Our panel on "Reflecting Detroit in the (new) media" on Nov. 12 brought out more than 200 people to the Majestic to take part in the discussion on how the city and the region are being reflected in magazines, TV, blogs, and social media.
The panel included:
- Darrell Dawsey, blogger for TIME magazine's "Assignment Detroit" project
- Oneita Jackson, writer of the O Street blog for the Detroit Free Press
- Jim Griffioen, a Detroit resident and photographer/writer for his Sweet Juniper! blog
- Toby Barlow, Detroiter, ad man, novelist, and columnist for the New York Times and Huffington Post
- Marge Sorge, executive director of the Detroit Regional News Hub
- And moderator Jim Boyle, Detroitophile, writer, and vice president of integrated marketing with Detroit firm Lovio George.
The theme of the night was to take the media into your own hands -- whether that means starting your own blog or web site or to reach out to traditional media to get your story out there. In other words, don't complain about the media missing the story: make your own media.
Barlow said he's mulled over why the media has been so -- in his words -- hysterical about Detroit stories. His answer? "They wanted a crash course on what to do when things
collapse, and Detroit was the easiest lesson they had. ... People in
desperate times look to the most desperate place to figure out how to
get through it."
Jim Griffeon talked about guiding journalists through the city when the come here, and then ultimately reading the same old story.
He said the photography that goes with those pieces is lacking, with photos often cropped to only show the decay: "There's this stickiness to the story about what I call 'ruin
Dawsey talked about Detroiters' complaints about the mainstream media's work here: "People in Detroit want to get pissed off at TIME, pissed off at the New York Times, pissed off at 20/20. I think they have a right to be annoyed by the portrayal, but I've been annoyed by the portrayal for half my life."
Marge Sorge talked about a Norweigian reporter's experience talking to people outside of a Lion's game. "He went out and talked to the people in front of the field, and one person from Detroit said to him, 'What did you do to your editor to make him make you come to Detroit?' ... But that's the kind of thing we have to deal with here. Sometimes are our own worst enemies."
Oneita Jackson told the audience if they want to change the image of the city in the media, they must take matters into their own hands. Jackson said: "Tell your own stories. ... We are begging people to like us. ... If you don't want them telling those stories, Detroit, then stop being the way you are."
To download the audio from the event, click here: