Saturday, September, 10th 2005, I worked a booth at The Dally in the Alley. From
11am till 11pm I talked to thousands of Detroiters from all walks of life, young,
old, black, white, readers, writers, moviegoers, and music lovers. There were
three stages with live music ranging from Punk to Jazz. Dozens of vendors showcased
the best clothing and artwork our city had to offer. The food vendors sold ribs,
gyros, chili cheese fries, smoothies and beer. By the time I got to bed that night
I was spent, but yet somehow I was still filled with an unnatural energy that
could have only come from the people that attended The Dally in the Alley.
The next morning as I walked my dog to the coffee shop I still had a little
of that energy left, a spring in my step if you will. I started getting a little
excited about the Sunday paper. I was sure The Dally in the Alley was front page
news or at the very least a feature on the local news section. When I got to the
coffee shop, got a coffee and the paper I could barely contain my excitement.
So right at the register I started scanning through the paper. The front page
didn't have the story I was looking for. The local news section didn't have it
either. Even the Entertainment section had no mention of The Dally. Needless to
say, I was pissed.
I immediately ripped out the part of the paper with all
The Detroit Free Press editors emails. I emailed them all. This is what my email
YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.
I can't believe
it. I had a booth at THE DALLY IN THE ALLEY on Saturday and worked a fifteen hour
day promoting and selling my local Detroit business. The morning I woke up filled
with pride because the city I live in had an event with thousands of guests. So
I went out and bought the Sunday paper and wouldn't you know it there wasn't one
article on THE DALLY IN THE ALLEY. No mention of it on the front page, back page
or even hidden in the paper with the most mundane news that no one ever reads.
Why is it the free press or the detroit news (I put the papers titles in lower
case hoping they would recognize my disrespect) can not or will not support great
events in our city. I have read better coverage of Detroit in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Even our weekly free circulars like the METRO TIMES, REAL DETROIT WEEKLY and THE
RECORD seem to be able to give better coverage of our great city amongst there
porn ads. I am sickened by this poor news coverage and finally am faced to abandon
my support of the free press or the detroit news.
I would appreciate
responses from all of the editors at the free press to the obvious disinterest
in our city.
I would say "Thank you" but you don't deserve
Eric C. Novack
A few hours later
I was surprised and pleased to receive a response from a Free Press editor, until
I read it that is.
I'm sorry. I'm not familiar with the
event. Until the Free Press takes over the Sunday paper, in February, news coverage
of Saturday events is handled by the Detroit News. Have you corresponded with
I'll check in to it. I'm new to town so I ask you to understand that I'm not familiar
with the event.
this point I think I snapped. Not only did this wonderful event happen in our
city, my city, not get covered by one of our papers, the "editors" had
never even heard of it. The Dally in the Alley has been going on for years. Decades
actually. After I calmed down, I emailed Dave back and thanked him. He emailed
me again later and suggested I contact the other editors about the coverage or
lack there of
. Well I did, I contacted the other thirty the same time I
contacted Dave. At least he got back to me. He stepped up to the plate. He didn't
shuffle the blame around or ignore me all together. He might be new in town, but
he already has proven to be a true Detroiter, which I appreciate.
lunch time my thirst for local media had not subsided. So I started calling the
local television stations to ask why they didn't cover The Dally in the Alley.
First I called Fox 2 news. Once I introduced myself and told them the reason I
was calling I was connected to Debra Lawson, the news information manager. She
was unavailable so I left a message. I called again a little while later. Same
thing. So I called again and again. Finally I got her on the phone. But Debra
didn't seem to be that well informed about the news, so she had me connected to
L. Johnson the planning manager, but he wasn't in. Instead I talked to Dean. I
told Dean why I was calling. He said "Hold on" then a minute
later said "We don't have a comment at this time."
7 action news gave me pretty much the same kind of grief, until I got the planning
editor Rod Liggons on the phone. The conversation went like this.
what?" That's Rod
"The Dally in the Alley." That's
"I never heard of it."
it is a local event in midtown that has been going on for some twenty odd years.
They got three stages with live music all day and a lot of local vendors selling
there products. You should go next year."
"What was the
name of it again?"
You get the idea. I felt more like a PR person
for The Dally instead of a reporter asking why Channel 7 dropped the ball. Anyway,
Rod said The Dally in the Alley was never discussed in their morning meeting and
they never received any press releases on it. I guess you need to get a press
release to know what is going on in the city that you cover. (Unless someone gets
shot in the city. Press release or not, the news always manages to find out about
That brings us to Channel 4, local news. Ah, the best for last.
This was my conversation with the local 4 representative I talked to. (I've omitted
her name here.)
"Hi this is Eric C. Novack from thedetroiter.com.
I was wondering why local 4 didn't cover The Dally in the Alley this past Saturday?"
"The Dally in the Alley?"
few minutes later.
is Eric Novack from thedetroiter.com. I was
they send out a press release?"
"Um, I don't know. Should
"Well if we didn't get a press release then
we wouldn't cover it?"
"Ok and your name is?"
garbled her name.
"Great. How do you spell that?"
Is this for a story?"
don't want to be quoted in a story. My managers wouldn't appreciate that."
I'd put this story together, the Detroit News managed to reprieve itself somewhat.
Here's the email:
Dave Butler passed your
note on to me about our lack of coverage in the Sunday paper on the festival.
We did write a story and run a complete listing of the event's schedule
in our Friday Weekend Guide, advancing the event. There are many of these events
this time of the year and we can't cover them all, unfortunately. We try to be
fair and make sure we at least give advance coverage to an event even if we don't
send a reporter to attend. We've covered Alley in years past.
doesn't mean we are ignoring the City. In fact, our Sunday Metro section did have
coverage of a new event this year in downtown Detroit - the Red
Thanks for your note.
All I can say about that is maybe the Red Bull
folks did a better job of sending out a press release than those behind the Dally.
Of course, being around 28 years, maybe they thought Detroit journalists would
know about them. Somehow all the attendees showed up.
In the end maybe
The Dally in the Alley is not newsworthy. Maybe thousands of Detroiters with different
views and different cultures, hanging out together, having a grand old time is
not what the local media wants to cover in Detroit. But to me The Dally in the
Alley on Saturday, September 10, 2005 will always be front page news. And as for
the local news, shame on you, SHAME ON YOU.
For info on Dally in the
Alley, please click here.
Novack is the author of "Killing
Molly," founder of Elitist
Publications, and thedetroiter.com