Model D FAQ: A little more about us

It was 2005, way back when newspapers still delivered to everyone's door every day and online media was still hard to explain to people. Our founders, Brian Boyle and Paul Schutt, had the idea to use a website to change how people talk about Detroit. They recognized that the stories about people living, working and playing in Detroit rarely grabbed the big headlines, and from Midtown to Palmer Woods, there was a vibe in the city that needed to be told.

They also astutely recognized that there is an appetite in the city for news about new businesses, growth, real estate development, and the people who are changing the city by just choosing to be here, doing what they do.

What's unfolded in the five years since has been more rewarding, challenging and exciting than any of us expected. Truth be told, we didn't exactly know what to expect during our frequent meetings at the old Cafe de Troit coffee shop (which we still miss).

We've followed this Detroit story through many ups and downs. The ups have come in super sizes -- a Super Bowl, a new RiverWalk, a new MOCAD, Eastern Market renovations, the promise of the M1 rail line. But we've been equally riveted by the smaller scale successes -- a Bureau for our urban living, the Burton Theater, the rise of community gardens, the Park Bar, Cliff Bell's, Slows, 5 E Gallery, Good Girls, Rachel's Place, Mudgie's, the expanded Honeybee, Cafe 1923 (which has become our new Cafe de Troit), City Bird, Bookie's, Leopold's, Wheelhouse Detroit, and the list goes on.

We've also talked about the massive challenges the city faces -- lack of comprehensive mass transit, the trash incinerator question, how to right-size/downsize/shrink -- but always through a lens of talking about who is making it better, and how are they doing it.

We're the good news people, and we do blow a lot of sunshine on the city, but couldn't Detroit stand a little sunshine once in a while? The source of that light is ... you. It's people, many of them our readers, who make this city a place we want to be.

From time to time, we get asked about Model D -- we've been told who we are and how we do it is something of an enigma. So, on our fifth birthday, we thought we'd take a moment to answer a few frequently asked questions about Model D.

What's a Model D?

Detroit gave the world the Model T, which changed ultimately changed it. The name Model D is a play on the city's auto history that hints at our mission. What would a model Detroit look like? How do we get there?

So what is your mission?

We aim to change the conversation about Detroit. We want to connect and engage people with others who are transforming the city. To get people to think about what Detroit could be, to bring light to ideas and actions that are making this a better place to live, work and play. And to have fun telling that story. Our writers have spent the day on the Belle Isle beach, biked the city, made cheese at Traffic Jam, trekked the city with a Dutch artist, and spent time as an extra on a Hollywood movie all in the name of reporting.

Do you get paid?

Yes, we get paid. We're professional journalists, editors, photographers and video producers. Model D is an online magazine -- not a blog. A blog is an unfiltered "web log," like a diary, and anyone -- your mama, your babysitter, the kid next door, TIME magazine -- can put out a blog. A magazine, however, is edited, has news and uses journalistic guiding principles. And, once more, we get paid.

So how does Model D make money?

We sell sponsorships and advertising. You can see the ads and "sponsored by" links throughout the site. Model D's parent company, Issue Media Group, has grown much in the past five years. They've got 17 Model D-like publications from Toronto to Tampa, and from Baltimore to Minnesota.

Who do I make a check out to?

Well, if you insist. Contact publisher Brian Boyle about sponsorship information by clicking here.

Who reads Model D?

Our readers come from more than 2,000 cities, the top ones are Detroit, Southfield, New York, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Farmington, Royal Oak, Chicago, Clawson, Redford, Livonia, Birmingham and Lansing, according to Google Analytics. And a big hello to our Boston and Washington D.C. readers, as well.

You can sign up for the free Model D newsletter by putting your e-mail address in the box on the right. It makes a great gift for a loved one, too.

Who are you people anyway?

We have a team of freelance writers, photographers, videographers, and editors. You can find more bios, contacts and info on our About Us page.

What's the deal with that Projects Database that recently appeared on the home page?

We have collected data on new development projects that represent $1 million or more investment in the city going back to 1999. We continue to add new projects, and ask for feedback for projects we should consider adding. We hope developers, grad students, journalists, and curious people will use it to research and review what's been happening in Detroit in the past decade.

I have a really great story tip, where do I send it? And can I drop something about my event at your office?

We love tips and feedback. Send them via e-mail to As for the office, we generally do not work out of a physical office space, unless you count our regular roster of coffee shops we frequent or Supino Pizza. Offices are so 2004, people. We all work virtually, for the most part. So, please e-mail us that press release, if you don't mind.

Is Terry Parris Jr. single?

He'll never tell.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey is managing editor of Model D.

All photographs © Marvin Shaouni Photography
Contact Marvin here

Photos (from top left):

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, Managing Editor

Terry Parris Jr., Buzz Editor

Kelli B. Kavanaugh, Development News Editor

Walter Wasacz, Filter D Editor

Marvin Shaouni, Managing Photographer

Jon Zemke, Startup News Editor

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