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Conveying Jackson and state’s image cannot be taken lightly

My wife and I were sitting in bed one night last week unwinding with the television on after a long day of work, kids, paying bills, washing dishes and walking dogs. 

She had her laptop open, looking on the web for a swing set we can put in our backyard for the kids. I was reading the first few chapters of a book she recently gave me for my birthday.

We weren’t really paying attention to the television. It was mostly background, until, that is, the story about “Girls Gone Wild” coming to Jackson flashed on the screen during a local TV news show.

Sarah and I kind of cut our eyes across at each other, grinned and went back to doing what we were doing.

Most folks know at least what “Girls Gone Wild” is, and if you don’t, I’m betting you can figure it out without me going into a whole lot of detail.

It wasn’t surprising that the television news was airing the piece.

Having been in journalism for more than 20 years, I understand that GGW coming to town is going to draw interest from a certain segment of the population. Therefore, the local television news found a way to get the information on the air.

They interviewed the Jackson club owner that was hosting the event and a few folks that were going to the club.

Nothing out of the ordinary; just regular people eager to get their chance to chat on television.

What I did find interesting about the entire process is that when contacted by the television station, a representative of the Jackson Convention Center said, “It’s good, in a way, to show the rest of the nation that Jackson, Miss., has night life.”

Really? … really?

New Orleans is known worldwide for its nightlife. Memphis has a great nightlife scene and so does Birmingham and Little Rock, even without the more risque events that go on in all.

But I am not sure I have ever seen a member of a local convention center get up and say that having the GGW Naked Circus come to town is good for its city.

I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. Really, I’m not.

I am not against this or any other club having whatever event that is legal, if that’s what it believes is best for their business, and I am not against the media reporting it.

However, let me go out on a limb and say for a convention center representative to make a comment that this type of event is good for the national stature of Jackson and Mississippi is not the smartest move ever made.

Here are a few talking points on Downtown Jackson (ripped from the headlines of the Downtown Jackson Partners) the next time a TV reporter sticks a camera and microphone in front of your face:

• Southwest Airlines chooses Jackson over 20 other cities to feature the Capital City in a section for its August edition of Spirit magazine 

• Cityview condominiums are 25 percent sold in a really bad economic time, and they aren’t even finished yet.

• Every apartment in Jackson for lease has a waiting list, and three new loft projects are in the works.

• Four entertainment venues to scheduled to open on Farish Street late this fall.

• Calls continue to pour into Watkins Development for leasing information on the apartments in the King Edward, and a model apartment and hotel room are actually open for viewing.

It’s no secret that Jackson and Mississippi have an image problem. Having said that, among the things we need is for the people in charge of that image to have the best image to portray when talking to the media.


Contact MBJ managing editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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