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August 5, 2013
Revving Up Detroit – A PR Opportunity
 
It looks like a good time to be in public relations in Detroit. There's a lot of constructive relating to be done and in Detroit's downtown area, at least, it looks as though it's already begun. The Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley had a lengthy interview with Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, headed "How Detroit Can Rise Again." It's a hopeful view of what may be possible in Detroit, especially via the energy of young people.

"'The untold story of Detroit is young people,'" Ms. Finley quotes Orr, "'The future's going to change. It already has. I met with two dozen entrepreneurs, two of them veterans from the Afghan war. One's a venture capitalist and one has a logistics company and these are kids in their 20s who can go anywhere and are making it work."

Detroit could come to reflect the urban renaissance that occurred in the 1950s in Philadelphia under reform mayors Joe Clark and Richardson Dilworth. Development Coordinator Ed Bacon had a big role in that revival, which survived some lackluster mayors afterwards. Much depends on Detroit's council and mayoral elections in November, but if "fresh, capable and forward-looking leadership" emerges, Detroit, Ms. Finley, a WSJ editorial writer, suggests, could become another Atlanta. And that will take a lot of inspired public relations help.

Ms. Finley notes that this sort of process is already occurring. "Not far outside of Detroit's downtown business district (in) the emergent hipster colony of Corktown, where do-it-yourself, brew-your-own-beer types are fixing up cheap, rundown houses. The pioneers grow organic vegetables such as corn on nearby vacant lots. Corktown represents the frontier of civilization in Detroit."

And in the downtown district itself, "venture capitalists and private foundations are investing billlions." Rev it up Detroit, for the long-term, and with PR/community relations help.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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