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Thursday, August 18,2011

10 Years of City Pulse

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It is hard to believe that City Pulse has been on the Lansing scene for a decade. It seems like just yesterday that publisher Berl Schwartz rolled out his fledgling alternative newspaper “for the rest of us” along with a provocative expression of his journalistic philosophy: “Objectivity is BS!” Rarely have truer words been printed. Through the intervening years, Berl has freely and unapologetically sprinkled his progressive perspective across the pages of an ever-growing publication that today stands on terra firma, both from a business standpoint (a rarity in today’s newspaper industry) and as a respected voice on the Capital City’s media scene. It goes without saying that the Pulse’s success is good news for the Lansing region and its residents, who are best served by a plethora of media voices across the ideological spectrum.


Along the way there have been plenty of highlights (when I’m on the cover!), a few lowlights (when a certain obstinate Councilmember joined me there), a smattering of mea culpas (both mine and Berl’s) and more than a few outbursts of righteous indignation (a trait Berl and I share). But let’s not focus on the rough spots.


As to the highlights, let me mention the pinnacle: Berl and his team soared, and cemented their position as a serious newspaper, with their phenomenal coverage of the resurrection of the Ottawa Power Station as the new national headquarters for the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. While the historic Power Station project continues to draw national and international accolades, the City Pulse – anchored by the powerhouse writing duo of Lawrence Cosentino and Bill Castanier – literally set a new standard for in-depth coverage of a major development project. The City Pulse editions memorializing the launch and completion of the project – Phoenix Rising in 2007 and Phoenix Risen earlier this year – are a tour-de-force of journalistic mastery and riveting storytelling.


The Pulse’s coverage of local politics, too, has delivered a vital service to the Lansing community at a time when traditional media outlets pay woefully superficial attention to state and local government. Along the way I’ve taken my share of barbs from Berl and his crew, but being on the sharp end of the stick now and then comes with the territory. I’ve also gotten my fair share of plaudits, for which I’m grateful.


Can we survive ten more years of Berl’s particular, occasionally peculiar, brand of public punditry? Without a doubt. I, along with many thousands of avid City Pulse readers, look forward to the next 520 Wednesdays of cutting-edge, compelling journalism written for the rest of us.


Mayor Virg Bernero

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