By Ed Simon 

Today, regional news is in more trouble than at any point in our recent history. Since 2020, almost 400 local newsrooms have closed in the United States, and national publications have scaled back their coverage of our region. The implications are dire, not just to journalism, but to civic commitment.

Here at Belt we eschew the stereotypes and simplifications that so often dominate discussion of our complicated portion of the country, and we carry on the spirit of those local newspapers of the past. We firmly believe in coverage that is of the Rust Belt, by the Rust Belt, and for the Rust Belt. We can’t do that alone.

A pumpkin spice latte at a certain Seattle coffee chain will put you back $5.45, but $5 a month for a Belt membership pays for engaged, vital, and crucial local writing. From supporters like you we’ve been able to publish brilliant essays such as Stacy Jane Grover’s harrowing “The Girl in the Mall,” Jonathan Dale’s brilliant work of cultural history “Chicago Was Almost a Country Town,” and photographer Amy Sacka’s gorgeous series “End of Summer at Detroit’s Love Isle.”

That’s why we’re excited to announce our 2022 Fall Fund Drive! We’ve set a goal of fifty new members at any level, and to sweeten the deal we’re giving out books, stickers, postcards, and other gifts. Memberships are important every year, but they’re even more crucial now. We’re a small organization in a rocky era for independent media, and your support means we can keep doing this work. Just click here to be a member, and if you’re already a member, remember that all donations to Belt are tax deductible! And in the meantime, please reach out to me at to let me know what’s important to you at Belt, what sort of features you’re interested in reading and what stories you think we should be covering.

Ed Simon is the editor of Belt Magazine.

Image from Emil Carlsen’s painting Wood Interior, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.