HuffPost Detroit launches to counter ‘knee-jerk narrative’

The Huffington Post
Detroit has a new website, “fresh off the assembly line,” says Arianna Huffington, whose mission is to counter the narrative of national media that parachute in to cover the declining metropolis. Huffington writes:

We’ve seen it time and time again: a reporter helicopters in and scours the city for tales of grit and decay that reinforce the Detroit of popular imagination — or the occasional oases of progress that defy it — and then, just as quickly, heads out of town, conventional wisdom re-confirmed. Indeed, the passing, drive-by glance at Detroit has become a mainstream media subgenre. Not much has changed since 2009, when HuffPost’s Jason Linkins called Detroit the “epicenter for a nation of journalists-turned-poverty-tourists.”

Time magazine embedded staff for a year in Detroit, after which local journalists wanted to take over the house Time bought there.

Knight foundation grants director Rishi Jaitly explains what’s missing in Detroit coverage: “…how often do we consider Detroit as a collection of people, a set of human stories and social networks that collide and connect with one another? In my experience, not often enough.”

News release follows:

The Huffington Post Media Group Launches HuffPost Detroit

Famed “Motor City” Gets Its Own HuffPost Signature Blend of

Real-Time News, Opinion and Engaged Community

New York, NY – November 17, 2011 – The Huffington Post Media Group, a leading source of news, opinion, entertainment, community and digital information, announces today the launch of HuffPost Detroit (huffingtonpost.com/detroit/), bringing to the Motor City the unique blend of real-time news, views, and engaged community that is the signature of The Huffington Post (“HuffPost”). The site will cover the city’s highs and lows as it reinvents itself in a post-industrialized America. Simone Landon is Editor of HuffPost Detroit, and Kate Abbey-Lambertz is Associate Editor. Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, made the announcement.

HuffPost Detroit will cover both sides of the city’s split-screen,” said Arianna Huffington. “Both its struggle with unemployment, decaying infrastructure, and middle-class flight, as well as its many inspiring stories of those working on solutions to the city’s problems and its surge of young entrepreneurs, leaders, and creative personalities.”

The site covers all of Detroit, from its layered culture and politics to its diverse neighborhoods, personalities, and businesses. HuffPost Detroit features real-time news and views about the city, including its sports teams; restaurant scene; real estate and architectural restoration; green living; fitness and wellness; business and more. Auto industry news and buzz will be a prominent focus, including a weekly column by David Kiley, Editor-in-Chief of AOL Autos. The comings and goings of the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene will be followed, including what’s happening at the newer galleries such as Kunsthalle Detroit and old stalwarts such as the Detroit Institute of Arts.

HuffPost Detroit covers the issues facing the metropolis, from city planning and housing to education and the environment. HuffPost reporter Matt Sledge reports today on the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, including the aging Ambassador Bridge to Canada and the heated debate about a replacement. HuffPost Detroit closely follows transportation news, from troubled city bus lines to plans for suburban light rail. Also today, HuffPost Education Reporter Joy Resmovits reveals how Teach for America college graduates are doing in their teaching assignment at local schools. Working with HuffPost’s Impact section, Detroit residents and nonprofits in need will be profiled, as well as the local agents of change that are creating solutions to the most pressing problems confronting the city and state.
Also prominently featured are residents and city experts who will be blogging about anything that excites them. Contributors will include Congressman Hansen Clarke, City Council President Charles Pugh, and musicians, business leaders, artists and community members, including Rev. Edgar L. Vann, MC5 bassist Michael Davis, head of the Knight  Foundation Detroit initiatives Rishi Jaitly, Wayne State’s Ned Staebler, and more.
In coordination with the region’s 29 Patch sites, HuffPost Detroit will cross the city’s “8 Mile divide” to spotlight what’s happening at the community level throughout southeastern Michigan. HuffPost recently partnered with Rochester-Rochester Hills Patch to cover the GOP Michigan debate.

Editor Simone Landon is moving from HuffPost’s news desk. Before joining HuffPost, Simone was a producer for WRNI, the NPR affiliate in Providence, and has worked at WDET and the Metro Times in Detroit. Landon has a degree in Africana Studies and Latin American Studies from Brown University, and is returning home to the city to launch the site.  Said Landon, “I’m so happy to be back in Detroit, my hometown, and I’m excited to be able to bring a native perspective to covering all that’s happening in this amazing and unique city.”

Associate Editor Kate Abbey-Lambertz is also a Detroit native. She graduated from Hampshire College, where she studied writing, photography, and Michigan history. She has previously worked at Mark Batty Publisher, New Directions Publishing, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit.

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