Much has changed in the 30 years since the first Rochester Business Journal weekly issue appeared on Oct. 5, 1987—both for the publication and the community it covers.
These three decades have seen Eastman Kodak Co., Xerox Corp. and Bausch & Lomb Inc.—once Rochester’s Big Three—decline to the point that none of them rank among the region’s top three local employers anymore, and only Xerox (No. 4) still ranks among the top 15. Meanwhile, the local economy has been bolstered by the growing importance of health care and higher education thanks to the University of Rochester, Rochester Regional Health and Rochester Institute of Technology.
Over these 30 years, downtown anchors Sibley’s and Midtown Plaza have disappeared, but the recent redevelopment of downtown Rochester has energized the city. New projects—some recently completed, some coming soon—have added residential space, new restaurants and impressive office locations. And the addition of downtown festivals and more nighttime events has helped draw people in from the suburbs.
Rochester remains a hotbed of innovation thanks to the companies that sprung up in the midst of the traditional Big Three’s decline. The region’s strength in optics and photonics led to the city winning the AIM Photonics headquarters two years ago, which offers the potential for Rochester to be at the center of a rapidly developing industry.
The changes to Rochester’s economic makeup and the rebirth of its center city highlight the resilience and adaptability of the region. Rochester has overcome numerous recent challenges—unavoidable obstacles such as the Great Recession as well as self-inflicted wounds such as the fast ferry—and is well-positioned for more growth in the coming years.
Starting next week, we will be revisiting a key business event from the past 30 years each week leading up to the publication of our 30th anniversary special section on Sept. 22.
As Rochester has changed over the past 30 years, so has the Rochester Business Journal.
When the publication started printing weekly issues in 1987, that was pretty much all it produced. But the Rochester Business Journal soon added special publications and expanded into events. March 1995 saw the launch of NewsLink, a first-of-its-kind digital multimedia business newspaper. A year later, the daily online edition started, followed by several e-newsletters.
Now part of BridgeTower Media, the Rochester Business Journal continues to evolve. The change in ownership has created a single, nimble staff that produces both the Rochester Business Journal and The Daily Record. In July, we published Reader Rankings, our first co-branded special section, and we will continue to pursue opportunities for the two publications to augment each other.
The Rochester Business Journal has exciting plans for new multimedia ventures, thought leadership events and expanded partnerships with local stakeholders—all while continuing to focus on what matters most to our readers: in-depth coverage of the local business community.
While we have 30 years of history as a publication, the transition we’re undergoing this year offers us the opportunity to take a fresh look at our operation and make changes as we see fit. We invite our readers to be part of our continued evolution. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or suggestions you have.
Ben Jacobs is editor of the Rochester Business Journal and the Daily Record.
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