40 ways Metro Times changed Detroit (and beyond) over the past 40 years

click to enlarge 40 ways Metro Times changed Detroit (and beyond) over the past 40 years
MT archives

As Metro Times founders and former owners Ron Williams and Laura Markham once recalled, when they set out to create an "alternative" weekly newspaper for Detroit in 1980 — one with an emphasis on art and culture, and also news — they were "armed with a business plan, a burning sense of idealism, a boundless sense of naïveté, and about $5,000." That was in spite of the fact that at the time Detroit was experiencing a terrible economic downturn, and the fact that other "more talented and better-funded enterprises," as they said, had also tried and failed to enter the Motor City's media market. Indeed, many of our other fellow so-called "alt-weeklies" across the county have since folded as well — but four decades later we're still somehow alive and kicking. As a scrappy weekly, we may not always be first, or best, or even 100% right (though dammit, we do try), but we don't think it's any exaggeration to say that Detroit wouldn't be the same without MT. For our final issue of the year marking our 40th anniversary, we dug into the archives to look back on 40 years of influential stories. —Lee DeVito

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