Editor's notebook: Passing the baton

Welcome back Model D friends, to the new media party that never ends.

We are back to work after two weeks off spent relaxing and recharging our editorial batteries, basking in the good community and neighborhood vibes from the Dally in the Alley, and the Detroit International Jazz and Hamtramck festivals.

We also partied -- a standing room affair, on the rooftop deck at Motor City Brewing Works -- to bid our managing editor Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey a fond farewell as she leaves Model D and the standard of excellence she helped create here.

Clare guided editors and writers, was a direct link to Issue Media Group publishers, made contacts in the city's business and cultural networks, turned our speaker series into a can't miss event, co-produced (along with publisher Brian Boyle) editorial advisory meetings with regional thought leaders. That's probably only the half of it. How did she do it all? Talent and energy, pure and simple. Losing Clare is like losing three people in any other organization. No, make that three-and-a-half. Adieu, CPR, adieu. You will be missed.

Also gone is news editor Terry Parris Jr., who did a little bit of everything over nearly three years with Model D. He wrote features, hunted down Buzz items for In the News and maintained our Twitter account. Parris was a high-level utility player who made it a point to never say no -- an editor's dream. Best wishes, Terry.

So where does the editorial future of Model D begin?

Humbly, it begins with yours truly, whose love affair with this fledgling webzine started the summer of its launch. That would be 2005, when I began a contributing relationship with stories about Detroit's "global vibe," which still has traction because, well, it's authentic and true. Detroit is an international brand of power and influence, a city of innovation now in its fourth century. I'm still amazed when people don't get it. That message will be a subtext to nearly everything we do rolling forward.

I see Detroit as a crucial part of the American nervous system, a live wire of endless opportunity and, for an editor, a place of rich content that can't be bought. I believe it. I live it. That's why I'm here.

I set my standards high and push the production envelope with vigor. But I also know it has to be fun, as I hope is revealed in the FilterD section I helped launch and have nurtured over the past three years. My title was editor at large, which meant I got a chance to do nearly everything. I've subbed for Ramsey when she was traveling and on maternity leave (hello, Cate; hey Wesley) so I know the editorial ropes. The best compliment I can receive from anyone is that the passing of the baton will be largely imperceptible. We worked as a strong team, and a strong team we will remain.

Our focus is on real place and real people: doers, makers, builders choosing Detroit for its assets, seeing the promise, cultivating creative energies and new economies, being here out of choice. Community engagement and participation in neighborhood life are more than just tags to me. That's where the future begins. That's where we're headed. There's plenty of room. I hope you're coming along with me.

Just a few more words about me and I'll disappear into the electronic ether and begin putting together this week's issue.

My career passions come together at the intersection of culture and community. Since 2004, I've written a music column for the Metro Times called "The Subterraneans," I'm also a staff writer for XLR8R in San Francisco and have contributed features and reviews to magazines in Berlin, London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. All of that is possible, by the way, because I am based here and not there. I found editors and publishers in media centers around the world to have a keen interest in our creative ecosystem. They seemingly never tire of how we roll, however hardscrabble we may be. Detroit pushes agendas, carves out its own regional identity. People from Brussels to Brisbane understand that. I'll make sure we never forget that at home. 

In Hamtramck, where I live and work, I launched columns called "Eye on Culture," "Sidewalking" and "Street Life" for local newspapers. In all cases, what I call the theater of the real -- what's happening now to quicken the pulse, or advance the quality of community life -- has been my subject.

At Model D, all my passions are given over. I am privileged to be your guide for what I believe could be a journey into the best years of our lives, Detroit.

Let's keep the party going.

Got a story or comment? Send mail here or follow me on Twitter. 

The photo of Walter Wasacz at the Noguchi Fountain is by Marvin Shaouni.
The other is a self-portrait taken at dusk in downtown Detroit.


Read more articles by Walter Wasacz.

Walter Wasacz is a writer and the former managing editor of Model D. You can find more of his writings here.
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