Changing Gears Presents Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 1

Changing Gears is spending the next few years looking at ways to reinvent the Midwest economy. Today, we kick off our first week-long series: Reinventing Pittsburgh. Once, it was the Steel City, just as Detroit was the Motor City. But while Detroit struggles to find its new identity, Pittsburgh is undergoing an enormous transformation, shifting to an economy that includes technology, medicine, education and yes, steel.

Can Pittsburgh be a model for the Great Lakes region? Later this week, we’ll be looking at how Detroit and Gary, Indiana, are following Pittsburgh’s lead. But first, we look at where Pittsburgh was.

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Middle East business reporters visit Changing Gears

A delegation of business reporters from the Middle East came by WBEZ today to hear more about Changing Gears. Over coffee and crumb cake, we chatted about Changing Gears, business journalism and international reporting. We also spent some time talking about the Recession and its causes – and the role of the media in all of that. They also asked a great question none of us knew the answer to: what does the BEZ in WBEZ stand for? I’m still trying to find the answer to that one.

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Reinventing Pittsburgh: Coming Next Week

Next week, Changing Gears kicks off its first week-long series with a look at Reinventing Pittsburgh.

All across the Great Lakes, cities are searching for ways to reinvent themselves. But how can they shift from a dependence on industry to the new economy? What’s the best path for Detroit and Gary, Indiana to take? The answer may lay just to the east in Pittsburgh. EGatz_F10_0032 Continue reading “Reinventing Pittsburgh: Coming Next Week”

Changing Gears, As Heard On NPR

Did you hear about Changing Gears on NPR’s Talk of the Nation? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome!
Talk of the Nation host Neil Conan at WCPN

We went on the air in September, and our mission is to report on the reinvention of the industrial Midwest.

Take a listen to our stories on manufacturing, like Niala Boodhoo’s recent report on brownfield sites in Chicago; retraining, like Kate Davidson’s story on former auto worker Joseph Arducan’s efforts to find a new career, and jobs, including the dilemma faced by high school students in Sandusky, Ohio, which was explored by our Cleveland Reporter, Dan Bobkoff.

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The Kalamazoo Promise: Ashley’s Story

Ashley Steele and her son, Richard Peake
Ashley Steele was one of the first students to go to college on the Kalamazoo Promise. She wants her son Richard to go as well. Photo by Kate Davidson.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Five years ago this month, a group of anonymous donors made a radical promise to Kalamazoo. They would pay for almost every high school graduate to go to a state-supported college or university.
[audio: 20101104_davidson.mp3]
Download the audio here

Changing Gears has been profiling towns across the region as they try to reinvent themselves for the new economy. (Our previous segments looked at Sandusky, Ohio and Kenosha, Wisconsin.) In some ways, the reinvention of Kalamazoo comes down to the chance one young woman got to reinvent herself. Continue reading “The Kalamazoo Promise: Ashley’s Story”

A sea of red across the Great Lakes

This week’s election brought a new sheen of red to the Great Lakes states: with the Republican party seizing control of governorship and state houses across the region. In many cases, it was the first time the GOP has taken control since 2003. Here’s what this political reinvention could mean for the region.

CHICAGO – The economy was a familiar theme on Election Night, invoked by every new Republican governor in the region: Ohio’s John Kasich; Michigan’s Rick Synder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

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Results Pour in On Election Night 2010

Updated early Wednesday

The 2010 election is turning out to be an eventful one for the Changing Gears region. Our Changing Gears partners are providing live coverage with reports from NPR and their own newsrooms.

Listen to live election coverage on WBEZ

Listen to Michigan Radio's Live Election coverage

Ideastream's 2010 live election coverage

Meanwhile, our public broadcasting partners at The Newshour are streaming live on the Web for the first time. Watch here.

Here’s a quick summary of major results:
Continue reading “Results Pour in On Election Night 2010”

Reinvention Recipes: The Farmer’s Perspective

The Midwest’s food scene depends on its farmers. And those farmers depend on its restaurants, food purveyors and individual customers to stay afloat.

One place where farmers, chefs and customers gather every Saturday is the Green City Market in Chicago. The non-profit market began in 1998 in an alley outside the Chicago Theater. Now, white tents fill a lawn in Lincoln Park during summer Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the displays move indoors come November.

I’ve been a frequent shopper at the Green City Market during my time as senior editor of Changing Gears. As I’ve strolled through the displays, I’ve noticed that many the farmers are from my home state, Michigan. I’ve also noticed that many of those farmers are charging more than they could there. A basket of apples that might sell for $3 at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market fetches $4-5 here. A quart of raspberries that could go for $5 at home cost $7 here.

But behind every box of apples and every bunch of radishes is a story like Rene Gelder’s. Continue reading “Reinvention Recipes: The Farmer’s Perspective”

The 2010 Election and Our Region

It’s election eve, and we’re gearing up at Changing Gears to be a regional hub for coverage on Tuesday.

All three of our partners plan extensive election coverage. To get up to speed, check out the election pages for WBEZ, Michigan Radio and ideastream.

Over the weekend, two of the states in the Changing Gears region received visits from President Obama. He spoke at rallies in Chicago on Saturday and Ohio on Sunday, covered by WBEZ and ideastream. Continue reading “The 2010 Election and Our Region”