordable.”

Now we’re onto the show.

Step 3: The cities

For each city, you should begin by going to its city page on Livability.com. Let’s go to Naperville, IL for example. What you’re looking for initially is whether or not this city has made another Top 10. Naperville has made two: 2015 Best City for Families, and 2014 Best City for New College Grads. These are both important accolades to mention for an affordable city, as both of these groups will probably be looking for affordable options–particularly near Chicago! So write about them and link to them.

Whether or not a city has Top 10 accolades, the next big thing is digging into the data. It will be important to note both the median home price in the city, as well as the household income. I’d also mention whether or not a city falls above or below the national average for groceries, healthcare, and utilities. Next, I’d look at Trulia for data on: Average Age of residents, percent of residents that own or rent, percent of residents that are single, percent that are college educated. This will help readers get a better idea of who’s there and what they’re doing with their lives. Here’s a link to Naperville’s guide on Trulia. I love this tool. Just type in a new city in the search bar on top.

Finally, let us know about interesting things to do in the city. What makes it a great place to live? Why is it not only an affordable place, but a place that someone would want to move to?

Once you’re done with that, repeat 4 more times.

Step 4: List the cities 5-1.

This way, people have to read the whole thing to get to the best city.

Step 5: Linking.

Make sure to link to each city’s page on Livability.com the first time you mention the city’s name in the paragraph. DO NOT LINK in the header. So it might look like this:

4. Naperville, IL

It’s no mystery that Naperville is a great place to live, having already twice been featured on other top 10s. In 2015, it made our…yada yada yada.

DO NOT link to outside articles, especially to Forbes and other data sites like ours, unless absolutely necessary. Also no linking to something like the Naperville Public Library. All links should go to other pages on Livability.com.

Step 6: Feature Image

Flickr Creative Commons is your best friend. So too is Wikimedia Commons. Find something beautiful of the state. Doesn’t necessarily have to be of one of the cities.

Step 7: YouTube videos

Find a corresponding YouTube video for each city. to embed it in the article, take your normal youtube link (NOT THE EMBED CODE or IFRAME) and beneath the header, do this:

The code goes like this: www.youtube.com/managingeditorsgonewild

One of those per city and you’ll be good to go.

Step 8: Load into the CMS. Write a deck. Then you’re done.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Chris Pilny or Natasha Lorens.



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Moving to ? Here are the basics:

Article should be different from Reasons to Move, which does cover these topics, but it’s more of a promotion instead of the basics. This is what to expect once you’ve decided and should cover the following in nor particular order:

Headline: Moving to <city, region or state> ? Here are the basics

Deck: 

Climate: Cover the general weather climate – What to expect on average in terms of temperature, rainfall, snowfall, days of sunshine, etc. and how residents adapt.

Best Places to Live (State only)  Choose a few cities (if state or regional) or neighborhoods (if city) to spotlight (Mention top 100 cities if available) and add reference/link to Best Places to Live article.

Business Climate: Cover the general economic climate – business outlook, regional industry niches (automotive, advanced manufacturing, etc.)

Where to work/Top Employers:  Summarize industries, mention a few employers and add a reference/link the city or state Top Employers article.

Things to Do – Cover the highpoint across the city or state and add a reference/link to the city or state Things to Do article

Cost of Living – short section on cost of living compare with national average, or rank. Link to a cost of living tool or gov site http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/79700.htm

Transportation : Major interstates, commute times, public transport, mention any top downtown cities in the state.

Education

Summarize Schools and Colleges

Tips, Fun, or Other Misc.

Anything else additional or good to about the city or state.

Here’s a good example on a state level: http://www.livability.com/montana/real-estate/moving-to-montana-here-are-the-basics



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Places to Visit in [State]

There’s a distinct difference between Things to Do in [State] and Places to Visit in [State]. Things to Do highlights attractions, restaurants, parks, etc. that a state might have to offer. Places to Visit highlights cities that prospective residents may want to check out in their search for a place to live. For example, in Tennessee, you might do the article featuring Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, etc. And this is how it’ll look:

Introduction

This is your run-of-the-mill introduction. Give us 50-60 words on the state and why it’s a great place to live, then lead them into the meat of it saying, “And here are some of the cities you need to check out if you’re considering moving to the area.”

City blurbs

In 50-100 words, fill in readers on why the city is a great place to live. Be sure to first mention any Livability Top 10 or Top 100 lists it’s been featured on. Other topics to discuss, depending on if they’re worthwhile: affordability, walkability, interesting attractions, schools, colleges/universities, arts & culture scene, outdoor recreation options, shopping, etc.

Linking

Please make sure to link to the corresponding Livability City Page for each city. So if you’re talking about Nashville, TN, you’d hyperlink www.livability.com/tn/nashville over Nashville in the copy (NOT THE HEADER).



