Jeff Meyers is the managing editor of Concentrate and it's sister publication, Metromode. He is also a film critic for Detroit's Metro Times.
Before moving to Michigan in 2003, Jeff was the Creative Director for StageDirect, an Internet start-up out of Portland, OR and freelance writer. Before that he spent 11 years working as a microbiologist. Jeff lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Arden and two sons, Nate and Sam.
Everyone has their narrative. Magazines, talk shows, cable news networks, elected officials. Everyone tells the story they think needs to be told.
To GQ, men's fashion is all that really matters. For Rolling Stone and Spin, music and pop culture are king. Watch ten minutes of The Food Channel and it's pretty clear what narrative their committed to.
Even your Mom has her own narrative. (Ask her to recount a fight she had with you when you were a teen and see how different two narratives can be.)
So what is Michigan's narrative?
To read the daily papers or listen to the radio or watch local TV it's crime and job loss and home foreclosures. And, yes, those are a big part of our story. Today.
But it's not the only story.
And it's not the story Concentrate is interested in telling. We figure those topics are pretty well covered.
Instead, we're interested in talking about where things are going and who will get us there. We want to put the focus on the people, policies and ideas that'll shape our region's future.
Just as the Weather Channel believes weather matters, Concentrate believes place matters.
And so our narrative is focused on how the Ann Arbor area is evolving in terms of entrepreneurship, smart urban growth, high-tech innovation, leadership and culture.
And while we certainly write about specific people and companies, their individual successes aren't as important to us as the ripples their ideas and efforts make --what they represent and what they say about the direction of our community.
See, it's not really about writing "positive" news stories. It's about reporting substantively on issues that move our region forward. What are the industries that will keep our economy healthy and vital? What are the innovations that will evolve the way we work, live and grow? What are the quality of life policies that will attract new generations to our community and encourage them to stay?
Sometimes it means Concentrate will write about a small nanotech company's growth. Sometimes it means we'll define the challenges to developing sound mass transit. Or even debunking arguments against it.
From green building to alternative energy to building a creative class, we want to focus on the solutions that not only make Washtenaw County better today but lay the groundwork for a better tomorrow.
As a transplant from the Pacific-Northwest, many of these topics are near and dear to my heart. It's been fascinating and exciting for me to watch Michigan discuss, experiment with, and improve upon policies and lifestyles I accepted as the norm in Seattle and Portland ...and evolve standards and practices both those cities still struggle to nurture (higher education and tech transfer immediately come to mind). I can't tell you how much I look forward to being a part of this conversation -reporting on and learning about the community I now call home.
I not only hope you'll continue reading, but also feel encouraged to tell Concentrate about the neighbors you know, companies you do business with and initiatives you support that are innovating our community, economy and environment.
Paul Schutt is the co-founder of Issue Media Group, a Detroit based media company that has created online magazines: Model D and metromode in Detroit, PopCity in Pittsburgh, Rapid Growth in Grand Rapids, Capital Gains in Lansing and Soapbox in Cincinnati.
In 2004, Paul sold the company he co-founded and led for 10 years, The Collective, an online marketing and web development firm that provided solutions to companies such as, Ford Motor Company, the U.S. Open, the SuperBowl, General Motors and many others.
Mr. Schutt also co-founded Cleveland based, Easy2 Technologies in 1999. He currently serves on many public and private sector advisory boards.
Paul is a native of Michigan and currently lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Megan and son Oliver.
Choosing to live in Michigan has been a subject that has caused a lot of tension for me.
The tension is…should I stay and be part of the next generation that is re-imagining and creating what’s next for Michigan, or should I leave and go to a place like NYC where I can plug into a scene that appears to be ready made for me?
I have decided to stay and be part of what’s next…
Issue Media Group creates weekly online magazines like Concentrate that changes the conversation about what is next.
Traditional media has made a business out of "loss" – unemployment, fire, murder and crime are all well covered.
Concentrate is making a business out of "growth" - growing companies, investments in our cities and the thought leaders that are creating an authentic sense of place.
Brian Boyle, Deepa Ramsinghani (my business partners) and I created a media company that hires journalists, photographers and filmmakers to help us raise the profile of the people and the stories behind what is next for the community.
If you are familiar with Fast Company magazine, you don’t read it to figure out who is going out of business. You read Fast Company to see what’s next in business. We are bringing that type of media coverage to the Ann Arbor area.
You don’t read us to find out who is going out of business– you read us to see what’s next.
I don’t want to discount the value of muckraking and the coverage of crime and scandal. This type of media coverage often brings transparency and results in positive change. But doom and gloom seems to be dominating the narrative for our communities.
The current narrative for Michigan doesn’t work for me, so I am working to change it.