Defining New

Thanks to President Obama, "change" and "new" are the top media buzzwords of the moment. Scan the magazine covers on any newsstand, and it's "new" this and "new" that.

Clearly, if this issue's cover is any indication, Charlotte magazine is nothing if not current.

But doesn't it feel appropriate? Doesn't this city feel like an entirely different place from the Charlotte of a year ago? It's not just all the obvious changes. It's not just the banks' troubles, the abuse of trust at the United Way, or Jake Delhomme's six turnovers. It's all that and more. It's the compendium of all the changes to this city over the past year, coupled with a shift in the national mood, layered over an undercurrent of unrest that has been building in Charlotte for a few years. It's hard to describe. But to us, Charlotte all of a sudden feels like a new city.

That's not to say it's good, and it's not to say it's bad. It's just different. It's new. At Charlotte magazine, we've always felt that one of our roles is to define and interpret this place we live in. Other media outlets do their thing—report the crime totals, shed light on the daily news, offer feel-good features—but it falls to a monthly city magazine to put it all in perspective. Doing that has been a linchpin of our coverage since a small group of us took the helm of this now forty-one-year-old magazine in 1995. But starting now, we'll be more focused on that than ever before.

Over the next several months, look for all sorts of stories that, together, will define the Charlotte we are living in right now, and the Charlotte that we will be living in. And we couldn't think of a better way to kick off that coverage than with this month's cover package, on page 64. For years, it's been popular in local media to document the trials and tribulations of Charlotte's legions of newcomers. We've done it, too. But I believe we've reached an equilibrium point. The story is no longer about how newcomers are adapting to Charlotte and vice versa. The story is that newcomers blending with already-heres have created an entirely new city. That's what our package, called "Let's Face It," scratches the surface of. It covers everything from cul-de-sac culture to a dozen brand-new power players.  

We hope the conversation about the New Charlotte extends beyond these pages. Part of our cover package was inspired by Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor, the ambitious new multipart, yearlong project at Levine Museum of the New South. (Read more about it on page 75.) We're also sponsoring a yearlong speaker series that UNC-Charlotte is running in conjunction with the Levine project. Monthly panels at the museum will discuss a range of Charlotte issues. This month's topic is Growth and Sustainability (despite what you may have heard, Charlotte is still growing). Join us on March 18.

Plus, we've launched a Newcomers section at You can comment on this issue's stories, check out interactive maps, learn about the history of the area, view a photo gallery of newcomers, and upload your own photos. We'll add content to this section often, so keep checking back.

As we do our best to interpret and define the New Charlotte, let us know what you think, either by commenting on the Web site or e-mailing us at

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Coming next month: Navigating the New Real Estate Market • The New Architecture • The New Leaders

Categories: Editor’s Note, Opinion, The Buzz