Join in, Dearborn, it’s time for some storytelling.
I’m here to introduce Issue Media Group’s new On the Ground program launching in Dearborn and sharing some of the community’s most interesting perspectives, unique projects, and creative innovators. The three-month journalism program partners with community stakeholders and sets out to tell the story of people in their communities, with solutions-oriented coverage and a fresh look at who is engaging and investing in making Dearborn a prosperous and up-and-coming community. I’m a metro Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, so this is a community I’m excited to be embedded in and drawing stories from each week.
Dearborn has a lot of community assets and points of pride, from its diversity to notable regional institutions.
It’s in the top 10 largest cities in Michigan, with just under 100,000 residents. About 40 percent of the population is Arab American, with a growing population of Latino and African American communities, too, rounding out an inclusive city.
Dearborn’s cultural institutions stand out on a global level, including the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Arab American National Museum, and Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
Jessica Strachan, project editor and engagement manager for On the Ground Dearborn.Beaumont Health-Oakwood and Fairlane Town Center are also big draws anchoring the community, with the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company drawing in some of the most talented young professionals in the field.
On the education front, Dearborn has a large and growing school district, with nearly 21,000 students this school year and four times as many students enrolling in the district than usual. Dearborn is also home to the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College, infusing the city with college town vibes, including a vibrant nightlife, plenty of spots to tuck away quietly and study to students invested in making a difference in the metropolitan area.
Dearborn is dotted with historic neighborhoods marked with tree lined streets and several new lofts and townhome developments where people make their home. And, where they all come together is along Michigan Avenue, a 3.5-mile stretch actually connecting not one but two downtown areas. The east side is known for its small businesses, global cuisine, and ethnic bakeries, while the west has seen an emergence of new bars, trendy eateries and storefronts.
Why get involved?
There’s no shortage of stories to tell from within the community, projects to be highlighted or leaders rising to the occasion of carrying the city forward.
Through October, we’ll be not only sharing stories but taking our turn listening to the community, brainstorming ideas to make Dearborn better and putting the spotlight on the movers and shakers making real change.
Starting Aug. 14, we’ll be hosting Open Community Newsrooms 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for six weeks in west Dearborn at Common Grace Coffee Company before moving to a location in east Dearborn for the last six weeks. These newsrooms will be a chance to meet the team behind the On the Ground Dearborn project, pitch story ideas, share your perspective and hear what others are doing to make a lasting impact in Dearborn.
Facebook LIVE interviews will be conducted with some of the community’s notable leaders each week, too, giving another look at the positivity happening on the ground, so tune in each Monday on Facebook.
Stop by and say hello, drop us a line, or attend one of the several community events we’ll have coming up to network in the city. Most importantly, keep the stories going because whether you live, work, or just play in Dearborn, what’s happening in this community is worth watching.
For more information, find Metromode on Facebook.