This post was authored by an intrepid intern who gave up weekend hours to "work" for us.
Over the weekend, a handful of journalists descended upon Detroit to be wined, dined and convinced that Motown was worth its weight in favorable blog posts. Oddly enough, we were invited to tag along in an email that read: You're invited to Detroit for a "Real D Experience" and went on to explain:
You’ve heard it compared to cities like San Francisco, Brooklyn and Seattle? mentioned during the State of the Union? and explained as a city experiencing a true renaissance! That’s right, the vibrant city of Detroit is on everyone’s radars in 2012, and this is your chance to see what the buzz is all about. And so, lamenting the inability to make use of the free plane ticket offered to the more jet-setting members of our profession, we joined a group of of journa-tourists that included writers from the backwoods of the Upper Peninsula to Seattle, New York and Los Angeles. Representatives from New York Post, Nylon Magazine and Shermans Travel made the scene as well as a freelancer from FoxNews.com and a pleasant lady from DogWonderful.com — your #1 source for “pet friendly vacations” for you and your cultured critter. The group was, to say the least, diverse.
The trio of organizations behind the press trip — Pure Michigan, Visit Detroit and NY-based public relations firm Weber Shadwick — know a thing or two about breaking down stigma surrounding Detroit. Who wouldn’t have a favorable impression of the city after slumming around museums all day, cruising along the river on a yacht, fine dining at Joe Muer’s and watching the Tigers chase the White Sox out of town from a private suite? As we Detroiters know, that’s the standard of living we’re accustomed to.
While most of the journalists seemed perfectly content breaking in their walking shoes and nothing more, those who had questions and curiosities were sort of screwed. The suburbanite staff of Visit Detroit and the fresh-off-the-flight Weber Shadwick team could quote the itinerary with ease (once they pulled it up on their smart phones), but tripped over hard-hitting questions like which building was Cobo Hall (“I think that’s where the Red Wings play”), what exactly Belle Isle was or when Comerica Park was built. It felt odd to pick up where the people in charge of the trip simply didn’t try. Still, we managed to order our fair share of complimentary drinks and answer questions at the same time.
We’ve yet to see to a favorable return of write-ups hit the Internet, but we’ll be sure to share them when they do pop up. Considering our friend from DogWonderful.com described her experience as a “crack tour” — “they show us a little and we want more” — we know we’ve got them in the bag. Of course, if any of our journa-tourists actually wanted to know more, they can always drop us a line at email@example.com.
Update: It should be noted that one of the designated dignitaries on the trip — David Lorenz, manager of public & business relations for Travel Michigan — was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the city, its history and latest developments. We totally lost his business card and meant to include this earlier.