In recent years, numerous media outlets have focused on the troubles of Detroit. Photo essays of now abandoned but once glorious buildings have become normal.
There is one grassroots news organization that is now pushing back against these more bleak images. VICE/VBS.TV explains their approach:
In August 2009, Vice published a story called “Something, something, something, Detroit: Lazy journalists love pictures of abandoned stuff,” about the roving gangs of photojournalists prowling the empty city and feasting on its highly photogenic carcass. Since then, some of the worst offenders have abashedly changed their approach to covering Michigan’s largest city. But most outlets are still fixated on the all-you-can-click pageview buffet that is “misery porn” of the decaying Motor City…
The fact of the matter is that the situation in Detroit is daunting. The city that so successfully realized the 1950s American dream is now a visual testament to its grandiose demise. But is that really news?
We like to think that the story is better told by identifying those who remain in Detroit and those who are moving back precisely because it is challenging. We set out to give the people of Detroit a platform to tell their story. The city has become a place where enterprising classes can find the space and time to do whatever they want, cheaply and hassle-free. It’s a raw space where they can create community and start rebuilding their city from the inside out.
I’ll be curious to see how much attention their coverage generates. And the possible transformation/regeneration of Detroit will continue to be a fascinating story.