Note: We are starting a new Cleveland and Rust Belt-focused online magazine. Like good writing about us? Not from here but like good writing about culture, sociological and urban theory, literary-type non-fiction stuff about regular people and imperfect place? Consider backing. Telling our stories is better than others telling our stories for us. This matters. Because stories are important. They affect city narratives which affect how we live, how we build, what we emphasize, and what we try to hide.

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(Via author Anne Trubek)

Belt: Where culture and economic development meet. Long-form journalism and commentary. For Cleveland and around the rust belt.

“Belt” will build on the astonishing success of Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, which proved there is a need for thoughtful, in-depth reporting and commentary on culture and economic development in Cleveland and other industrial cities. The book was produced, start-to-finish, in three months. It drew volunteer submissions from more than 80 writers, was profitable within weeks of publication and is onto its second printing. “Belt” will continue the momentum.

One comment we keep hearing about the success of Rust Belt Chic is that It puts words and images to what people are feeling in the city. Cleveland has few journalistic outlets producing meaningful culture or economic journalism and its only daily newspaper will soon lay off a third of its staff. There is a need for the kind of storytelling Belt can produce.

We have run a beta-version of this magazine over at rustbeltchic.com for a year. We post a mixture of commentary, blog posts and guest contributions. We are ready to start running longer, commissioned articles and essays, and we have a staff in place ready to edit and write.

But first we need a full-fledged website, one that can showcase writing, images and videos, and allow visitors to search for and contribute to the topics we cover. This will cost us about 2/3 of our funding goal. Another 1/3 will go towards our first commissioned pieces. Anything more will go to writers and editors. Your support will help us fund our first issue.

Belt will produced by Clevelanders, and the city will be our primary audience. But what is happening in Cleveland is pertinent to people in other Rust Belt cities–and what is happening in the Rust Belt is pertinent to anyone following the revitalization of post-industrial cities. So those interested in urbanism and cities will find us interesting. So too will anyone who values narrative journalism with a strong voice. Our writers and columnists are experienced professionals with national publications under their, um, belts. We will run original, quality writing that does not shy away from controversy We will belt.

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