When Gov. Dave Heineman announced in late February that he was leading a trade delegation to China, Executive Editor Mike Reilly and I quickly concluded that we should take World-Herald and Omaha.com readers along on the trip.
China is on our minds these days.
Some days the relationship between the United States and China is viewed through a Cold War lens and other times as an economic partnership that strengthens both nations. We know the economic, educational and technical ties between our region and China are extensive. But we anticipate The China Connection series will document that they are greater than imagined.
The deeper we examined the relationship, the more convinced we were that this important story affecting our economic well-being needed to be told as only The World-Herald can. We are the only news organization on this trade mission.
As you see with today's first installment of The China Connection, reporter Paul Goodsell and photographer Matt Miller are your eyes and ears as Gov. Heineman and representatives of 25 companies, law firms, trade organizations and academic institutions make a pitch for mutually increased manufacturing and investment opportunities.
Watch for our coverage of the Nebraska trade mission through next Sunday.
After the trade delegation departs, Goodsell and Miller will remain in China to take a deeper look at the extent of the involvement of Midlands firms in the Chinese economy. Look for those reports in the coming months.
Goodsell is one of The World-Herald's most experienced reporters. Since joining the paper in 1981 he has tackled assignments that have taken him from Sarpy County suburbs to Washington, D.C., to international locales. We often call on him to tackle the most complex subjects, knowing Goodsell's ability to cut through information to find out how it impacts you, our readers.
In recent years Goodsell has used the most powerful computer in our newsroom to analyze tax records, voting patterns, census figures and other data. He is part of the team that built Curbwise.com, the website that allows property owners in Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster Counties to compare their values with neighbors' and to recent comparable sales.
Miller is an award-winning photographer who joined The World-Herald in 2002. He was named Nebraska Photographer of the Year every year but one between 2002 and 2008; the year he didn't win the top award, 2007, he was runner-up. His portraits and landscapes reflect a mastery of light. Miller said he entered journalism to “meet people you wouldn't get to meet, ask questions that aren't socially acceptable to ask of strangers and see different parts of the world.”
Last year Miller accompanied a group of Omahans to Haiti to chronicle for World-Herald readers a Habitat for Humanity mission to build housing for earthquake victims.
Both Goodsell and Miller have previously been to China. Miller learned the train system on a personal trip. Goodsell experienced a much different China on assignment in 1985, when the communist government was just beginning to loosen its controls over the economy and allow private investment.
The team will report to Money section editor Deb Shanahan, who is no stranger to handling extended projects and major news stories. Before assuming her duties as Money editor in early 2011, Shanahan supervised such important projects as our series on Omaha's high rate of black poverty, such continuing coverage as the impact of the Great Recession on the Midlands, and other major stories, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's decision to join the Big Ten.
Among the biggest challenges for Shanahan will be communicating halfway around the world over a 13-hour time difference. For example, when it's noon in Omaha, it's 1 a.m. the next morning in China.
We expect the challenges to all be worth it, and our series to bring you a much better understanding of how you are part of The China Connection.
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As we go to China, we don't forget the home front. Look at what appeared in last week's World-Herald and on Omaha.com:
Photographer Jeff Beiermann and Lincoln Bureau Chief Paul Hammel captured the horrific wildfire along the Niobrara and the heroic effort to battle the flames; reporter Joe Dejka had an exclusive story on the latest controversy in the botched search for an OPS superintendent; Washington Bureau Chief Joe Morton detailed allegations of misdeeds at the Omaha district of the Army Corps of Engineers; five reporters and a photographer filed from the Big Ten football meeting in Chicago; and our Food Prowl participants declared a tie in a vote for the metro's best cheeseburger.
We are determined to be your News Source every day in every section of the newspaper and online.
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