Profile: Ann Arbor’s Micheline Maynard is an open book of dreams and accomplishments

mé·lange (n) – a mixture; a medley.

Ann Arbor’s Micheline Maynard writes a newsletter on her web site called, “Melange.” The reason she gives it that moniker is because she not only wears many hats, but also a few different kinds of sunglasses whose talents and interests cover a mélange of platforms.

Maynard is a writer, journalist, broadcaster, author, public speaker, and professor. And they all have one thing in common – her dedication and commitment to excellence. She doesn’t put her name to it until it reaches the highest of standards.

Maynard, who was born at the old U-M Hospital and went to Ypsilanti High, has accumulated a mélange of education and experience over the years. She holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, where she received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, and did her graduate work at Columbia, where she has a certificate in business and economics journalism.

Her impressive journalism background includes both writing and teaching.

She was an award-winning Detroit bureau chief and senior business correspondent for The New York Times. Known as Micki, she is a regular contributor to Forbes, where she writes The Check blog, looking at everything related to food and business. She is a lecturer in journalism in the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program at U-M and runs the crowdfunded journalism project, Curbing Cars, which looks at everything about mobility, from the auto industry to using drones for delivery packages.

On the broadcasting side of her CV, Maynard led the acclaimed public radio project, Changing Gears, which looked at the future of the industrial Midwest and is an alumni of the daily Boston-based NPR program Here & Now, which broadcasts to an audience of 4.5 million listeners on 450 stations.

She also has taught at U-M, Arizona State University and Central Michigan University.

She has written several books over the years including Hometown Holdouts: Business Lessons From Food Stars Loyal To Their Roots, published by Forbes in 2016; Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, published by Forbes in 2014; and The End of Detroit, which predicted the collapse of the American carmakers and the rise of import carmakers in the U.S. well before both happened.

Her latest book, City Tips: A Journalist’s Guide to the World’s Great Cities, is a tasty treat that offers tips on dining, enjoying and getting around some of the world’s great cities.

“Last year, I launched a newsletter called City Tips on Patreon, which is a platform for newsletter subscriptions,” says Maynard. “As I wrote about different cities, it struck me that it might make nice material for a guidebook. One of my models was a book by the late New York Times writer R.W. Apple. He covered politics, but he also was known for writing about food and travel.”

When Maynard was director of the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State, she helped turned their website content into eBooks.

“I knew how to use an eBook publishing platform,” she says. “So, I logged in and began transforming my newsletter posts into the guidebook.”

She decided to write about what she knows – a good tip for all inspiring journalists and/or authors. She selected about a dozen cities where she has either lived or worked and spent quality time in over the years. Maynard says: “All the tips in the book are things I’ve done, places I’ve eaten and sites that I’ve visited.”

“It’s really my personal recommendations on what I think people would enjoy,” she says. “There are hidden gems everywhere.”

For example?

“I love dumplings and noodles, and whenever I go to NYC, they’re the first thing I eat and I’ve been all over NYC tracking them down,” she says. “A photographer friend of mine recommended that I go visit the Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York’s Chinatown. I went there, and liked the food, but I wasn’t completely blown away (or full). After I left, I walked past a little storefront called Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles. I looked inside, and it seemed to be pretty bare bones. Okay, a little bit scary. But I went in, sat down, and had some of the best dumplings and noodle soup I’ve eaten in NYC. It’s all run by ladies, and they invited me to go back into the kitchen and watch them make their dumplings by hand. The kitchen was full of steam, but the ladies were laughing and it looked like they enjoyed their work.”

Maynard, who has called Ann Arbor home on and off since 1989, also enjoys her work and her hometown.

“Of course, Ann Arbor tops the list,” she says of her favorite places. “But elsewhere, I’d say my two favorite cities are Chicago and New Orleans. I have a tote bag that reads Ann Arbor/Chicago/New Orleans in case anyone doubts my devotion to those places.

“Chicago was the first big city that I got to know. I’ve been traveling there since I was 6 years old and three generations of my family have lived there, including me. I know lots of chefs and people in media and politics and the cultural world there. I love knowing that my grandparents and my parents and I all rode down Michigan Avenue, went to the Museum of Science and Industry and ate in some of the same restaurants.”

As for New Orleans, Maynard says she “loves everything about it.

“I highly recommend that people tour the French Quarter, but visit other parts of the city,” she says. “So many people think New Orleans is Bourbon Street, and that’s the least New Orleans thing about New Orleans. Get out of the Quarter! Go visit the Garden District, and City Park, and Uptown and Frenchman Street.”

The reaction to her book has been “delicious.” In fact, she meant it to be simply an eBook, available on Kindle.

“But right after it came out, people asked me to publish a paperback, too,” she says. “Apparently, when you say guidebook, people want an actual book that they can hold in their hand. So I produced a physical version. I’m so pleased that people are responding positively.

“The people who live in our area are globetrotters. I’ve met so many people in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County who’ve lived all over the U.S. and around the world. So, I hope my neighbors will enjoy this book and find it helpful.”

The book is available on Amazon – HERE

The Kindle version is available – HERE

Check out Micheline Maynard’s web site and sign up for her newsletter HERE