Detroit media team up with Gilbert, Duggan to promote city ahead of big conference


Members of the Detroit media have joined forces with the people they cover to promote the city ahead of a major journalism conference.

The National Association of Black Journalists is expected to bring 3,000 members to Detroit when it holds its annual convention here in early August. A promotional video featuring local black media professionals and business leaders tells would-be attendees, "If you haven't been to Detroit lately, you don't know Detroit."

The video includes positive factoids about the city and shots of its downtown. Eventually, billionaire Dan Gilbert appears with a statement that could be construed as a dig at local media (or as a sign that he very badly wishes he could control the narrative surrounding the city).

"You gotta get out there and feel and touch and see not only the stories but the physical sites that are never talked about," Gilbert says. "I think you'll actually as journalists find a bunch of very interesting stories that no one is telling."

Gilbert shows up again later to highlight the job opportunities in Detroit.

"You see students who are excited about all of the technology businesses and jobs and action and activity in their own hometown and their ability to play a part in the comeback as well as their ability to work here."

Gilbert is known for his overly positive portrayals of the 79 percent black city, which has a median household income of about $26,000 and is still feeling the effects of the mortgage crisis to which his Quicken Loans reportedly contributed. Though Gilbert is Detroit's largest employer, fewer than a fourth of the jobs at his companies or the casino he part-owns go to city residents. Detroit was recently reported to have the lowest workforce participation rate in the nation.

But let's not let Gilbert's spin derail us. The NABJ convention runs from Aug. 1 through Aug. 4. It includes a career fair. More information is available here.

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