Wow. For the third time this summer, little old Grand Rapids is the focus of an article in the mainstream East Coast media. And all of it is positive.
There was the Boston-area journalist who attended a wedding and raved about the cleanliness, friendliness and positive growth of Grand Rapids.
Before that there was the mass attention on the 'women only' floor proposed--and ultimately withdrawn--at the Marriott being constructed downtown.
Now, the New York Times Realt Estate section has an article (free, registration required) that sings the praises of Grand Rapids' evolving "pill hill."
I can remember when the 'gray lady' dissed the river city back when the Art Museum hosted the Perugino exhibit and when the Meijer Gardens corraled a DaVinci horse. Now, in typical Gotham fashion, the East Coast scribes are on to us and are pretending they've discovered us for the nation.
With much to despair about in Michigan--home to full-time yet vacationing lawmakers with unfinished business--at least our corner of the state is reaping some positive press. Now, the question for PR folks of all stripes in the region is this: how to leverage the positive rep of the region. In other words, "Grand Rapids based....." fill in the blank could have more national clout.
Back in 1985, another era of employment woes, i was in DC as an American Society of Magazine Editors intern at the Washingtonian Magazine. I remember being a little intimidated by the other interns from East Coast and Ivy League schools, afraid they would kick the academic sand in my face. I learned they put on their pants--albeit more fashionable than mine--one leg at a time. In fact, some of them (Kennedys and Clintons mostly) take them off at the wrong time, but that's the subject of another blog. Anyway, I think we Midwestern, West Michiganders don't have to feel or act as if we are second rate to any other region or organization or PR firm.
Next month I'll be making a swing through both DC and New York City. I'm going to unashamdely announce the fact that I'm from Grand Rapids/West Michigan. At least until I feel I'm intimidating someone. We Midwesterners are too polite for that.