So you’d like to join us
for #ANNtourage

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This was an ANNtourage outing for the July 2016 issue. We'd stopped in to Literati Bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor.

This was an ANNtourage outing for the July 2016 issue. We’d stopped in to Literati Bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. | Kevin Sharp

Have we got a form letter for you!

No, literally, if you’d like to participate in an upcoming #ANNtourage event, fill out this PDF form [anntourageform02] and email it to info@theannmag.com. In case you can’t wait to download it, though, here’s what it says:


Many of us already get most of our news and views through people we know on social media, rather than in the paper, on TV or even by going to a news website. So we started to wonder how an old-fashioned print magazine could leverage such a phenomenon. The idea is simple: Gather a handful of Washtenaw County people, take them to an event — could be a government meeting, a protest, a concert, a tour of a neighborhood — and record their raw reactions and see what we can learn through their fresh eyes. We’ll do it immediately through social media, and take a more thoughtful turn in print.


It’s so simple, a newsman could do it. We get together as a group and go experience a noteworthy event. You express your thoughts and experience of the event through social media using the hashtag #ANNtourage. We also take you to dinner to get to know each other better, and debrief over drinks afterward. We ask you to share other observations in writing, and then we pull the whole thing together for print.


We have a couple of goals for ANNtourage. One is to break down the walls between journalist and reader. Another is to gain fresh perspectives and insights on our community that journalists and their go-to sources might miss or ignore. Finally, we hope to get readers more involved in determining what is (or should be) news, and in their community.


We’re not trying to turn you into “citizen journalists,” nor are we absolving ourselves of journalistic responsibilities. We don’t expect you to conduct interviews or do a bunch of homework. You don’t even have to be super serious, though we do promote a civil tone. If you experience something that offends you, we ask you to explain what it is that bothers you, but please don’t set your phasers to snark; plenty of that on the interwebs already.

Some of the things we’ve done so far:

  • watched a documentary about the late, great Tower Records
  • learned about rain gardens
  • won cash at pub trivia
  • attended a packed meeting of the Ypsilanti Police-Black Lives Matter task force
  • saw Michael Phelps win a medal.

But the best part of ANNtourage is the conversation with amazing, brilliant people about stuff that matters in Washtenaw County. If any of that sounds good, go ahead and download that form and send it along to us. We can’t wait to meet you!

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.