Part professional, part personal, the reasons The Garden Island’s new business reporter, Blake Jones, moved here are perhaps most aptly summarized in her favorite book: “Tales of a Female Nomad.”
“She talks about how she left her life in California,” Jones said, identifying with the book’s author, Rita Golden Gelman. “Traveling the world. I feel like a bit of a nomad myself.”
A military brat, Jones never lived in one city for more than three years, dotting the globe in places such as Rhode Island, Italy, and her most recent jumping-off point, San Diego.
“There’s a lot of distraction in San Diego,” Jones said. “I wanted to get away from that, to be somewhere more rural, somewhere you don’t have to drive to be closer to nature.”
The clarity that could come from the simplified lifestyle the island is known for should lend itself well to meeting the challenges of her new beat, notorious for its wide-range of topics.
The writer who sits at the business desk wears many proverbial hats, including keeping an eye on the goings-on of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, following economic trends in tourism, keeping abreast of the issues facing the island’s cherished mom-and-pop businesses and up-to-date familiarity with labor-rights issues.
Jones is poised to rise to that challenge, armed with journalism and Spanish degrees from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and two-years-worth of newsroom titles that run the gamut from intern to editor.
Though somewhat fresh out of the gate, don’t let the two-years experience fool you: Jones is by no means green.
She’s already covered development issues, City Council meetings and any and all “hard news” that fell into the territory of The Peninsula Beacon, the California-based weekly publication for which she wrote, designed, copy edited and assigned stories.
And because that publication catered to readers who identified with living in a small community, that experience should yield fruitful results reporting on Kaua‘i.
“I’m excited to work at a daily paper that has a strong community feel to it,” Jones said, placing emphasis on the importance of having a keen understanding of what’s important to residents.
“I want to provide them with enough information to make good decisions. Coming from a community weekly, I had close relationships with readers. It was more personal than a huge, metropolitan daily.”
A smaller paper means less obstacles when it comes to directly relating with business owners, an aspect of reporting Jones prizes.
“It’s not just getting to know about the business, but about the people behind it,” she said.
Alluding to her proven track record, editor Adam Harju lauded Jones’ recent TGI articles as well as those from the paper for which she previously worked.
“Her professional manner is a great addition to the newsroom,” Harju said.
Jones replaces former TGI Business Staff Writer Charlotte Woolard, who left the newspaper in February.
• Amanda C. Gregg, assistant editor, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or firstname.lastname@example.org.