Village Life: Let’s get to important things, again

By Kate Stockrahm

In the first ever issue of East Village Magazine on July 3, 1976, our late founder Gary Custer got straight to the point.

“It’s customary for a new publication to justify its existence by running a long list of idealistic goals in its premier issue,” he wrote. “We’ll pass up that tradition.”

In that early editorial, entitled “Let’s get to important things,” Custer said EVM wouldn’t waste precious space on expounding journalistic concepts. Instead, he wrote, “we suggest that you read East Village Magazine and form your ideas about what we can do.”

Of course, I don’t believe he expected that nearly 48 years later, an editor not yet born when that first issue debuted would take comfort in those words.

But here we are.

I didn’t meet Gary before he passed away in 2015, but I’ve since met him in the archived pages of this magazine and in the family (both blood and chosen) who remain to run it.

The pages tell me he was an exacting, meticulous, and incredibly competent editor. His family says he was much, much more, which is why they continue to carry on his legacy nearly 10 years after his death.

And now, sitting here in EVM’s Second Street office, among the artifacts of Gary’s life and work, I am heartened by the way he chose to introduce himself and this publication all those years ago: by passing up tradition.

I’d like to believe that means he’d be glad to see me, a youngish Flint-transplant and holder of all those journalistic ideals he left unwritten that first issue, at the helm of this next iteration of his publication.

In full transparency: I don’t know whether Gary and I would agree on other elements of that first editorial (or this one). But, whether we’d share views on city policies or school board decisions, I do know that we’d meet soundly on dedicating “precious space” to encouraging our neighbors to take action on the issues affecting them — and to promising EVM’s “fair, relevant, and factual” coverage along the way.

So, as EVM’s new editor, I vow to honor our founder’s legacy, one which spurred on community-centered journalism, civic engagement, and spirited debates for so many decades, while working hard to push our coverage forward.

And in my first act to honor that promise, I ask that you please reach out to share “your ideas about what East Village Magazine can do” — for you, today.

Let’s get to important things.

Kate Stockrahm is East Village Magazine’s new editor. She can be reached at

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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