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Reasons to Move

The X Reasons to Move <City, St> article is a list with an approximate 50-word intro and 8 to 10 short blurbs about why a person should move to <City, St>.

Although the article may contain things to do, this is should not be a "things to do" article.

The writer should include an example of each in no particular order and only if it applies: Reference to one ore more Livability.com ranking or other Liv list the city made ( also can be peppered through out); an iconic restaurant or a dish; a great neighborhood; something cultural or arts related; a notable school or educational program;  a top employer or best place to work recipient; Affordability of housing and cost of living if applicable: an off-beat attraction residents enjoy; a nearby park or popular outdoor experience. Direction should be geared toward benefiting residents or future residents - not just tourist activity. 

If interviewing for the story, try to get a compelling reason for the quote.

Format:  Approx. 50-word intro followed by 30 to 50-word blurbs for each reason

Format Example: http://livability.com/community/seven-reasons-move-new-orleans-la

Photo Direction: Writer should acquire a skyline or wide angle view of the city along with a photo to illustrate each of the eight reasons to move there.



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Top Industries in [State]

Our Top Industries in [State] content will look and feel very similar to Top Employers in [State]. See this example to get a feel for it: Top Employers in Montana.

Introduction

As you’ll see in Kevin’s piece above (the Montana article), you’ll begin with a brief introduction about the state, perhaps a cool fact or two about it. Then mention it’s a great place for employment–particularly if you work in these industries.

Industry breakdowns

Choose the top 4-5 industries in the state and elaborate on each in a paragraph or two. Answer these questions: What cities are the industry big in? What companies within these industries are there? Does the state/city government offer any benefits to encourage these industries? What are the employment numbers like with each industry in the state? How vital is the industry to the state? What percent does the industry make up for the entire U.S.?



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Health Care

Our health care content should do more than just summarize what health care facilities are present in a city, but also highlight exceptional programs, facilities and initiatives within a community – especially those which exemplify its overall health.

Every story should make a clear connection between how the access to these institutions, programs and initiatives are attractive to companies and individuals looking to relocate.

Consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What are the major health care institutions in town and where are they located? Is there one major hospital? More than one?
  • Has the hospital (or hospitals) earned any national recognition or awards for programs, specialties or other services?
  • What community programs or outreach efforts does the hospital(s) support or lead?
  • What about the city attracts health care workers to these facilities?
  • Is health-care a major employer as an industry?
  • Are there any community groups or residents who might speak to the positive impact of the hospital within their community?
  • What types of specialists are present in town for major illnesses like cancer?
  • Is there a medical complex within the community that is affiliated with a major metro hospital nearby (a satellite campus created specifically to provide more localized convenience to residents of this community)?


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Recreation/Activities

Consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What is there to do on the weekends? Which of these are the most popular among residents, and why?
  • Is this a good golf community?
  • Are there parks and youth sports leagues for kids? Do any of the parks set the community apart from others? What about the size/success of the youth sports leagues?
  • As a retiree, could I stay active in this community? How so and where? Do seniors there currently support these facilities/amenities?


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Education/Schools

The strength of the local education system, higher education options and workforce development almost always factor heavily into decisions about relocating families and businesses. Every education story should make it clear this why we are including this type of information.

Also avoid calling a school system great, especially if it isn’t.Find the good and praise it, but don’t sugar coat. Examples: new construction, technology investments, accolades or outstanding programs

Even in an education overview, in which writers are expected to touch on all the options within a community, we still want an example or two of specific accolades, praise from a parent or other testimonial that provides some insight. In some cases, a system’s strength is its workforce development programs. Find a company or industry that benefits from this.

Also consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What is the most interesting, positive and memorable thing about the public school system?
  • Are there any private and/or parochial schools? What is memorable and interesting about it (them)?
  • What is the most interesting, positive and memorable thing about higher education in this community (if there is a university or community college in town or close by)?
  • What are the schools like, in terms of honors, awards, athletics?


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Local Flavor/Food

Consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What places are most popular among locals, and why?
  • Where are the “iconic” restaurants, and what makes them so?
  • Is there a specific food or dish for which the city is well known? If so, where should a visitor or newcomer go to to try it?
  • What are the independent restaurants like here? Do they work together in a formal business association?
  • What chefs or restaurants have won major awards or media recognition?
  • Which restaurants are the favorites among online reviewers, and why?
  • What are the “must try” restaurants or dishes for a visitor or new resident?
  • Where should fresh food fans go to buy produce or locally made foods (a farmers market – or markets)?


