Business, City Transformation, foundations, Neighborhoods, Philanthropy

As Detroit Unspun gets ready for new owners it thanks those who got it started

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In a recent blog, we told you about the new owners of Detroit Unspun/Detroit Regional News Hub (The Detroit Hub) and gave you a glimpse of our team and what we did to accomplish our mission – to tell undertold stories about Detroit and be an honest broker of facts about our city.

As we decided how to share the news about the change we thought the best way was to first tell you about the new team, Vanessa Denha Garmo and Daniel Cherrin, and a little about our original team. As we approach the transfer to the new team on August 1, we also want to give you a little background about how The Detroit Hub and Detroit Unspun came about, and thank those who made it happen.

First we want to thank you, our readers. Without you there would have been no Detroit Unspun. We hope you will continue to follow us with the new owners.

Detroit Unspun

Major funding for our project has come from several sources over the years including the New Economy Initiative, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Renaissance (predecessor to Business Leaders for Michigan), the Downtown Detroit Partnership and Strategic Staffing Solutions.

Our mission was set back in 2006 when Detroit Renaissance launched its Road to Renaissance initiative, which was aimed at getting Southeast Michigan on a path to economic revitalization. Creating the initiative was a collaborative effort. Input was gathered from more than 650 local leaders from 500 different organizations and led by a 30-member steering committee. It was a terrific example of business, government and other organizations working together to improve our region – a commitment that continues today.

Our road, “to promote globally while communicating locally,” was one of six areas identified. The other five were to become the global center for mobility, become a global logistics hub, expand the region’s creative community, expand the region’s entrepreneurial capacity and secure a strong talent base. Great progress has been made on all of these.

One big issue was negative press about Detroit, which was rampant. The city seemed an easy target and became the poster child for crime and blight in many publications. Too many journalists simply parachuted into the city and never saw the whole story. Our job was to help them see all of Detroit.

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Rivard Plaza before and after-before-after_Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Rivard Plaza before and after its transformation. Photo courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

“Back then, every article about Detroit read like an obituary,” our board chair Cindy Pasky, who is also CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S³), told the New York Times in a story written about The Detroit Hub a few years ago. “The press would come in, take their ‘ruin porn’ pictures of the abandoned Michigan railway station or Packard Plant and then leave. We knew we had to do something to try and change that.”

Our goal was to obtain more evenhanded coverage of the city, but never to hide the issues such as the most blighted areas.

With that the Detroit Regional News Hub was launched in 2008 with funding from Detroit Renaissance, the New Economy Initiative, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and several corporations.

Thank you to Doug Rothwell, who then headed Detroit Renaissance and now leads Business Leaders for Michigan and chairs the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Thank you, too, to Larry Alexander, president of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau; Mary Kramer, former publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, and Cindy Pasky, who played key roles in developing the “Promote Globally, Communicate Locally” team for Road to Renaissance.

As time went on things changed and the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) picked up our funding. Thank you to David Blaszkiewicz, who was then president of DDP and is now president and CEO of Invest Detroit, which is doing some phenomenal things in our city. Thank you again to Cindy Pasky, who chairs DDP, as well as all its board members.

Pasky’s company S³ was also a funder and Pasky was personally instrumental in helping us continue Youth Neighborhood News (YNN), our broadcast journalism program for high school students, when other dollars ran out. She funded the program in honor of her friend, Sam Logan, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle who died in 2011. YNN was renamed Youth Neighborhood News the Logan Network.logoShe also spoke to the YNN team often telling them about the need for ethics, objectivity and honestly in journalism, a belief we all share at Detroit Unspun.

YNN is a program we would love to see restored.

Over the years many other companies, agencies and organizations also contributed either directly or indirectly to our many projects. They include the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Wayne State University, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, DTE Energy, Henry Ford Health Systems, Quicken Loans, City of Detroit Mayor’s Office, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Regional Chamber, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Midtown Detroit, Detroit Port Authority, Tech Town, Show Me Detroit Tours, Detroit Experience Factory (then D:Hive), Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Blight Busters, Southwest Solutions, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. and many neighborhood organizations, block clubs and public relations agencies.

We also want to thank the many businesses that opened their doors to the media during our Transformation Detroit media briefings. You told your stories so well.

Thank all our stakeholders, not just for helping us, but more importantly, foryour commitment to getting the word out about Detroit’s ongoing transformation. Much has been done, and there is still much more to do.

Detroit Unspun will continue to share the stories of the transformation of our city and its neighborhoods under Vanessa and Dan.

To our readers – thank you.

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