Tag Archives: Detroit Revitalization Fellows

Detroit Revitalization Fellows launch 8 Weeks Under 8 Mile

I’ve been working with the Detroit Revitalization Fellows the past few weeks, helping them to launch a project blog called 8 Weeks Under 8 Mile: Buying local in Detroit.

8 weeks under 8 mile8 Weeks Under 8 Mile is an experiment to understand what happens when you redirect your spending exclusively toward Detroit businesses.

8W/8M aims to enhance personal, regional, and national awareness of the benefits and opportunities for buying local while promoting the great retail that presently exists in Detroit. This concentrated effort by the 8 Milers (challenge participants) aims to intensify personal interaction with local businesses and document Detroit retail opportunities.

Michael Forsyth Erin Kelly

Michael Forsyth and Erin Kelly are the two Fellows who are doing most of the heavy lifting on the project.

Detroit Revitalization Fellows blog site launches

It was way back in September, 2011 when I had a celebratory lunch in St. Paul with my colleagues, Curt Johnson and Jay Walljasper. We’d been given the go-ahead by the Kresge Foundation on our proposal to assist the Detroit Fellows “in the effective use of telling their stories and sharing their experiences through blogs, Twitter, social media, articles, personal essays, op-eds, video scripts, spoken presentations, and other media.”

That’s quite a laundry list but the basic idea is a simple one: use media of all kinds to give the work of the Fellows as much impact as possible.

Detroit Fellows
We now have the website up for the Detroit Fellows project. I’ve been working closely with one of the Fellows, Eric Anderson, on the creation of the site.

The site has a Fellows group blog where they’ve started blogging and where Jay has published some of his Fellows’ profiles. We also have our own Citiscope/Detroit Fellows blog where Curt, Jay and I now have our initial blog posts up.

My job is to offer coaching to those Fellows interested in using social media tools as a way to leverage their leadership.  We’ll focus mainly on blogs and Twitter.

I’ve been speaking to each of the Fellows by phone in the past couple of weeks to introduce myself, learn more about their work, and give them a quick overview about the kinds of things my coaching would involve.  I hope to start working with a small group in April.

I’ve been coaching leaders in the use of blogs and other online tools since 2003, but this will be the first time I’ve taken on a group of community leaders.  I’m looking forward to it.

A new project with the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program

Curt Johnson, Jay Walljasper, Griff Wigley

I got together with Curtis Johnson and Jay Walljasper for lunch at Muffuletta’s in St. Paul last week. I spent much of the 90s at Utne Reader when Jay was editor and I was the new media guy. I’ve been doing blog-related projects for Curt and his Citistates colleagues since 2004, where Jay is one of the associates.

The occasion? We’ll be working together with the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program at Wayne St. University, funded in part by the Kresge Foundation.  The program is:

… designed to attract, develop and retain promising young professionals who will help lead the economic revitalization and development of Detroit. This talent pool is being cultivated in order to build the capacity of public, for-profit, nonprofit and quasi-public organizations, including Detroit’s anchor institutions.

We’re doing this project under the Citiscope umbrella, a Citistates Group project. I’ll provide more details in the next few weeks as our work gets going.