“The informal exchange of ideas through spoken words” is how the dictionary defines conversations. That’s what we here at the magazine had in mind when we were putting together this issue. The thought was to round up a wide range of local notables and get them to engage on topics of our choosing. In our “war room” (aka my office), we used a magnetic board to post an array of names, then we moved the names around to create pairs, and matched the pairs with subjects. When we arrived at a tentative line-up, the real work began: scheduling. It’s hard enough to find a time when two busy people can sit down for an hour to chat, but we also needed a moderator, and in most cases, a photographer in attendance.
Somehow, the whole thing came together. The final roster is quite a bit different than our initial wish list, but every bit as interesting. We found that while people we approached were willing to participate, they frequently wanted to choose their own partner and, often, topic. This eliminated some of the friction we had hoped for but we still managed to get a lot of frank, unfiltered talk. And although we didn’t set out in search of it, there was plenty of civic pride. Among the 25 voices, you’ll find Mayor Tom Barrett, Chief Ed Flynn, John Gurda, Ald. Nik Kovac and many others.
Getting people talking is what this magazine is all about. We try to create a mix of stories, some meant to inform, others meant to entertain, with quite a few that straddle both objectives. As we kick o 2017, the third spoke of our mission is to engage. What that means is, now more than ever, we want to hear from you. We want to know your opinion of the stories we run, and we want to hear your ideas of who and what we should cover. Our goal is to create an ongoing dialogue with the community.
To that end, we’re trying something new: MilMag Live @ The Back Room is a series in which we will bring the pages of the magazine to life, with plenty of audience participation. For the first event, which will take place Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Colectivo on Prospect (visit milwaukeemag.com/live for more info), we’ll have some of the conversants featured in this issue on hand to discuss what’s next for Milwaukee. Please come, and bring a boatload of friends plus plenty of opinions to share. And don’t be surprised if one of your ideas makes its way onto the pages of a future issue. That’s the type of exchange we’re hoping for.