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The Fifth Estate and the Rise of Engaged Journalism

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Detroit – October 12, 2015 –   How did Detroit’s Fifth Estate survive for 50 years when all the other underground papers of its era could not?  Why did Detroit’s underground press matter?  Does it still? What impact did it have on its readers and the community at large, especially the mainstream and other media?

On Wednesday, October 21, the newly revitalized Detroit Press Club will discuss these and other topics with Fifth Estate founder Harvey Ovshinsky and the paper’s long-time editor and radio talk show host, Peter Werbe.

“We’re looking forward to this,” says Ovshinsky. “Peter and I have each spoken separately about the Fifth Estate and its history, but we don’t often get a chance to do it together.”

The Detroit Historical Museum will host the evening’s presentation starting at 6:00 pm, in conjunction with its exhibit, Start the Presses: 50 Years of the Fifth Estate.

According to the exhibit, “Long before the internet revolutionized how newspapers reported the news, underground papers like the Fifth Estate were the original media disrupters. The paper’s coverage of local anti-war, civil rights and feminist issues, combined with its reporting on Detroit’s youth and counterculture, soon became required reading for reporters at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.”

The exhibit runs at the Museum through August 2016.

Admission for the October 21st event is $20 for Detroit Press Club members and $25 for non-members. Pizza, salad, and soft drinks will be served.  Parking in the Museum lot is free. To RSVP or for more information contact Kathlyn Putman at or call 248 562-7685.

The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Ave. (NW corner of Kirby) in Midtown Detroit.  Start the Presses: 50 Years of the Fifth Estate runs through August 2016 in the Museum’s Allesee Gallery of Culture.  Please note there could be detours caused by the M1 construction. Consult the Historical Museum’s website for construction maps and alternate roads.

Another Fifth Estate exhibit, You Can’t Print That: 50 Years of the Fifth Estate runs until January 3, 2016 at the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.  Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead is open Friday – Sunday: 11AM – 5PM. MOCAD is located at 4454 Woodward Ave.

For nearly a century, the Detroit Press Club offered fellowship, meetings and training and encouraged camaraderie. The club was re-established in 2013 by a group of journalists and allied professionals to support, promote and recognize excellence in communications. It provides social and professional network opportunities to help members and guests meet to discuss topics of interest. Newsmaker events, award competitions for professionals and students, as well as other resources will be offered as the group evolves.  Visit

The Fifth Estate and the Rise of Engaged Journalism – October 21 was originally published on

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