The January issue of Downtown you now hold in your hands represents a special milestone for those of us at the Downtown Publications office in Birmingham. This edition marks the beginning of our sixth calendar year of operation as an independent publishing group, starting in 2010 with our first edition of Downtown Birmingham/Bloomfield. Not bad for a product in an industry that, to say the least, is challenged. We would like to think that our success to this point is due in large part to the fact that we created a publication that was lacking in the communities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills – one that has been able to capture the interest of readers due to our editorial content and a monthly newsmagazine that has strong and growing support of local businesses, approximately 400 of whom use Downtown on some periodic basis to get their message out to local residents. Certainly the fact that some of us live here and have extensive knowledge of the communities helps with the high standard we have set for the content of Downtown, which is what matters most in our book. Yes, I recognize that a few publications had existed prior to our arrival on the scene, but I submit that none offered the commitment to editorial quality that we have made to these special communities, nor the strong local focus of our content. And, yes, we are acutely aware that other competitors – imitators, to put it kindly – have attempted to challenge our position in the community. While we certainly take all competition seriously, we also think the residents of the Birmingham/Bloomfield area, based on phone calls and e-mails we have received and chance personal encounters, are a discerning lot, recognizing flash without substance when they see it, and they remain loyal to what has become the dominant source of news and advertising information – Downtown. Our editorial mission for Downtown newsmagazine is simple: provide a solid editorial product each month that both captures life in the Birmingham/Bloomfield communities while at the same time offer up insight about developing trends or important issues through long-form journalism features, an art form of sorts that most other publications here and across the nation have abandoned because of the time and expense involved in exploring in more detail critical issues facing local residents. In case you are new to our publication, or are not a regular reader of this column, we capture life in the local area through our coverage each month of important decisions by the government bodies you elect to conduct your public business, be they municipalities or school districts. We also provide capsulized notes each month on what is happening in the local business community. Along with that, we offer personality profile features of those either living in this area or who have hailed from Birmingham/Bloomfield and have accomplished something of note or made a special contribution to the community at-large. We also offer the most detailed chronicle of what is happening in the non-profit social scene in the region because of the heavy involvement of local residents either through their donations of time and/or money. Further, we provide a guide to eating out each month and our critical view of new and in some cases established restaurants, recognizing that our followers have educated palates and an acute interest in this part of the entertainment scene. We also feel strongly that any publication has a responsibility to assume a leadership position and offer its opinions on important issues facing the local communities, which we do each month at the back of Downtown in our Endnote page. No, we don’t expect everyone to agree with our editorial opinions on these issues. We offer them because we think we are especially qualified to help parse the issues due to our decades of experience in following and reporting on local government, while at the same time realizing that we are just one voice in the community. We hold a traditional view of our responsibility as a publication to serve as an unbiased provider of information in our news columns as part of our government watchdog role, but we also think it important to comment in the Endnote page when we feel debate needs to take place. Beyond our monthly newsmagazine, we provide weekly updates on government news through our website at downtownpublications.com, which draws on average over 50,000 visitors each month. You can also find us on Facebook (facebook.com/downtownpublications) and Twitter (twitter.com/downtownpubs). We provide a complete package of information through a variety of avenues, remain involved in the local communities, and take very seriously our role as a provider of information to local residents who in kind have shown their strong allegiance. For that we remain thankful as we look forward to continuing to bring our Downtown newsmagazine to the Birmingham/Bloomfield community.
David Hohendorf Publisher DavidHohendorf@downtownpublications.com