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    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

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    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

How to kill journalism

Reporters should crowdsource, tweet, shoot, SMS, live chat and — oh, yeah — report the news

The other day, I was sent a copy of a memo written by the bright, talented and hard-working managing editor of a group of weekly newspapers just outside the Detroit metro area.

The memo, "A Reporter with Today's Tools Should Use Them," was supposed to be a helpful guide to her reporters as to how to do their jobs better. But it actually is the single most stunning example I've ever seen of what is wrong with print journalism today.

First, it needs to be said is that the author, a young widow in her early 40s, is extremely earnest, well-intentioned and one of the hardest-working administrators I know; I was a writing coach for her newspapers when they had different ownership years ago.

Unfortunately, she now works for a division of the Journal-Register Company, which is to journalism what a Soviet slave labor camp was to the union movement. In the process, she seems to have lost sight completely of what journalism is supposed to be.

That's not surprising, given that part of her memo notes:

"Most of my 60-hour work week is spent editing copy, posting articles and photos online, assigning stories to staff and freelancers, engaging the audience on behalf of our publications via social media, keeping abreast of issues going on across the county, checking out new technology, processing press releases and reader-generated content, and administrative tasks such as tracking website traffic, managing my e-mail account, which brings in about 300 messages a day, reviewing and submitting payroll, employee reviews and processing stringer invoices."

Plus occasionally "filling in when we've been short-staffed to cover a government meeting or write some police briefs."

Her company is aggressively promoting the "digital future" of journalism, whatever that means. She has completely bought into the idea, and has trouble understanding why her staff hasn't.

"While I try to promote and model the approach that I would like my reporting staff to take in today's world, with social media and new technology at their disposal, part of me is torn in understanding why it's not being completely done the way I ask," she says plaintively.

Next, she spells out exactly what she wants.

Any time a reporter covers a story, she would ask:

• Did you crowdsource this topic so you could ask more relevant questions of local officials?

• Did you upload the City Council's agenda to our website using Scribd.com before the meeting and share it on social media so that readers would know that city leaders were considering raising their own salaries despite a general fund deficit?

• Did you "check in" to the meeting on social media and then Tweet and post on Facebook some of the discussion points during the meeting?

• Did you shoot video of local residents during the meeting protesting the decision, process it during the meeting, and post it on our website before the meeting ended?

• Did you post a paragraph on our website under Breaking News about the vote during the meeting and then write the full story after, post it online, and then push it out using social media, SMS text, or our breaking news alert via our e-newsletter subscriber list?

• Did you follow up on the issue by hosting a live chat the next day with local leaders and residents?

Now stop for a moment, and try to imagine Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting Watergate and being asked to do any of this. You can't even imagine anyone doing these things, except as a bad Saturday Night Live parody of the life of a multimedia reporter.

One woman named Martha who read this on the editor's blog asked two questions that were far more perceptive than anything in this pathetically ridiculous memo. Her first was, "Is a reporter going to spend literally days covering one event?"

The answer is, no way in hell. The weekly sweatshops that are Journal-Register newspapers expect reporters to cover dozens of events a week. Another reader named Beverly also gets it:

"If you are going to devote this much time and expertise to one story how are you going to cover the dozens of other stories that have the audacity to occur on the same day? Your method seems perfect for ... an encyclopedia. But in a metropolis ... it would be unwise to spend that much time bowing to electronic gadgetry."

Bingo.

What our poor, overworked, underpaid, technology-crazed editor has completely forgotten is the purpose of journalism. Which is, to make sense of a bewildering array of events for people.

We're supposed to give them a manageable digest of events — national, state and local, plus some good reading and useful information. Nobody wants to read a whole goddamn city council agenda. Nobody human wants to look at video of residents at a city council meeting, except those who care enough to go.

The multimedia approach this editor suggests for her local village council meeting would be entirely appropriate if Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and Vladimir Lenin showed up and began raising the dead, while simultaneously walking a tightrope backwards.

Otherwise, no.

What is most ironic is that by driving their reporters to do this nonsense, editors like this woman are helping put their own papers out of business. Let's give the last word to blog reader Martha:

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