This January issue of Downtown marks the start of the ninth year of publication of the news magazine – quite a milestone in an industry that has, at best, been challenged for the last two decades.
I would like to think that our success to date has a great deal to do with the effort we invest in trying to bring readers of Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills a quality editorial product each month.
Creating such a product was one of our major goals when we first launched in 2010 – to fill a void I felt existed at the time, in terms of a print product that could capture the interest of local residents by providing solid editorial content. Several hundred businesses from the local communities recognized our efforts and rewarded us with their support by periodically using our newsmagazine to get their message out to the local communities, which has allowed us to become the dominant advertising outlet and news source for this area.
I recognize that there were a few publications in the market, both then and now, but I submit none offered the commitment to editorial quality that we have made to these special communities, nor the strong local focus of our content.
Certainly the fact that some of us have lived 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.
When Downtown first arrived in residents’ homes, we outlined a simple editorial mission for the newsmagazine: provide a solid editorial product each month that both captures life in the Birmingham and Bloomfield communities while at the same time offer up insight about developing trends or important issues through longform 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.
For those of us at Downtown newsmagazine, the longform approach to important issues has taken us – and our readers – on quite a journey, allowing us to explore topics off the beaten path, many times critical concerns that have not been addressed by other media outlets.
In terms of capturing life in the local area, for those new to the newsmagazine or not a regular reader of this column, we accomplish this 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.
We also believe that any legitimate publication has an obligation to use its editorial muscle, if you will, to help lobby and set the public agenda through editorial opinion and commentary. So we attempt each month to reflect on key local issues and offer our opinions in the Endnote page at the back of each issue. We think that we are particularly qualified to offer our commentary because we are dealing with these issues on a daily basis and, in come cases, have been for decades, which gives us a basis from which to make recommendations.
This column, most months, offers up my personal editorial viewpoint on a wide range of issues, based on over four decades of study and observation of government and politics in Oakland County and the state of Michigan.
Not everyone agrees with us, of course, be it the opinions we put forth in the Endnote section or in this opinion column space. But we think that also fits with the mission we established years ago – fostering public debate on issues. We encourage residents to write us and disagree, if that is the case, and we willingly publish those viewpoints in our Incoming section, which is the traditional “letters to the editor” section.
Aside from the monthly print product, we reach out to the community through Facebook (facebook.com/downtownpublications) and Twitter (twitter.com/downtownpubs), and through our website – downtownpublications.com – which is updated a couple of times – and sometimes more often – each week. We generally average 80,000 monthly visitors to our site.
So looking back on the past years, we think we have held true to our mission and look forward to bringing our readers future issues of Downtown newsmagazine.
As always, feel free to email with any suggestions as we go through the new year.