Returning to Queensbury from Virginia: Meet Steve Thurston of Foothills Business Daily

Queensbury Grad spent 25 years as a journalism professor and freelancer; returns to the area to launch business news website

Steve Thurston moved back to the Glens Falls region with his family and launched business news website this fall after 30 years of living elsewhere.

“I did not start this out-of-the-blue. I graduated from Queensbury in 1984 and went to the University of Rochester, where I studied economics and writing,” says Steve. “From there I came back to the Glens Falls area and worked a few jobs including stints as an intern at W08CJTV in Queensbury and at Behan Communications,” which he notes was so new at the time that he was the company’s third employee. “From there, I went to graduate school in Wichita, Kansas, and then a career for almost 25 years as a writing and journalism professor. During that time, I honed the craft, freelanced for magazines and wrote for community newspapers. I spent one summer, 20 years ago, at the Chronicle in Glens Falls. I built small news companies as a way to practice the craft and stay fresh for my News Writing students.”

Their path to the Glens Falls area

Steve says that he and his wife began seriously looking to move out of their home in Arlington, Virginia, during summer 2019, and had been talking with friends and family in the Glens Falls area about what their next step would be. Then his wife secured a faculty position at SUNY Empire State College and the decision was made that they would move here.

“What my wife and I have found after coming is just how nice and accommodating people are. They have been quick to offer advice or help outright. The well-wishing I have received has kept me motivated,” he says. “That would have to be a strong reason to start a business here: the people. People I spoke to before launching told me what they would like to see in a news website and questioned, respectfully, some of my choices and ideas. They helped me see where I could fit in the ecosystem of news in this region.”

“For instance, I spoke with Ed Bartholomew just a few weeks before he died, and he told me, nicely, I was a bit nuts…and then he told me about the economic development in the area, about the entrepreneurs, and gave me five story ideas! That convinced me that I was on the right track,” continues Steve. “I knew there was business to cover, plenty of it in this area. This area is full of people who want to make their own luck. It’s full of businesses that are innovating and growing. I want to tell those stories. I want to talk to those owners and tell those stories.”

“I have been publishing stories for just over a month, and I’ve already covered stories about indoor, urban farming, a new coffee company, expanding businesses, and more.
I am looking forward to what I will learn from the people in Warren County.”

What is

“I see an opportunity for a certain type of online news that others have not yet embraced,” Steve says. “First, I don’t cover all the news. I focus on the stories that have a business angle. I’m looking for stories that tout successes, that highlight trends or that can be used to help business owners make decisions. Second, I run short, pithy stories and try to edit them for clarity and ease-of-reading. This is not a sit-down-and-read-Sunday-morning site. It’s the coffee break site, the site a reader turns to at a long red light, to find out what’s going on around town.”

“Finally, I see the area poised to move further into the digital space–new cell towers are coming, and Congress and the state are looking to fill gaps in the digital divide. This is where news will go. I am very bullish on news, but not newspapers.”

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