Your Turn to Make the News!

What do you think are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities facing our region in 2016? What kind of media coverage can effectively communicate the complexity of these issues, and vet possible solutions? These questions are at the heart of our new project with Metromode, Issue Media Group’s regional publication for metro Detroit.

We believe that to make progress on metro Detroit’s most persistent challenges, we must grapple with and better understand their complex histories, current policies, and ongoing movements. To that end, we’ve formed a new storytelling partnership with Metromode, and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan has awarded us $30,000 to kickstart this partnership, and we are incredibly grateful for this investment. We are also thrilled to share that you can have a role to play in shaping our coverage of the region.

Here’s how our program works: every few months, Metro Matters and Metromode convene an editorial advisory board of emerging leaders from various communities and professional backgrounds. These up-and-comers will discuss what they see in the region: the problems, the promise, and the perspectives. These conversations will highlight for us not only the priority issues for metro Detroit’s future decision-makers, but also the people and projects working to make a difference.

We’ll turn that input into reporting, but not just any reporting. Metromode writers will embrace “solutions journalism”, an approach that emphasizes in-depth investigations into the context surrounding an issue, and—perhaps most critically—the possible (and often in-progress) solutions that could work for metro Detroit.

We’ve chosen solutions journalism as our approach because too often, the stories we tell dead-end at a problem. Take, for example, the story of James Robertson that went viral in 2015. Most of the coverage, including locally, focused on one man’s personal struggle within the woefully inadequate public transportation system in the region built by cars.

Though Robertson’s individual tale was certainly compelling, the reporting often mentioned SMART’s opt-out communities but left out the fact that the Regional Transit Authority (and it’s upcoming regional transit plan) covers all four counties with no exceptions. Metromode’s coverage was actually a positive exception, and provided more information and insight about the landscape of transit in metro Detroit. Readers of their article would come away understanding not only the significance of one man’s story, but also that many hardworking people were advancing important answers to the problems his story highlighted.

We believe metro Detroit has a moment of opportunity. The investment and energy pouring into the core city is creating momentum that can fuel not just improvements but transformation. To make the most of this opportunity, residents should benefit from the smartest, best possible coverage of the issues that most need transforming. And they deserve to be informed not only about our problems but about the ideas with the great chance of solving them.

And that’s where you come in. To guide our first year-long series, we’re looking for emerging leaders to serve on our inaugural regional editorial advisory board. You could be a fit if:

  • You are passionate about exploring creative, collaborative solutions to metro Detroit’s contemporary challenges.
  • You’re not the CEO, but you’re moving up the ranks, or maybe even entry level. You might not yet be making all the decisions… but you’re on track to make some of them.
  • You’re a student with a focus on or experience in policy, government, urban planning, business, or another area that we didn’t realize belongs on this list.
  • You can point to something and say “this demonstrates my passion for metro Detroit.” It can be a resume, a project, a social media presence—anything, really. We just want to know you share our love for our region.
  • You’re a skillful listener who likes to hear others’ perspectives just as much as you like to share your own.
  • You’re excited about being part of something new, and helping shape a nascent program into a useful platform for the region.
  • You can commit to quarterly meetings on the following dates:
    • June 1
    • August 4
    • November 3
    • January 18

When we think of our emerging leaders, we think of people between the ages of 18 and 35—but that’s not a hard requirement. If you’ve recently changed careers or gotten involved in your community, you could be a great fit. We want the editorial board to be diverse in terms of race, gender, geography, and thought, so whatever your background or perspective—we value it and encourage you to apply.

To that end, we’ve made it easy for you. View and complete the application right here, and then go directly to social media and share it with everyone you know. If this opportunity isn’t for you, consider sending it to your best and brightest employees, students, colleagues, children, grandchildren, etc. With your help, we’ll recruit a strong board of connected thinkers who will in turn help us cover the most important issues in a way that will help us better understand this place we all call home.





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