At the outset of my trip, I needed some guidance. A sort of Rust Belt Virgil, willing and able to orient me to the exciting and dynamic and tragic state of the Great Lakes region. With my route passing through Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, there seemed no one better for the job than Micki Maynard, a journalist now spearheading a public radio project called Changing Gears.
More than just a radio show, Changing Gears is a multi-year, multimedia effort that aims to tell the stories of people in the Great Lakes, through radio, yes, but also online and in video, with reporters stationed around the region. The questions they’re asking: How are people in this part of the country reinventing their cities, their local economies and even themselves in the face of cataclysmic change? Those are the stories Changing Gears hopes to capture and some of which Micki shared with us in our video interview at the WBEZ studios on Chicago’s Navy Pier.