NEI Story Quick Facts
Grant: New Michigan Media
Grant Amount: $75,000
- Support for culture change and a continuous building of entrepreneurial connections throughout the region by celebrating immigrant entrepreneurs and innovation in Detroit's neighborhoods
I made a lot of money as an engineer, but what I was really looking for was to make a difference.
- Osama Siblani, The Arab American News
New Michigan Media
New Michigan Media launched with the goal of cataloging minority media outlets throughout Michigan. It had never been attempted. The goal was to build a network that could bring minority concerns and issues to a broader audience, tear down restrictive silos, and create stronger voices for minority communities at policy discussions.
Recently, the publishers of Southeast Michigan’s five largest ethnic and minority newspapers, whose combined circulation is greater than that of the Detroit News, have formed a collaborative under the banner of New Michigan Media to tell the story of immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship in the region.
NEI saw the value of New Michigan Media, and jumped at the chance to deepen the narrative, perception, and culture of entrepreneurship in Southeast Michigan. There are thousands of minority owned businesses in the region, and their stories need to be told. Through New Michigan Media, NEI invested in a one year program to fund three stories per month in the region’s five largest minority publications.
As voices of their communities, these publications and their publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to work together to advance common goals and change the perception of minority entrepreneurship in Detroit.
The Arab American News
Osama Siblani left a very successful career as an engineer in 1987 to found the Arab American News. His reason? The Arab American community did not have a seat at the table where important discussions about the region were happening.
At the time, Southeast Michigan's Arab American population was sizable, but silent. Discrimination and ignorance, as well as news of overseas conflicts, informed popular opinions on Middle Easterners, often ignoring the diversity of the Middle Eastern world and the opinions of Middle Easterners in our region. Siblani wanted to bring new, informed, perspectives to the discussions of Middle Eastern issues. "Our views were not being taken to the public, and others were speaking on our behalf, "says Siblani, founder and publisher of the Arab American News, which has become a vehicle for those views.
Osama became an American citizen in 1984 at a ceremony in Detroit where President Reagan addressed the new citizens, saying, "Don't forget where you come from. Don't forget your culture; keep it. Enrich our country with your heritage and culture." Osama has taken these words to heart. To him, America is not a melting pot, but a salad bowl. Each community brings new ingredients in the form of ideas, energy, and dynamics. Diversity is an asset that can only make Michigan stronger. That's why he and the Arab American news have joined New Michigan Media.
Detroit Jewish News
Arthur Horwitz left the Baltimore Sun when he bought the Detroit Jewish News 31 years ago. At first he saw the paper as an outlet for sharing news in Detroit's Jewish community, but he quickly realized the paper's greater significance- as the community's historical record and a glue that holds the community together.
Arthur takes his role very seriously and is working hard to make Detroit's Jewish history open to everyone They recently released the complete digitized archives of every issue of the Detroit Jewish News for public consumption (http://www.djnfoundation.org/the-archive/).
"The younger generations are standing on the shoulders of those who came before. Many of the wisest people who came before us faced many of the same issues."
Horwitz wanted to be involved with New Michigan Media because of the opportunity it presented to bring together Detroit's diverse ethnic groups around common issues.