Ferndale is getting its first weekly newspaper this spring, and it can thank its open-minded culture that has made it welcoming to everyone from small business owners to a large section of the region's gay and lesbian population.
The Ferndale Review
will begin printing editions (it's already online) in April, employing a staff of five people including established, professional journalists. The newspaper is opening in the inner-ring suburb because of its eclectic culture that values the arts and being truly business friendly.
"It's a model city of creativity and diversity," says John Ulaj, publisher of the Ferndale Review
. "It reminds me of Brooklyn. It appeals to me. I like cities that cater to the youth and creatives. It's an environment that breeds talent."
Ulaj is a real-estate broker for his day job, but entered the newspaper publishing business three years ago when he took over what was then the Hamtramck Citizen
. He revamped and rebranded the weekly newspaper as the Hamtramck Review
, which now employs a staff of five people. He has doubled the paper's circulation since taking it over.
"The notion that papers are dead is not true," Ulaj says. "It's a figment of people's imaginations."
Ulaj says Hamtramck and Ferndale are similar communities. Both are urban suburbs with diverse populations of about 20,000 people apiece that value the arts and support small businesses. He says these sorts of communities are perfect for newspapers like his that focus on both hard news and entertainment. He would like to spread his style of newspapers to other southeast Oakland County communities, such as Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak in the near future.
Source: John Ulaj, publisher of the Hamtramck Review and Ferndale Review
Writer: Jon Zemke
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