One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears

Next week, public radio listeners will meet the Changing Gears team for the first time on the air. Niala Boodhoo in Chicago, Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor and Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland are preparing their reports for our launch the week after next.

You’ll be hearing their voices — and mine — throughout next week, as we talk about the stories we’ll be doing about the reinvention of the Great Lakes Region.

Continue reading “One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears”

Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20

Mark your calendars for  Monday Sept. 20. That’s when Changing Gears will go on the air. We’ll be reporting on the future of the Midwest industrial region from our partner stations Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland.

You’ll hear from all the members of Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo, Kate Davidson and Dan Bobkoff — and we’ll be kicking off our special Web features. Meanwhile, our food writer Michael Nagrant is whipping up a batch of Reinvention Recipes that will give you a new view of some familiar dishes and places.

Continue reading “Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20”

From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo

Niala BoodhooI’m Niala Boodhoo, and I’m the Chicago-based reporter for Changing Gears.

This Great Recession has been measured by lots of numbers: job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. But along with statistics, the recession has had a personal impact on workers, owners of businesses, small and large, and on our communities.

I’ll be responsible for covering these kinds of stories from Illinois as well as the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana.

I’ll be focusing on community redevelopment, and hope to tell how our region is handling the transition from manufacturing to a new identity. Like my team members, I’ll also be looking at stories about environment, food, arts and our ethnic diversity.

I’ve been a business reporter since 2000 in London, Washington and Miami, where I was born and raised. I’ve covered stories like the British economy and election of Tony Blair as Prime Minister in 2000, as well as the price of aluminum (or as they say it, alu-MIN-ium) on the London Metals Exchange, but the stories I remember the most are features about people, like a story I wrote about a curry shop owner in Bradford, England, a “curry capital’’ of the world. Continue reading “From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo”

Team Gears Welcomes Food Writer Michael Nagrant

Everybody in the Chicago food scene knows (or knows of) Michael Nagrant, and we’re happy to announce he’ll be a contributor to Changing Gears. Mike is taking charge of Reinvention Recipes, our look at chefs and food purveyors across the region who are taking new approaches to cuisine. Watch for Reinvention videos and recipes to run here soon.

In my short stint in Chicago, I’ve found Mike to be an encyclopedia of the local food scene. Ask him for a recommendation, as I did today, and you’ll get a synopsis of the menu, the backgrounds of the chefs and a description of the atmosphere and prices.

His work has appeared in Saveur, as well as New York Magazine’s Grub Street blog. He’s a regular contributor to Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Sun Times, and the regular food columnist for and CS-Modern Luxury. He also was — drum roll — an essayist in the Alinea cookbook by chef Grant Achatz that won the James Beard Award. Continue reading “Team Gears Welcomes Food Writer Michael Nagrant”

From the Senior Editor: Obama’s Victory Lap

This week and next, President Obama is taking a victory lap. But is it too soon?

On Friday, the president was set to visit General Motors and Chrysler plants in Detroit. Next week, he’ll be in Chicago to visit the Ford Motor factory.

At the two Detroit plants, workers literally owe their livelihoods to the president, whose administration provided the carmakers with more than $60 billion to assure their survival. You can argue the Ford workers should be grateful as well, since Ford’s future would have been threatened had its two Detroit rivals gone into liquidation.

I talked about the automobile industry’s situation on NPR’s Morning Edition with my good friend Don Gonyea, who spent many years on the car beat when he was based in Detroit. This is a story of deep interest to the Changing Gears region, and its outcome will play a huge role in determining the future of the Manufacturing Belt. Continue reading “From the Senior Editor: Obama’s Victory Lap”