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Arts & Culture/Attractions

Content about Arts & Culture/Attractions should cover:

  • Is this an artsy town in general? How so?
  • How are the arts and culture attractions and organizations here different from those of other cities?
  • What festivals or other events bring the community together most? Which of these are the “don’t miss” events for a visitor or newcomer and why?
  • What basic info does a newcomer or visitor need to know if he or she wants to see a play, dance performance or hear live music?
  • What “insider tips” or insight from a resident could a newcomer or visitor use in order to get involved in the local arts scene? What about “insider tips” for merely attending a performance or arts event?
  • What’s the most memorable part of this town’s history or heritage? Are there any museums or places where a visitor or newcomer could learn more about it?


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Working Here

Livability.com section – Working Here

Overview Direction
If you are writing a Business overview, identify and include facts and statistics, about what is driving or most characterizes the business climate within the community. Is it a strong transportation system (roads, rail, air, ports)? Is it geography (promixity to an industry cluster in a larger city nearby)? Are there a lot of new industries with jobs to fill? Who are the major industries and top employers? Is there a large number of small independent businesses? Larger industries? What about entrepreneurs? Are there programs in place to encourage entrepreneurship? What types of industry are being targeted by local economic development officials (300-450 words)?

Feature Direction
Consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What does the company do and to whom does it sell its products or services? In other words, how do they make their money? The answer should be state in one or two sentences and be clear enough that it could be said to someone on a typical elevator ride. Avoid using company or industry jargon, marketing slogans and promotional language in explaining what the company does.

    Bad: “The company provides the only ERP solution designed for the mid-market with native business process management capabilities, including powerful exception management tools.”
    Good: “The company designs and sells software used by small- and medium-size  companies to track production, inventory, financial and other data.”

     

  • Why is the company operating in that particular market, and what keeps it there? Can the answer be expanded upon? For example, if access to customers is an answer, is it because of availability of an international airport, proximity to major interstates or a port facility?
  • What is the company’s annual revenue? How much has it grown over the last five years as a percentage?

     

  • What is the company’s output? How many tons/units does it produce, lines of code does it write, meals does it serve, calls does it handle, customers does it assist each day or month, or year, etc.? This type of figure will give some context to the scope of the company’s business.

     

  • What is the total square footage of its operations in the market and how many locations does it have overall?

     

  • How many people does it employ (in the local market) and overall (if the company extends beyond the local market)? Is there a figure for local payroll amount?

     

  • How long has the company been in operation, and how long has it been in the market? How was it started and what have been its major milestones? How much has the company invested in the market in plant, property and equipment?

     

  • What does the company see as the market’s major attributes or resources? Again, look for specifics beyond the generalities. If the answer is a quality workforce, how is that measured and what does it mean?

Seeking Sources: If no specific source has been provided to you, it is always preferable that you speak to the owner, chief executive or president, if a company is based in the market, or to the head of the local operation, such as a general manager, plant manager, division president, etc. When that is not possible, please use the formal title of the source and avoid the term “spokesman,” unless that is the person’s actual title (it usually isn’t).



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Shopping

If you are writing about shopping in a community, here are things that should always be covered in your story:

•    the character of the shopping destination (is this an artsy, revitalized neighborhood with indie boutique-lined streets? is it a new riverfront development with sleek architecture and full of artists’ studios and retail spaces? Is it a cavernous, 10,000-square-foot antique mall that requires comfy walking shoes?)

•    types of shops in the area/shopping destination (are there independent bookstores, galleries, eateries? are there high-end boutiques? are there major department stores? if it is a large outdoor retail development, what are the anchor stores and are there any smaller, local shops interspersed?)

•    specific goods or services that can be purchased at the shopping destination (if it’s a large complex, you obviously can’t list an example of a good sold at every store. One method for giving the reader an idea is by providing examples in a “range” format. e.g. “At the new Hill Center, shoppers will find a mix of national retailers sprinkled with a handful of independent boutiques, making it a cinch to find a one-of-a-kind necklace handcrafted by a local artist to complement a funky new outfit from Anthropologie.”)

Important: While you should list specific businesses, be mindful of how long it has been in business and how notable the business is within the context of the community. In most cases, steer clear of highlighting a brand new business. While its opening may seem newsworthy, a) it has not been around long enough to play a defining role in the shopping scene; and b) unfortunately, the success rate of brand new businesses is not always favorable and will require story edits should the business close.

SHOPPING OVERVIEWS

Length: 250-500 words
Include: embedded links, subheads within copy and list at end of copy

Shopping overviews should begin with a couple of introductory sentences describing the overall shopping scene (are there many options? is the community noted for one large shopping area or mall in particular?).

The intro should be followed by several short descriptions, each focusing on a noted shopping area or neighborhood shopping destination, a specific mall or shopping center, and in some cases, a specific store.

