All the ‘new’ that’s fit to print

New economic activity makes Augusta’s good news stand out

If you think so much of national and world news is negative, you’re not wrong. It is. And there are reasons for that.

 

The most basic reason is that there’s often a greater need to know bad news. If everything is fine within 50 city blocks, but there’s a fire on the 51st, that’s what we need most to know about. As wonderful as it is, planes taking off and landing safely aren’t news.

And while the media can be blamed for perhaps focusing too much on bad news — though there’s a lot more good news, especially in local reporting, than the media get credit for — studies have shown that consumers, despite what we say, are almost instinctively more drawn to bad news, for the above reasons and more.

It may be deeply ingrained, too — a part of human evolution that has helped us survive by being aware of danger.

But with so much noise in today’s media landscape, it almost takes conscious thought to focus on the good.

Except in Augusta.

Even with high-profile political kerfuffles over where to build a new arena — what a great problem for a community to have! — the biggest news here is consistently good and getting better all the time.

Old divisions are melting away. New diversions are popping up. Roads are being laid out and overlaid. Before our very eyes, we’re seeing a live time-lapse video of buildings going up day by day. New industry, new investments, new residents, new energy, new alliances, new excitement.

We are witnesses to history. This town may never have been more dynamic than it is right now, thanks in large part to the Pentagon’s decision to headquarter its Army Cyber Command — which protects the nation against computer-based attack — at Fort Gordon. And thanks to visionary, bold, state and local leaders who’ve positioned Georgia and Augusta to not only capitalize on the cyber growth but to feed it Miracle-Gro.

The evidence of it looms over the Savannah River downtown, where the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center is shooting up.

This week, we learned that, because of the cyber center, Augusta’s biggest tourist attraction will be getting even bigger: As part of the center’s construction above 10th Street, the Augusta Riverwalk will be extended from 10th to 13th — meaning it will stretch pretty much the length of the city core’s riverbank, from 6th to 13th.

Also this week, we heard a prediction from Augusta University Associate Professor of Finance Simon Medcalfe that 2018 will be a year of “robust” growth in the Augusta area.

Medcalfe, who’s been doing these predictions for 10 years now, uses all kinds of statistical data in the “Augusta Leading Economic Index.” But the anecdotal evidence is in plain view, he says.

Cranes.

“I don’t remember a time when we’ve had six cranes all in a concentrated downtown area,” he said. “And I think that’s a good indicator of other activity that’s going on, in terms of construction now, but also activity that’s coming in the future.”

He predicted a flat local economy for this year — but for reasons yet unknown, we’ve surprised him in the latter half of the year.

With any luck, “robust” will be an understatement in 2018.

Wouldn’t that be great news.

 

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