Gainesville Attracts National Recognition

No stranger to recognition, Gainesville and the Alachua County area—or Titletown to many—has topped multiple lists in the past, boasting the No. 1 place to live and work in America in 2007’s Cities Ranked & Rated, Second Edition, as well as being hailed as the “Healthiest City in America” by the Wellness Council of America. Still, it seems that the town has gained an unusual amount of publicity and awards in recent months.

The 28-page section on Gainesville in US Airways Magazine opens with a photo of the Thomas Center taken by area photographer Gene Bednarek. Reprint Courtesy US Airway

Good press included coverage of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art’s new Cofrin Asian Art Wing, which opened in March, in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Then, US Airways Magazine ran at 28-page special section on the area in their May issue. Roland Loog, director of Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau, helped arranged the special section after his former marketing and communications director, Marcheta Keefer, had helped put together a similar special section on Winston-Salem, N.C.

“The magazine reaches three million readers,” Loog says. “It was written by professional journalists, with no editorial control by us, which gives it legitimacy.”

Other recent media mentions and awards include:

Parade magazine ranked Gainesville sixth among the “Top 25 Hardest Working Towns in America,” based on average hours worked per capita, the willingness to work during personal time, dual-income homes and the jobless rate.

1000 Friends of Florida, which promotes “wise management of growth and change,” awarded Alachua County a “Better Community Award” in recognition of its multimodal transportation and sustainable patterns of development.

Amazon rated Gainesville as eighth on its list of best-read cities per capita, based on sales of books, newspapers and magazines.

Social scientist Richard Florida, writing for The Atlantic magazine’s website, ranked Gainesville No. 8 among best places for new college grads, based on the unemployment rate; the share of jobs in professional, technical and creative occupations; and other factors.

Southern Living magazine’s “Tales from the Road” blog covered Gainesville Fashion Week.

A city guide to Gainesville was recently published on immensely popular design blog Design Sponge.

More positive attention may be on the way. Representatives of Innovation Gainesville and Scott Staples, co-founder of MindTree, recently met with reporters from Inc. and Forbes magazines and The New York Times to tout the company’s decision to create a software development center in Gainesville.

Rob DeRocker, the New York-based publicist that Innovation Gainesville hired, arranged the interviews, says Brent Christensen, outgoing president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re not sure when stories will appear, but we are working regularly with national media,” he says. “We plan to make more trips down the line, including ones to Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and some locations in the West.”

Sometimes, publicity isn’t all good. Negative press flared up over the University of Florida’s proposal to eliminate the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department in the College of Engineering as a separate entity. Bloggers from Forbes, The New York Times and The Atlantic commented on the plan—which has since been modified.

Editor’s Note: Staff from The Business Report contributed to the US Airways feature and the Southern Living story.

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