Stephanie Steinberg, ’12, recently opened The Detroit Writing Room, an event and co-working space in the heart of the city for people to work, write, and create. She traces her inspiration back to The Michigan Daily and her roots in Detroit.
Overcome your fear. I walked into The Michigan Daily for the first time during Welcome Week. I had been the editor of my high school paper but was still too intimidated to join the news team right away, so I joined the copy desk for the first semester. It turned out to be the best experience. I learned a lot by copyediting other people’s stories.
Follow your passion. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a journalist and at U-M spent all four years at The Daily. By senior year, I was the editor-in-chief. Other students might think it is crazy to enjoy staying up until 4 a.m. to get the paper to press, but I loved it. After graduation, I moved to Washington, D.C., worked in radio, and then as an editor at U.S. News & World Report. In D.C., I met my husband, Jake—a fellow Wolverine I never knew at U-M—who was working at the National Press Club.
Be open to change. I thought I would spend decades in D.C. working as a journalist, but then I started reading about all the activity in Detroit—young entrepreneurs were opening coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, you name it. As a journalist, I was intrigued by what was happening in my hometown, and I wanted to tell those stories. Jake also had the itch to come back home. So we moved back in 2016 and returned to a city of opportunity.
Balance your life. I waited until my last semester at U-M to do everything on my bucket list, from kayaking on the Huron River to attending concerts at Hill Auditorium to finding a new brunch spot. Sprinkle fun activities into your life throughout your four years. Explore more than just your studies.
Create what you crave. The idea for The Detroit Writing Room came after I wrote a book about The Michigan Daily and realized there were no great spaces in Detroit for authors to give book readings. I also wanted a place that would be a great resource for Detroiters, a one-stop shop for anyone working on anything from a book or website to their resume or LinkedIn profile. I wanted it to be the kind of place you would feel comfortable working in eight or more hours a day, so it has a living room atmosphere.
Learn from your past. Just as I learned in college, I wanted balance beyond writing, so Jake (we are co-founders) and I are curating other Writing Room experiences like open mic nights, yoga classes, improv shows, art exhibits, and even a coffee tasting in 2020. We also host private events, like wedding showers and birthday parties. It’s been so fun to be part of other people’s milestones.
Connect with alumni. I did not realize until I graduated how valuable our alumni are for networking and connections. Many of our writing and graphic design coaches are our alumni—including author Anna Clark, former Detroit News columnist Laura Berman, and U-M visiting professor Robert Yoon. Other alumni like Mona Hanna-Attisha, who exposed the Flint water crisis, and Jules Pieri, founder of The Grommet (and Alumni Association board member), have given book talks. I’ve loved giving a platform for alumni to share their work and have enjoyed meeting fellow Wolverines along the way.