Most of this magazine’s staffers are born-and-bred Hoosiers. Many attended college at IU, or Purdue, or Ball State. And now they’ve settled here, too, to work and play. This is a place where people stay (or return). The native knowledge of our readers is something we think about a lot when picking which stories to cover—and especially as we planned this month’s “Hidden Indy” (p. 44 in the print issue).
Co-editors Megan Fernandez and Julia Spalding boldly approached the challenge of unearthing under-the-radar or little-known gems for the feature, but it was a beast. How to truly surprise our readers, who know this city so well?
Here’s just one example of how they went about it: An important part of our reporting comes from simply prying our eyes away from our computers (harder than you think!) to talk with local honchos, who often share juicy tidbits and rumors for us to pocket and investigate. This past November, Megan and I met with Tina Connor, the executive vice president of Indiana Landmarks, to hear about what was shaking in the world of preservation. Did we know, she asked, about the soon-to-be-spiffed-up Oliver’s Woods, a Zen-worthy dairy farm–turned–nature preserve within a stone’s throw of the Fashion Mall? (We’d always wondered what that big barn was off of I-465!) With the Central Indiana Land Trust planning to move its offices there and open it to the public, it was obvious the project had plenty of “hidden potential.”
Fabulously popular young-adult author John Green (his The Fault in Our Stars made it onto just about every “best of 2012” list, with Time naming it the year’s number-one fiction book, period) offers another avenue. For his essay “A Brief Plunge,” Green explored a hidden facet of the city he literally found in his own backyard. The surprising discovery reminded me that it’s easy for our eyes to glaze over the familiar after a while. We should be paying closer attention to our own corners of Indianapolis, the ones we think we know so well. Otherwise, we might miss out on a chance to dive into a mystery of our own.
Amanda Heckert is the editor of Indianapolis Monthly. See her bio here.
This column appeared in the February 2013 issue.