The late Heinz Prechter may not have grown up on Grosse Ile, but by the time I met him in 1985 he had already lived here for many years and, as I would find out working for him at Heritage Newspapers for the next 14 years, he was very proud and supportive of his adopted hometown.
He also developed a strong attachment to the Ile Camera — the community newspaper that he became the owner of as a part of his largest media acquisition. While others in the company eventually deemed the Camera a luxury that no longer made financial sense, Prechter fended off any discussions of scaling it back or closing the office it then occupied on Macomb.
This scenario was definitely in the back of my mind in 2015 when Pam Frucci and others in the community approached me and my co-publisher, Kathy Kane, about covering Grosse Ile and helping to fill the void created when the Camera ceased publishing in June of that year. There was the recollection of Prechter’s passion and support for it — counterbalanced by some of the reasoning I heard from those who saw its “marginal” revenues as a growing liability in a rapidly changing industry.
In the final analysis, Kathy — an alumnus of the hospitality division of Prechter’s Heritage Network — and I ended up using the same logic that we used when we started the Trib. Expectations of profits aside, the community needed a newspaper. In Trenton’s case, there had been a 25-year gap since the Trenton Times was merged into the News-Herald, yet people still said they missed it.
So we continue to do our best to provide it. And we intend to continue to do the same on Grosse Ile. While we have opted to pursue the combined Trenton Trib and Island Beacon publication due to the financial challenges of publishing a print newspaper in the electronic age, we are continually working to refine and improve it with every new issue for the benefit of both communities.
And, as always, your continued suggestions on how to improve it are always welcomed, as are any contributions of articles, photos and story ideas. Over the last 20 months or so of getting our feet wet on the Island there have been very few items that we were not able to publish when requested.
As a business reporter covering the Mazda Flat Rock plant in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I became fascinated with the concept of Kaizen, or continuous improvement, and that is pretty much the approach I take with any publication I am involved with. You are not likely to see dramatic changes, but instead you will see small, incremental improvements as we go.
And Kathy and I both fondly remember and adhere to the Prechter company mantra of “Making a Difference.” It just kind of sticks with you.
Joe Hoshaw Jr. is editor and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib and Island Beacon. Email him at email@example.com.