New Media Project Aims To Tell Stories Behind Boise Companies

Mar 2, 2015

A new online media project called Built in Boise launched last week. Its purpose is to tell the stories of local companies doing interesting things.

The website's first stories included a husband-and-wife team who sell gourmet donuts, a game designer, and a banker-turned-paddle-board mogul.

Built in Boise was founded by entrepreneur Jeff Reynolds and designer Loren Morris. They have assembled an all-volunteer team which includes working journalists, PR reps, photographers and marketers. KBSX spoke with Reynolds last Thursday, when the site went live. Here is part of that conversation.

Q: Is 'Built in Boise' PR or journalism, or something else?

“Well it’s not PR because we’re not taking or making any money off of it. It’s not designed to promote per se. We’re not trying to be hard-hitting journalists. It’s somewhat in between. It’s more professional than a blog and it’s certainly not opinion. Basically we felt like Boise is not getting the credit or taking the credit for itself, for all the cool things that are happening. So we want to tell those stories.”

“I had a conversation not too long ago with Mayor Bieter. He was asking me what I thought the city could do to encourage entrepreneurialism in Boise. My response was we need to normalize it and make people understand that there are people doing it. It is a true career path.”

Q: Why is your site needed?

“There’s a lot of news in Boise about law firms and real estate companies. ‘This company moved this office’ and that sort of thing. We want to make sure we tell the stories of other companies doing things, and frankly the people behind them, because that’s the part that we think’s missing.”

Q: Existing media outlets aren’t doing that?

“Not enough. They’re so afraid of seeming biased or being promotional, that they can’t get into the soft stuff which is actually what makes stories interesting. Believe me, I’ve been featured in enough of these business profile-type things, that I sense -- especially at the local level -- the fear of being promotional.”

“So we just ignore that, [and] go after companies that we find that are really interesting and write about them the way we want to write about them. We're not just doing the who, what, when and where type stuff. We’re trying to find the bits and pieces where the business people struggled, where they found hope and how they overcame challenges.”

Q: If Built in Boise gains a lot of readership and a lot of popularity do you foresee every business in Boise coming to you and saying, ‘please do a story about us?’

“We’ve already been hammered about that [seven hours after the launch of the site.] I think everybody’s going to want to be a part of it. We’ll get to everybody, it’s just a matter of time.”

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @CotterellAdam

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