At the end, create a listing that includes the names, addresses and links of all stores specifically mentioned.

What Shopping Destinations/Topics Should Be Included?

The areas you highlight will depend on the size of the retail sector within the community you are covering. Here are things you should research and include:

• Any kind of downtown shopping scene
• Any mall(s) or other large retail developments, being sure to list anchor stores
• Any major shopping districts (like Cool Springs is to Nashville)
• Any iconic shopping theme the city is known for (antiques, etc.)

EXAMPLES OF ORGANIZING TOPICS:

1. Place With Many Shopping Options

Nashville, TN Shopping Overview

You’ll find plenty of fashionable Western wear in Music City’s downtown district, but there’s also opportunity for splurging with high-end retailers like Tiffany and Louis Vuitton in the upscale Green Hills area. Quirky boutiques are scattered all throughout the city, too. Here are the highlights of Nashville’s shopping scene.

Downtown
Copy would focus on tourist district shopping and include mention of:
Ernest Tubb records, Hatch Show Print, The Gulch and Urban Outfitters

Green Hills
Copy should focus on high-end shopping options, including Green Hills Mall and Hill Center, mentioning specific retailers at each, such as Nordstrom, Tiffany,  high-end boutiques like H. Audrey, Posh

Cool Springs
Copy should focus on “big box” shopping just south of Nashville, including CoolSprings Galleria

Opry Mills (assuming it is to reopen)
Copy should focus on outlet store shopping and mention largest anchor stores, such as Bass Pro Shops

Hillsboro Village
Copy should focus on walkable shopping within a neighborhood, mentioning boutiques and indies like Pangaea and Firefinch

2. Place With Fewer Shopping Options

Elizabeth City, NC Shopping Overview

In Elizabeth City, collectible treasures await at several antique malls while downtown’s unusual shops ensure one-of-a-kind gifts galore. Meanwhile, shoppers will also find major national retailers at Southgate Mall.

Downtown Elizabeth City
Copy should focus on character of downtown and include mention of most notable retailers.

Southgate Mall
Copy should provide range of retailers and the goods they sell, including Belk and JC Penney (anchor stores), with mention of smaller stores like Eclectic Designs (handcrafted jewelry).

Antiques
Copy should highlight the top antique shopping destinations in the area, including Coopersmith Antiques & Auction Company, Little River Antiques Mall, etc. If there are several shops, provide a number of how many, determine the largest or most notable in your research and highlight just a couple.



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Neighborhoods

If you are writing a Neighborhoods overview or a feature that is a roundup about various neighborhoods or communities, always give priority to information would be most helpful to know for a newcomer or visitor.

Tips:

  • To organize your story easily, break a city into zones and cover key neighborhoods and the quality of life in each (North, South, East and West usually works well). For a county or region, highlight the key cities/communities within the area, placing the most emphasis on the largest population centers. Here are two examples:

City example: Asheville, NC – http://www.livability.com/nc/asheville/real-estate/asheville-nc-neighborhood-guide

County example: Dickson, TN – http://www.livability.com/tn/dickson/real-estate/dickson-tn-neighborhoods

Also, consider these things and include the answers in your copy:

  • What is the range of home prices throughout the community, and specifically for neighborhoods?
  • What neighborhoods cater especially to families (parks, neighborhood pools, walking distance to school, etc.)?
  • What are the types of homes available throughout the community and within specific neighborhoods?
  • What are the historic neighborhoods, and are they well-preserved? Have any won preservation or revitalization awards?
  • What neighborhoods or communities appeal mostly to retirees (planned retirement communities, golf course communities)?
  • What neighborhoods cater mostly to younger generations (nightlife, social activities, greenways, independent retailers)?


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Business Spotlight

Business Spotlight – Livability Magazines

This content item within the magazine is placed with the Business section. It is intended to convey a sampling of companies within the community, which are nationally significant or uniquely representative of the community’s overall business climate.

Includes:

  • 5 items total. Each item should be 25-30 words in length.
  • Each item should include the name of the business as the “headline.”
  • Each item should conclude with the company’s website.
  • Note: Companies with websites always are preferred, and the story list assignment often includes them. However, if there is no website for the company, a phone number will do.


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Golf

Consider the following items during your research and include all that apply:

  • What courses have notable course architects or architecture?
  • What is the terrain of the course(s) like?
  • What are the unique hole(s) like?
  • What are the particular challenges a golfer might enjoy?
  • What are the professional golf connections of the community or course (major tournaments held here? a pro golfer who is a resident or from here)?
  • What are the top accolades or awards earned by area courses?
  • What are the courses or programs that might be considered golf bargains within the community?
  • What courses are open to the public versus membership only?
  • Is there an X factor?


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