“Not all that long ago, Detroit was one of the richest places in the country, the citadel of the auto age, the ‘arsenal of democracy,’ the nexus of technology and innovation. Today it struggles for its life…Our challenge is to bring a sense of surprise, discovery, enlightenment, horror, joy, inspiration and fun to the reality of Detroit. And that reality is that Detroit, like all other cities, is human. Beneath the statistics and the headlines, people live there. They struggle with profound change, they fight to raise and educate their families, they mourn the past, and they hope for a brighter future.”
Fortune, which focuses on General Motors, highlights the impact the auto industry had in the growth of Detroit, and takes a look at GM’s management under new president and CEO Fritz Henderson. There’s also a strange kinship between Fortune and GM:
“General Motors and Fortune have grown up together too. As Time Inc. founder Henry Luce was creating the modern business magazine at the end of the 1920s, GM was passing Ford to become the world’s largest automaker.
In 1930, when — Depression be damned — Luce launched Fortune, GM showed its grit by introducing the first Cadillac with a 16-cylinder engine. When GM’s legendary CEO Alfred P. Sloan published his landmark memoir, ‘My Years With General Motors,’ in 1963, the title page bore the name of his collaborator, a Fortune editor named John McDonald.”
With Time Inc.’s Assignment Detroit well under way, we’re probably going to see many more stories about the city in the future, shining a light on a struggling city in the midst of change. Good journalism and good stories are never a bad thing. As Huey says, “After spending a couple of days there…we found that you could not throw a rock in Detroit without hitting a good story.”
We look forward to reading lots of them.