Posted on | October 20, 2012 | No Comments
Since our public media project Changing Gears concluded in May, I’ve been spending time as a “solo entrepreneur,” as my friend Tess Vigeland calls it. You might also call me a visiting professor, a blogger, and a daily columnist. Here’s where you can find me — and what’s coming up.
Forbes: visit my regular blog, Voyages, and sign up for daily or weekly updates. I’m writing stories about reinventing American communities, about the automobile industry, sports and food topics.
Jalopnik: each morning through Christmas, I’m writing The Morning Shift. It’s Jalopnik’s first daily post on late breaking auto news, with some of my commentary mixed in.
The Atlantic Cities: I’m contributing regular pieces on urban topics across the United States, Canada and some international perspective, too.
The New York Times: you’ll find an archive of my stories here plus fresh reports on sports and other subjects.
Gadling: This summer, I took a 4,000-mile road trip on The Southern Road for Gadling, the travel narrative Web site that’s hosted by AOL.com, visiting the new car plants built by foreign companies, and taking a look at their communities and food. I’m going to be doing more work for Gadling in coming months. Continue reading “What I’m Up To These Days: Solo Entrepreneur!” »
Posted on | June 12, 2012 | No Comments
Beginning this week, I’m writing The Morning Shift, the daily news round up at Jalopnik.com. Stop by every day around 9:00 a.m. ET and check out the stories you need to know about the auto industry and the economy. We’ll keep it lively and fun.
Posted on | January 3, 2012 | No Comments
Beginning today, I’m adding a blog at Forbes.com to my portfolio. It’s called Voyages, and it’s meant to help you sort out what you need to know about the auto industry.
Voyages will help you put the automobile industry in a context that you understand. I’ll give you useful information about cars, car shopping, the auto companies, and the people who run them. We’ll explore the latest auto sales trends, environmental issues, and look at how cars fit into your daily lives – or not. I’m especially interested in alternatives to automobiles, and how the importance of cars and trucks is changing.
Posted on | December 24, 2011 | No Comments
Fall is over, Christmas is upon us, and it’s time for a breather. But before the year comes to a close, here’s a look at my recent appearances and stories.
In late December, I talked to Minnesota Public Radio about the closing of Ford’s St. Paul truck plant. Ford built vehicles in St. Paul for 89 years, and the St. Paul plant escaped closure time and again. But Ford is consolidating much of its business, focusing primarily on Michigan, Ohio and Ontario (with plants still in Kentucky and Missouri).
I also had a little fun in Atlantic Cities with a story about my home town, Ann Arbor, Mich. Citizens are in a polite uproar over a recently implemented pedestrian ordinance. The city council is at work to come up with a revision of the ordinance, which has strained nerves, caused car crashes and resulted in tickets.
I recently became a contributing writer to Atlantic Cities, and I’m looking forward to more reports on urban America. You can read all my Atlantic Cities stories here.
Stay tuned for some news about another writing project. In the meantime, wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Posted on | November 16, 2011 | No Comments
I spent a lot of my professional career covering things related to Detroit. For the past two years, I’ve been in Chicago. It’s amazing how much the cities have in common — they were both built on manufacturing, even though Chicago always seems far more glamorous.
Now, they’re both dealing with huge problems. Detroit now looks like it could wind up in default by next summer. It might end up under the supervision of an emergency manager. Chicago is facing a $635 million budget deficit, which people here say is the 12th year in a row it’s run in the red.
On Wednesday, the city’s two mayors saw developments related to their crises. In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing asked for $40 million in union concessions, said he wants to raise the corporate tax, and proposed a series of other steps.
“City government is broken,” he said in an early evening speech.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel got a big political victory. Aldermen voted 50-0 to approve his budget, which has fee increases, service cuts and all sorts of changes from Chicago’s status quo. There was immediately concern that city council might be giving Emanuel the same rubber stamp that it used to give his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, although Daley was losing popularity just before he left office in May.
Posted on | November 12, 2011 | No Comments
I recently got back from a long weekend in New Orleans. You can read about my food adventures on our sister blog CulinaryWoman.com. But I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about the city in general.
My family has been visiting New Orleans for years. My brother Frank lived there for a couple of years when he worked in radio, and we all love the city’s architecture, music, and of course, its food. It’s one of those cities that is permanently mapped in my head. New Orleans is among a handful like London and Paris and Tokyo and Toronto where I’d happily go live. Continue reading “A Trip To New Orleans, Finally, After Katrina” »
Posted on | November 6, 2011 | No Comments
The city has a budget deficit of $637 million, and Emanuel is trying to get Chicago’s city council to approve a full slate of reforms. He’s had to give up for now on one of his signature demands: a longer school day for Chicago’s school children, who have the shortest school day of any big city in the Midwest.
I wrote about the new mayor and the city’s problems recently for The Atlantic Monthly’s new AtlanticCITIES page, and I’ll be keeping track of him as he tackles his wishlist.
Here’s my story. What do you think of Mayor Emanuel thus far?
Posted on | May 28, 2011 | No Comments
Should the federal government have bailed out General Motors and Chrysler? Some might say yes, especially now that the two companies have repaid the loan portions of their federal bailout.
Last week, Chrysler paid back the money it borrowed two years ago from the United States and Canada. Or more accurately, it refinanced the loans at lower rates than the interest of up to 20% that it was paying them.
My sense is that the bailout was as much a political decision as an economic one. Unions backed President Obama during the election campaign. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and other states with GM and Chrysler plants gave the president a lot of votes. It is industrial policy of a sort, and the full implications have yet to be truly understood.
So let me ask you: would you have bailed out the companies? Why, or why not?
Posted on | November 14, 2010 | Comments Off
The Selling of the American Economy was published a year ago last month, and what a great year it’s been. I’ve gotten to talk to audiences everywhere from Dartmouth to Detroit, Chicago to Columbia University. You’ve emailed, written, stopped me in restaurants, and kindly shared your thoughts. THANK YOU.
Now, do me a favor: please extend that same interest to Changing Gears. It’s our public media project looking at the reinvention of the industrial Midwest. You can find us on Michigan Radio WBEZ in Chicago and ideastream in Cleveland.
Come to ChangingGears.info.
“Like” us on Facebook.
Become a follower on Twitter @ChGears
Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.
And let us know your thoughts for story ideas, people to interview, events we should know about. In January, the podcast will re-launch in a weekly format. We can’t wait to get you involved.
Posted on | June 26, 2010 | Comments Off
On June 21, I began a new chapter as the senior editor of the Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center, a multi-media project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But you’ll be hearing about us — literally — as Changing Gears: Reinventing the Manufacturing Belt.
For the next few years, Changing Gears will take an in-depth look at ways to revive the Great Lakes region, everywhere from Duluth to Buffalo. Our sponsors are Chicago Public Radio, where I’ll soon be based, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland. Read more about Changing Gears here and I’ll be back soon with updates.keep looking »