February 9, 2009

Standing out from the crowd: Looking at corporation HQs in area

Saw a news item that Hilton is moving its corporate headquarters to Fairfax County.

First, I hope it does not mean Paris will be visiting often to get her allowance.

More importantly, what can we see from this move?
  1. At at time of economic trouble, this move means a new corporate taxpayer 
  2. It means more taxpayers moving into the area.
  3. It also represents another international company operating in Fairfax County.
It is this last point that I want to talk about.

Hilton, like other international hotel companies has a staff drawn from around the world. New hotel managers are cycled in and out of corporate headquarters for training. New corporate managers are moved in and out depending on the global needs of the company.

This cycling of people from around the world in and out of the headquarters is not unique to Hilton nor to the hotel industry.

I would bet Fairfax County -- and the greater DC metro area -- get loads of temporary international visitors passing through the other international corporate headquarters.

I wonder how well local journalists understand how much these international corporate activities affect the local area.
  • Are there changes in restaurants?
  • How about grocery stores?
  • Dry goods? (For example, where does a traditional Indian woman buy a good sari in the DC area?)
Maybe student journalists should be looking at these local issues. And maybe they should be looking at how international headquarters of major corporations affect their school.
  • What kind of relationship does the university have with the large companies? If they don't have one, why not?
  • Does the presence of international corporations affect the composition of the student body?
  • Do the incentives offered by the state and local governments to get these international companies to locate in the area affect funds available for education (higher and otherwise)?
To be honest, I don't see a lot of mainstream media reports on these issues. Maybe student journalists looking to stand out from the crowd of other graduating student journalists entering an ever-tightening market could look at these stories and see what others don't.

And I will bet -- in fact I am sure -- there are quite a few other story ideas based on what I presented that I have not figured out.

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