One of the first in-depth features I wrote as a professional journalist was focused—somewhat ironically, in retrospect—on what is still sometimes referred to as one of the biggest and most expensive public works projects in U.S. history: the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority's (MTA) Central Artery/Tunnel Project, more commonly known as Boston's Big Dig. The exact date of that story eludes because it predates the widespread use of the Internet as a publishing archive. (I couldn't find a copy of it anywhere, even through the magic of Google.)
The subject of that piece, however, remains fresh in my mind: Nynex (one of the original Baby Bells spun off from the divestiture of AT&T; its facilities are now part of Verizon) was taking advantage of the Big Dig to pursue a massive upgrade to its own aging infrastructure. Since the MTA was going to be opening up the streets for an indefinite period of time anyway, Nynex decided to pull fiber optic cabling, install new switching facilities, and pursue other improvements necessary to modernize its network.
Onsite in Boston over the course of several days, interviewing Nynex's engineers and project managers and touring the company's facilities, I got a firsthand look at the breadth and complexity of Nynex's operation, and also of the massive public works project that surrounded and prompted it.
Part of the reason I remember my work on that story so vividly is that it marked a career turning point for me: That early experience helped fuel a lasting journalistic passion for covering technical innovation, for behind-the-scenes storytelling, for deciphering complex infrastructure and processes and the way things work—and for translating all of it into content that was informative, instructive, and interesting for an audience ranging from the upper echelons of industry management to the workers responsible for installing and maintaining the systems.
So why, after so many years of pursuing that passion in the telecom industry, have I shifted to public works? For the answer to that, see the previous paragraph: I wanted to pursue editorial coverage of a sector renowned for technical innovation and challenged by the complexities of infrastructure and process. I wanted to contribute to the creation of informative, instructive, and interesting content for a broad audience of readers facing distinct sets of problems. And I wanted to continue to fuel that passion for behind-the-scenes storytelling and deciphering the way things work.
I'm new to your field, but I'm familiar with the category of challenges you face. I'm accustomed to a sector grappling with the ongoing need for innovation in the face of resource limitations and economic constraints. I know that surmounting those hurdles is what makes people the trendsetters in their fields. That's what PUBLIC WORKS is, and that's what we intend to bring you more of as we move forward: The same technical depth you're used to, coupled with more analysis of the broad trends affecting your world and more exploration of the challenges that are looming just around the bend and how you can prepare for them.
I urge you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-705-2594 to share your stories, offer your critique of our efforts, and tell me how you would like to see PUBLIC WORKS evolve. I couldn't be more excited about exploring this world with you.
Editor in Chief