Leather Shoes – Global Atlanta

Editor’s note: Trevor Williams travels to Quebec for research on a special report examining the province’s economic and trade ties with Georgia prior to the SEUS/Alliance of Canadian Provinces Conference and its return to Savannah 15 years after its founding. He writes daily blog posts. The reporting trip is sponsored by the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta.

To get the story in journalism, it’s often said that you have to do “leather” reporting – going out and hitting the pavement to find out what’s really going on.

Global Atlanta’s reporting trip is sponsored by Global Affairs Canada.

It occurred to me the other night, as the soles of my dress shoes clipped against the cobblestones of Old Montreal, echoing in the evening silence, that for over two years the pandemic has prevented this type of insight. I’ve been reporting on the world – and even the city – from my spare bedroom/office at home. This is my first trip abroad since 2019.

Like many businesses, being confined to the United States means we’re missing a dimension, even as a local news service. Not only does Global Atlanta cover how the world came to our city and state, but we also want to get in there to highlight for readers the opportunities that come with it.

Some see cross-border engagement through a lens of zero-sum competition. Some see local and global identities as mutually exclusive. We see them as intertwined, and meeting others in their territory, it’s easy to see why they are so passionate about their locality. Such understanding breeds empathy – and also shows what an important undertaking for a state to position itself to stand out in this big world.

Already in my first interviews, I discovered ties to Georgia that would never have surfaced if I hadn’t taken the time to be here. The speaker mentioned them casually, simply referring to a world-leading company in their industry, but to me they were like nuggets of gold, mined through on-the-ground knowledge research through intentional dialogue.


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