Editor’s note: Trevor Williams is traveling in Quebec for research on a special report looking at the province’s economic and trade ties with Georgia in advance of the SEUS/Canadian Provinces Alliance Conference and its return to Savannah 15 years after its founding. He is writing 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 one should conduct “shoe-leather” reporting — get out there and hit the pavement to find out what’s really happening.
It occurred to me the other night as the soles of my dress shoes clip-clopped against the cobblestones of old Montreal, echoing in the evening stillness, that for more than two years, the pandemic has precluded this type of insight. I reported on the world — and even the city — from my guest room/office at home. This is my first trip abroad since 2019.
Like many companies, being confined to the U.S. means we’re missing a dimension — even as a local news service. Not only does Global Atlanta cover how the world has come to our city and state, but we also want to get out into it to highlight for readers the opportunities incumbent in connection.
Some view cross-border engagement through a zero-sum lens of competition. Some see local and global identities as mutually exclusive. We see them as intertwined, and by meeting with others on their turf, it’s easy to see why they are as passionate about their locality. Such an understanding breeds empathy — and also shows what a big undertaking for a state to position itself to be noticed in this great big world.
Already in my first few interviews, I have uncovered Georgia connections that would never have surfaced if I hadn’t taken the time to be here. The speaker mentioned them casually, simply referencing a world-leading company in his sector, but for me they were like nuggets of gold, mined through the pursuit of on-the-ground knowledge through intentional dialogue.