Downtown newsmagazine has been providing residents of Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills a quality monthly publication for nearly a decade and, for the vast majority of local residents, the newsmagazine arrives in the mailbox for free. When we first launched Downtown newsmagazine, we laid out as our mission the long-standing principles of holding accountable our elected and appointed government leaders while at the same time building, through quality journalism, a community of informed citizens, which is the basis for democracy. It certainly helped to be writing for an audience with one of the highest education levels in the state of Michigan. Likewise, reaching our goal was made much easier because we assembled a small but experienced and passionate group of publishing professionals, all committed to producing an independent newsmagazine befitting an area that, as we like to say, has long defined the best of Oakland County with its vibrant businesses, top-notch schools, professionally run municipalities, community spirit and sense of refinement. We are innovators producing products that go well beyond what others offer. Downtown newsmagazine captures life in the local communities through coverage of major municipal and school issues, political gossip, personality profiles, the latest news from the business community and the all important society non-profit circuit. We also devote considerable effort each month to addressing major issues facing local residents through our longform storytelling efforts, a lost art in our industry. Aside from our monthly newsmagazine, we post regularly to our website (downtownpublications.com) and we send out a Weekly News Update newsletter every Friday along with special email alerts when there is breaking news of interest. Twice during the month we also send out our political gossip newsletter (Oakland Confidential) and each month we also send our restaurant news column (Metro Intelligencer). Each Monday, we send out Society Notebook, our coverage of the non-profit society circuit. And during the pandemic, we launched The COVID-19 Diary, a weekday curation of articles from over a couple of dozen publications, to keep local residents up-to-date on the crisis we are all facing, If you are not among the several thousand recipients of our online newsletter efforts, you can sign up at no charge on our website. As for the past decade of producing Downtown newsmagazine, when I first starting knocking on doors of advertisers in advance of our launch, I found great support as I laid out my plans to provide a product that was lacking in this part of the county. Based on constant feedback since then from residents and businesses, I think we have fulfilled that promise. The support from the business community – often 50-70 advertisers per issue – has allowed us to produce a quality newsmagazine and deliver it to many of your homes at no charge. But the business community is constantly being challenged from events well beyond its control, be it the Great Recession, road reconstruction in the downtown Birmingham community (twice in two years) and now the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. We started strong 10 years ago and have remained strong. But to continue offering our products at no charge, and continue to grow in terms of what we want to offer to readers, we cannot simply ask more from the business community. So we are turning to local residents for community support in the form of donations through a membership campaign.
If you visit our website (downtownpublications.com), you will see a banner that will take you to our patron/membership donation page. Any size donation, no matter how small, is appreciated. But we have created specific tiers of support, some of which come with perks in return. All donors will be acknowledged by name (unless you prefer to donate anonymously) on a Supporters Page on our website for the next year and every six months in a printed edition of Downtown newsmagazine. Support on all levels is essential to our long-term success and growth. We thank you in advance for your support of our effort to bring you quality local journalism each month. We think that what we do has become even more critical for the well-being of local residents. OUR CURRENT ISSUE: You are receiving this issue a couple of weeks later than normal as we grapple with the coronavirus situation, like all local businesses and households. Over the course of the next several issues we will slowly return to a more normalized publishing schedule. Come this fall, we will have worked ourselves back to mailing issues at the start of each month. Readers will also note that a couple of popular features we normally present do not appear in this delayed May issue. For starters, the Crime Map that usually graces the early pages of each issue will return with our June issue as we and local police departments coordinate our schedules so you can see what is happening on the public safety front in the local communities. Likewise, the regular monthly news and gossip column on the restaurant scene – Metro Intelligencer – will resume when dining establishments are allowed to reopen from the lockdown. This issue, Metro Intelligencer provides a list of local restaurants offering carry-out service during the stay-at-home lockdown. The same applies to Society Notebook, our overage of the all important society events in the non-profit world. Reporter Gigi Nichols looks forward to the day that it is safe to hold public gatherings that benefit the many non-profit groups that help underwrite the safety net for the metro Detroit area. Beginning with the June issue, noted photographer Laurie Tennent (Laurie Tennent Studios) will be returning to our ranks to continue capturing local personalities in our monthly Faces profile features. OUR JULY ISSUE: As probably the only publication in the county to still offer detailed policy positions from those running for office, we are already ramping up to present in our mid-month July issue our Voter Guide for the August primary elections, just in time to capture absentee ballot voters. We have already reached out to nearly three dozen candidates who have filed for offices affecting the Birmingham/Bloomfield area. We anticipate an approximate 40-page or larger Voter Guide as part of the July issue. Until our next issue, stay safe. David Hohendorf Publisher DavidHohendorf@DowntownPublications.com