When I arrived in Long Beach 15 years ago, my boss at the time, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, and my best friend, Shaun Lumachi, suggested I get to know the leaders and institutions that make this city special. At the top of the list from both: George Economides.
‘Did you check with George?’ ‘You should go see George.’ ‘Make sure you give George a heads-up.’ In every conversation I had with anyone he was always just ‘George.’ No last name needed. Only George.
People made the trek to his office. You went to see George. Everyone did. Everyone still does.
The first time I walked into the Business Journal offices and into George’s conference room, I was struck with the heft of the accolades lining the walls. Honors from every non-profit organization. Scrolls and certificates of appreciation from every local elected official and city. That’s influence.
There’s really no way to understate how meaningful it is that the Long Beach Business Journal is around, especially considering the challenges facing local journalism today.
Thousands of newsrooms have been shuttered across the country in the past decade. Tens of thousands of journalism jobs have been eliminated. Millions of Americans are living and working in communities that have become news deserts where robust, vital local journalism once thrived.
That the Long Beach Business Journal has continued to thrive for over three decades and continues to be essential to the health of our community, despite the challenges plaguing local journalism, is a testament to the tenacity of George, for sure, but also to every editor and reporter who has worked there. It’s a testament to every photographer and production manager. It’s a testament to April Economides as well, a leader and innovator in her own right, a champion of the causes that matter most these days, a daughter who stepped in when the need was greatest.
As a fellow local independent newsroom, we have a particular understanding and appreciation at the Long Beach Post for what George and his team have achieved. The Business Journal is not being gobbled up by some out-of-town hedge fund managers who have gutted so many other American newsrooms. The Business Journal will remain local. It will be in good hands and we will be mindful caretakers of the legacy and the work of this publication.
We challenge ourselves at the Post with a question and a call to action: ‘What’s Next?’ There’s a What’s Next ahead for the Business Journal, too, and we’re looking forward to being a part of that journey.