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What’s yellow, and black and Detroit all over?

Did you have a yellow secret lurking in some dark corner of your home growing up? A pile of dusty evidence stashed in the basement or attic or under the stairs?  I know my family did. The only thing that saved our pile of National Geographic’s from growing unabated was that as a military family we moved every two years.

As a whole, National Geographic has weathered the move to online media well. Its magazines are still published and highly acclaimed but a great deal of its content is now available on line too — making it much more accessible than the file by pile so many of us used to resort to because the photographs and the articles were too wonderful to throw away.

I am hoping that’s still the case.  Since the latest issue of National Geographic’s travel publication “Traveler” features a wonderful and prominent section on Detroit – the teaser copy on the cover “America’s Surprise Comeback City” is followed on page 46 with a centerfold spread “Rise and Shine Detroit, hard times aren’t over but there’s no denying the Motor City’s new spirit”.

To which I say that’s the spirit and thank you to writer Andrew Nelson and photographer Melissa Farlow for the thoughtful coverage of our flawed yet fair city.

I didn’t cringe from yet another photo gallery of Ruin Porn as I flipped through the pages. Rather I ooed and awed and nodded with approval at their selections and coverage, which even includes a great “Made in Detroit” timeline of what they call “this uniquely American city.”

“Call it a rising, a revival, a new dawn—there’s undeniable energy emanating from Detroit… An expanding Detroit RiverWalk edges downtown, where corporations like DTE Energy, Quicken Loans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have moved in thousands of workers. A favorite 1960s-era restaurant, the London Chop House, has announced its reopening. And that badge of gentrification, Whole Foods, plans to build a store in the inner city.”

Reading the magazine’s mission statement made me smile: “National Geographic Traveler reports on destinations of distinction and character, and we support efforts to keep them that way – believing that to enhance an authentic ‘sense of place’ will benefit both travelers and the locations they visit.” Detroit is all those things. Heck, we have distinction, character and authenticity in spades.

It was fun too to attend the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reception for the National Geographic team at the Westin Book Cadillac last week to hear the back story behind the decision to feature Detroit. Turns out that the editor Keith Bellows didn’t know when he made the assignment that Nelson grew up in Detroit. Whether it was a happy coincidence or kismet that brought this issue to be, this is one Detroit story I want all of us to share and share often. So don’t let this issue of the magazine gather dust even virtually. Read and see the whole spread on line and then be sure to spread the word – about Detroit’s comeback and its promising future.

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