Tenth Monthly Milestone Message

How long does it take to bake a media pie, anyway?
Flyer for the July 26 Pie Lovers Unite event

Flyer for the July 25 Pie Lovers Unite! in Ypsilanti.

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.


  1. By Dave Askins
    July 2, 2009 at 8:33 am | permalink
  2. By Linda Diane Feldt
    July 2, 2009 at 9:08 am | permalink

    Perhaps you can also (in your abundant free time) create a pie chart showing the proportion of income from subscribers, advertisers, and other – which would motivate people to own a piece of this pie and SEND YOU A DONATION. You set it up so that we can send regular monthly donations, as well as larger one time “tips” to help support this important work. (Click on “subscribe” on the mast head.)
    I’m just guessing that a significant show of financial support over the next two months will make the upcoming year evaluation a bit easier as far as considering if this is a viable business model.

    I would encourage you to point out that option more bluntly in your monthly updates. Although, I believe some of your regular contributors are also willing to nudge our fellow readers. As I have now done, on my own initiative.

    We need to very actively support the media that delivers. If you appreciate the Chronicle, donate, suggest that people advertise, support the advertisers who are here, and set up links to the site. It is the least we can do!

  3. July 2, 2009 at 9:11 am | permalink

    This is a lovely metaphorical piece combined with solid information about news sources. What a pleasure to read! And yes, Kim is the high priestess of pies and I wouldn’t be without her Gramma Bayer’s Never-fail Pie Crust recipe.

  4. July 2, 2009 at 10:33 am | permalink

    Kim makes super pies/She likes pies like I like beer/I should make beer pie

  5. By Leah Gunn
    July 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm | permalink

    Okay Vivienne – send us all that “no fail pie crust” recipe. I am a total dunderhead when it comes to pie crust and must rely on the Pillsbury roll out dough in the red box, which, by the way, gets great compliments! :-)

    I agree with Linda Diane – send in a contribution, and Mary, please publicize more often how to do that.

    I am not going to miss the AA News- their latest stories are pathetic.

  6. July 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm | permalink

    It is in the January 23, 2008 post on thefarmersmarketer.com. I’ve sent the link to Mary Morgan.

    I use 1/2 lb of butter, 1/4 lb of lard (by weight) instead of the butter-Crisco mixture suggested. It makes 3 single pie crusts and freezes well. I freeze it in balls and thaw as needed.

  7. By Mary Morgan
    July 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm | permalink

    Here’s the link Vivienne (#3 & 6) mentioned: Gramma Bayer’s (Never-Fail) Pie Crust.

  8. July 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm | permalink

    I’ve been using this recipe for years — but never mentioning the lard .

  9. By Leah Gunn
    July 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm | permalink

    OK – I am going to give it a try, on the basis of Vivienne’s and Sabra’s comments. (Democratic women – hooray! – didn’t know we baked pies!)

  10. July 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm | permalink
  11. July 3, 2009 at 12:18 am | permalink

    Acorn pie, acorn pie,
    Everybody wants a piece of
    Acorn pie.

  12. July 3, 2009 at 9:14 am | permalink

    Thanks for the link on lard. I use it sparingly but unapologetically. I think Sparrow’s sells leaf lard but so far I’ve used the supermarket partially hydrogenated stuff. Can’t be worse than my old Crisco.

  13. By Tim Robinson
    July 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm | permalink

    Ann Arbor is like my mom’s pie crust: Many layers, a little flaky and always a delight. I

    I don’t have a recipe for the crust, though. I should get one.