By Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor
Editor’s Note: Plant City Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class is a program where members of the chamber meet monthly to explore different factions and lifestyles of Plant City. Associate Editor, Amber Jurgensen, is taking the class to better know and understand Plant City. With the theme, arts and media, the first class visited two area schools, the Tampa Tribune, Focus Magazine, Bruton Memorial Library and the Plant City Photos Archives and Historical Center.
Two white vans parked outside of the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Oct. 9., waiting to zip the Plant City Leadership Class to the most interesting places in Tampa and Plant City. As the group piled into our assigned vehicles we slowly began to feel like school-aged children again…well at least I did.
The seats were stacked in rows, but no one wanted to sit in the back for fear of bouncing with every dimple in the road. In our school days, kids would fight to the death…alright, maybe not to the death, but still fight for the very back seats.
But like many bus rides of the past, the van was full of loud chatter and excitement. The 2012-2013 Leadership Class had just departed to its first field trip on its first class day.
For some reason everywhere we went, the van struck a cord with leadership alumni. Candy Owens at the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center recalled a time in the van where only one air conditioning vent worked and the classmates jokingly bickered over which way the vent would turn and by extension, who would get the air.
But alumni remember so much more about Leadership that just the van. The exciting trips to the police department, printing presses and schools just to name a few, all have made an impact on them. And we got to experience the start of that same impact.
Traveling outside of Plant City to Tampa, we visited the Tampa Tribune. Being in the media industry, I had seen a tv studio, news anchor desk and green screen before. I knew that many cameras in news studios are automated and not manned. I’ve seen live tapings.
But the joy I got from seeing my fellow classmates be able to experience a true newsroom, be interested in something I found interesting, really was the highlight of my day.
And not only did they get to see a big newsroom like the Tribune which has their broadcast, online and print bureaus combined into one building, they got to see smaller, local organizations like the Focus and the Plant City Observer.
There’s no argument that each office was different.
The Tribune with it’s two studios, countless number of computer and tv screens for monitoring and writing and giant in-house presses that made as much noise as an airline jet, was corporate. The Focus with its bright red walls, past covers blown up into wall art and modern furniture, was trendy. The Plant City Observer with it’s cozy wooden walls, writers and designers busy on their computers with cluttered desks showing evidence of news investigations and historical photos of Plant City decorating the office, was classic.
No one does news wrong. Everyone had their own style. I find it fascinating, and I think the Leadership Class got to see a valuable behind the scenes look at each media company, how much goes into news from the reporting to the advertising to the production and how news is brought right here to Plant City.