I’ve been thinking about pies.
Literally, in one case. A couple of weeks ago I stopped by the local food tent at Top of the Park and talked to Kim Bayer, one of the organizers of Pie Lovers Unite! – “an old-fashioned hootenanny glorifying Great Michigan Pie,” according to their promotional materials.
The price of admission for this July 25 event is a pie. They’ll be having a “pie-ku” contest, too, which inspired me to write this:
Flakey double crust/hides media fruit or meat/splats soft in your face
This is the month for a seismic shift in how many Ann Arbor residents get their news. The Ann Arbor News is closing on July 23 and AnnArbor.com will launch that same week, with a twice-a-week print edition on Sundays and Thursdays, starting July 26. Heritage Newspapers – a chain that publishes weeklies in Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and Milan – is coming to the table even sooner, debuting its print weekly A2Journal on July 9. It’s interesting that the company is expanding, given that the chain’s owner, the Journal Register Co., is emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Clearly, they think they can grab enough of the Ann Arbor media pie to fill their belly.
In addition to the new players, there are existing publications like the Michigan Daily, Ann Arbor Observer, Current and Ann Arbor Business Review, radio coverage from shows with a local focus by Lucy Ann Lance, WEMU and Michigan Radio and others, plus blogs that post with varying degrees of frequency and original content. For a town that felt starved for coverage not so long ago, Ann Arbor residents in some ways now face a glut of news, though not necessarily served up in the way they’d prefer.
The Ann Arbor Chronicle is in the mix too, of course, and as we mark our 10th month in business today, I’m marveling at how much has changed since Sept. 2, 2008. In another 10 months, the seating arrangement for this media feast will have changed yet again, I’m sure.
So all of this got me thinking about pies. Thinking of Ann Arbor as one big pie of readers and advertisers, with each news outlet trying to grab a big enough slice. At some point, there might not be enough to go around.
Or you can shift the analogy a bit and think of each news source as its own pie. Some are mincemeat – hearty but not to everyone’s taste. There are super-sugary custard pies, and pies filled with fruit. Some have stale crust, while others haven’t been cooked quite long enough. Some have mystery fillings that you can’t yet eat – but we’re assured they’ll be delicious. Maybe with enough to sample from, everyone will find one – hopefully more – that they like.
By our next monthly milestone, we’ll have more to report about several initiatives that are still in the oven. Meanwhile, we hope your appetite for The Chronicle stays healthy.