MediaThose who came before
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It’s hard to say how many folks have worked at the Metro Times during the past 20 years. When you include staff and freelancers, the cast could be in the thousands. The point is that a lot of people over the years have pitched in to make the MT what it is. The following is an admittedly short list of some of the folks who contributed, mostly in the early years. Apologies to the many people whose names do not appear.
First notice goes to former MT people who have passed away: Julie Chenault-Woods, Jim Gustafson, Bill Hogg, Morris Gleicher.
Barbara (Weinberg) Barefield was the MT founding designer. She still works as a photographer and designer from her base in Detroit’s Palmer Woods neighborhood.
Mike Betzold was the first MT film reviewer. His “3-D” rating system scored films for overall quality, weirdness and the “slumber quotient” of the viewer. He also spent a few months as interim editor of the paper before moving on to the Free Press, which he left due to the big strike in 1995. Mike has published several books.
Herb Boyd was an associate editor of the MT when it was founded. He moved to New York and has established himself as a nationally known historian of African-Americans. He’s published 11 books (most recently Autobiography of a People, Doubleday) and is editor of The Black World Today, a Web site at tbwt.com.
Ken Cockrel Jr. wrote a column for MT in the early 1990s called The Bottom Line. He has since served as a Wayne County commissioner and is now a member of the Detroit City Council.
Desiree Cooper was named MT editor in 1994, becoming the first African-American editor of a paper in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, commonly known as the alternative press. She became MT editor-at-large in 1997, and a columnist for the Free Press in 1999, thereby shocking the MT staff.
Jim Dulzo was MT managing editor in 1992-93. He’s director of the Frog Island Festival and for several years (until 1999) was director of the Montreux-Detroit International Jazz Festival. He’s still a frequent contributor to MT and hosts “The Jim Dulzo Program,” Saturday from 7-10 p.m., on WDET-FM 101.9.
David Finkel wrote about politics and jazz for the MT more regularly in the past. He currently edits Against the Current, a Detroit-based magazine.
Stewart Francke answered an MT ad for music writers and ended up writing the Word of Mouth local music column with Lex Kuhne and later a culture column called Sign Language. Francke, a singer-songwriter, garnered national attention for his single “Bang Bang, Shoot Shoot.” Most recently, Francke has made his mark with the Stewart Francke Leukemia Foundation.
Beth Hawkins was MT investigative reporter in the mid-’90s and later became managing editor. She’s now an associate editor at the Minneapolis City Pages, a sister alternative paper.
Geoffrey Jacques wrote about jazz in the first issue and in the early MT years. He’s relocated to the Big Apple and published a bunch of stories, edited New Labor Forum magazine, published several books of poetry and is working on a Ph.D.
Greg Kaza freelanced for MT during the 1980s. He later became a member of the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy that helped bring in the John Engler era. Kaza was a so-called Libertarian within the Republican Party. He was also a state representative from 1992-1998 when he was term-limited out of office.
R. J. King was once a freelancer who wrote business and development stories for us. He was one of the first scabs across the line for the Detroit News in the 1995 newspaper strike.
Rosanne Less was MT’s first managing editor and investigative reporter. She’s now a lawyer with a practice in Allen Park.
Jan Loveland, a founding associate editor of MT, now teaches film at WSU.
Garaud McTaggert, a freelance writer in the first issue, stood in as listings editor for a while. He works from Buffalo, N.Y., and contributed heavily to the Visible Ink series of MusicHound record guides.
Sadiq Mohammed, another first-edition writer for MT is a percussionist who, in the early ’80s, played and sang with Aziz. He went on to found City Arts Quarterly in the mid-’80s, which lasted until Mayor Coleman Young closed it down in the early ’90s. He’s now a New York poet and recording artist.
Kofi Natambu wrote about hip hop for MT before most other folks had any idea. He’s gone on to become a respected scholar on the subject. He was editor and publisher of the prize-winning journal Solid Ground, lectured for several years at San Francisco State University and has published several books of poetry and scholarly tomes on black culture.
Monte Paulsen, an MT investigative reporter from 1992-93, wrote a groundbreaking story on the relationship of the environment and breast cancer for us. He left here to work at Knight Ridder’s The State in Columbia, S.C., then returned as a national correspondent for the MT and its sister papers. Recently he’s been freelancing and wrote several chapters for Buying of the Presidency 2000 for the Center for Public Integrity and is co-authoring a book for Time Warner due out in spring 2002.
Leni Sinclair was the MT founding art director. She’s plied her trade as a photographer for years and now does it from her base in New Orleans.
Mel Small, a WSU professor, wrote a lot of restaurant and book reviews for MT. He teaches history and has authored or edited 11 books. The latest, The Presidency of Richard Nixon (University Press of Kansas), earned him a gig on C-SPAN’s “President-a-week” series.
Toni Swanger was the founding MT typesetter and later became production manager, managing editor and columnist. Swanger reaped the benefits of working through the early lean years when the paper was sold to Times-Shamrock in 1999. She is now semiretired and still steps in to help edit copy when someone falls ill.
Warren Westfall wrote about music for us early on. He continues to run his Record Collector music store, now located in Ferndale.
Jeannie Wylie-Kellerman freelanced from her base as a local social activist. She became editor of The Witness, a journal of faith and conscience rooted in the Episcopal Church. Jeannie is an activist and was very active in the newspaper striker support organization Readers United.
Eli Zaret was once upon a time an edgy, tell-all sports reporter. He broke in with rock radio broadcasts that pulled no punches and wrote “Sports with Eli” for the early MT. In Vol. 1 No. 1 he wrote about the cover version of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” recorded by Detroit Lion Jimmy (Spiderman) Allen and a few of his cohorts. Most of you know what’s happened with Eli since then.
Helen Zia, MT freelance writer, is a contributing editor to Ms. Magazine (she was once executive editor). She writes a column for Asian Week newspaper and recently published the book Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
And here are a few of the many more who are too numerous to mention: Diane Livingston, Gilda Snowden, Kevin Knapp, Angeline Kaimala, Russ Bellant, Ed Hancock, Yonah Karp, Michael McBride, Frank Joyce, John Roddy, John Sobczak, John Monaghan, John McCormick, L. Carol Ritchie, Leisia Duskin, Bruce Britt, Jim Jacobs, Shaarazeta Natalege, Harvey Wasserman, Bruce Britt, Manon Meilgaard, …
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.