Tonight’s episode of the Saturday Six Pack will be in four parts.
During our first segment, we’ll have on Cassandra Sheriff and Karla Graessley to discuss the recent announcement that Ypsilanti Community Schools, building on the successes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) middle school and high school, will be opening an IB elementary school. [Graessley is the director of elementary education for Ypsilanti Community Schools, and Sheriff, it’s been announced, will be the principal of the new school.] For those of you who, after our interview, want more information, there’s going to be a public meeting the evening of March 15 at Cultivate Coffee and Tap House.
Then, during our second segment, we’ll be calling independent, Detroit-based investigative journalist Steve Neavling. For those of you unfamiliar Neavling’s Motor City Muckraker website, here’s a clip from a recent piece by Patrick Dunn in Metromode about our region’s best independent journalists.
…Neavling pursued other avenues in reporting after being cut loose by one of Detroit’s journalistic institutions. The Detroit Free Press fired Neavling from his reporter job in 2012 after then-Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh complained about Neavling’s decision to print a dismissive remark Pugh had made to him during a break from a council meeting. Neavling started the Muckraker two months later as a way to continue reporting until he found a new job. But he says he was thrilled with the new freedom he had found.
“I can’t emphasize enough how liberating it is to be able to write about what I find important by living in Detroit, versus editors from the suburbs telling me what they think are the most important issues in Detroit,” he says.
Neavling has been fascinated by the power of journalists to expose corruption and mismanagement since he took a job at a rural weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania, his home state, after he graduated college with a philosophy degree. He moved to Michigan in 2001 and has spent the past 10 years in Detroit. He and Muckraker publisher Abigail Shah now live in a 500-square-foot apartment in what Neavling describes as “a relatively dangerous part of the Cass Corridor.” In addition to their work on Muckraker, Shah works three jobs and Neavling works part-time writing for a law enforcement news website. Neavling’s currently planning a crowdfunding campaign to hire a business manager to develop strategies for monetizing the site. He’s also exploring grant funding opportunities.
Neavling says he doesn’t see a bright future for the mainstream local media. He cites the way the Flint water crisis came to light as the latest example of traditional outlets serving as “mouthpieces” to elected officials rather than watchdogs. But he says independent journalists have the advantage of aggressive reporting and a dogged commitment to their work. He believes that a collaborative mindset can help them succeed where a competitive mentality has caused traditional local outlets to falter…
[above: Photo of Neavling courtesy Doug Coombe.]
And, during our third segment, we’ll be joined in the studio by Tori Tomalia, the co-founder of the improv comedy space Pointless Brewery & Theatre. In addition to just catching up on how things have been going at Pointless since we last spoke with her, I imagine we’ll also be talking with Tomalia about her upcoming 40th birthday, and how she plans to mark it by hosting an event to raise money for research into the rare cancer subtype that she has. The event, if you’re interested in attending, is called Laughing at Cancer, and it’s going to take place at Pointless on March 19.
And, finally, during out fourth segment, we’ll be talking with Cara Talaska and Teresa Gillotti about their awesome new campaign to get a playground back in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park. Here, if you’re unfamiliar with the campaign, is a video taken during a recent public meeting.
And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and distribute them in outside the Governor’s Ann Arbor condo.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER TUNED IN TO THE SIX PACK BEFORE, HERE ARE THE DETAILS ON HOW TO LISTEN:
Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of TuneIn.com.
And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes.
One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.
And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please copy down this number and slide it into your sock… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.