Shifting Gears: Gander Reporter Isaac Constans Heads to a New Stop

By Isaac Constans

July 20, 2023

It’s time for that awkward conversation.

Hey ‘Ganders,

Is there any more awkward conversation to have than when you tell your work that you’re taking another job? After having that very talk with a few cherished colleagues recently, it’s now time to tell you—this will be my last piece of writing for The ‘Gander. 

This departure is doubly bittersweet for me because I will be saying goodbye to The ‘Gander and the world of journalism—instead, joining forces with communications and policy professionals, two arenas in which I have some practice.

My new role will be as a communications associate for the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. What does that mean? I’m still new to it, of course, but I’ll be spreading the good word about transportation practices that link our state and bring us together. What that actually means is I’ll be writing newsletters, running social media channels, and interacting broadly with the public about transportation options in metro Detroit. 

My goal is to push southeast Michigan forward as an equitable, connected region available to everyone with or without a car. (Did you know that a third of the Motor City doesn’t have access to a car?)

If you’ve followed my writing at all, you may have picked up that this is something I care deeply about. And I no longer want it to be a part-time beat. 

Before I go, I’d like to reflect on some of my favorite pieces about Michigan communities, if you’ll indulge me.


‘We’re Not Going to Lose The Ukrainian People’: Michiganders Stand Up Against New War

Michigan is home to one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the country. When Russia invaded, the local community set up a pipeline of aid—and some even flew to their home country to deliver a helping hand. Read the full story here. 

Protestors gather in front of the Joe Louis “Fist” statue in Detroit. Louis famously took down Max Schmeling, striking a blow to the idea of Aryan supremacy.

Once a ‘Middle Class Ticket,’ Mining’s Unsure Future Raises Questions for the UP

Calumet, Michigan, was once a copper boomtown. Now, the deposits of Calumet—and other UP towns—are drained. So what’s next? Read the full story here.

Everyone in This Tiny Michigan Town Knows the Same Catchy Song—Thanks to One Teacher

Catchy isn’t a strong enough word. We were able to talk with a small-town teacher whose musical prowess made computer class a memorably good time carried by a rhythm and a tune. Decades later, a new generation of teachers is still passing “The Keyboard Song” down. Read the full story here.

 


Many reporters get into this field to hold officials to account. In fact, I’ve heard it said that the only real reporting is investigative reporting. 

Respectfully, I disagree. No doubt, accountability is the spine of our profession and an indispensable instrument in a functioning country and democracy. 

But my personal tie to journalism has been more visceral—those pieces that (hopefully) tug on your heartstrings and make you feel something deep down. I’ve always aspired to use journalism as a vehicle to build community—from when I was in college, spending my Friday nights covering small-town high school football, to now, finding a niche in the bizarre and delightful worlds of beekeepers and suburban turkey farmers in Michigan. 

I hope my writing has recorded an untold history, taught someone something new, and inspired a reader to close their laptop and discover a new passion or interest. In short, I hope I’ve brought our state a little closer together.

Now it’s time for me to do that in a much more literal sense, carrying that same passion—dare I say “drive”?—to the field of transit.

And that’s all for me, ‘Ganders. A sincere thanks to the many of you who have read my work, lent me your time, and offered your insights—such as that I look like a teenager with my beard shaved. 

Keep following The ‘Gander. Kyle Kaminski and Karel Vega have this place humming along in tip-top shape, better than ever—by my judgment. Thank you also to Lisa Hayes, Kimberly Lawson, Hope O’Dell, Jess Strachan, Joey Oliver, Katelyn Kivel, and the other talented writers and editors I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside.

And, please keep in touch. Follow the RTA of Southeast Michigan on social media or subscribe to the newsletter for more from me.

It’s been my pleasure reporting for you.

Go Green,

Isaac

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