Ron French

Senior Writer Ron French joined Bridge in 2011 after having won more than 40 national and state journalism awards since he joined the Detroit News in 1995. French has a long track record of uncovering emerging issues and changing the public policy debate through his work. In 2006, he foretold the coming crisis in the auto industry in a special report detailing how worker health-care costs threatened to bankrupt General Motors. In 2007, French uncovered Michigan’s educator pension and health-care costs that are now at the center of policy debate in Lansing. He is also the author of “Driven Abroad,” a book chronicling the movement of Michigan jobs overseas. You can reach Ron via email at, or call him at 517-214-3636.


Betsy DeVos wants to rethink how colleges probe sexual assault. She may have a point.

September 12, 2017 | Ron French

Bridge investigations into assault cases at major Michigan universities reveal practices that should trouble both victims of sexual assault, and those who are accused.

Michigan college students are binging on booze. Time for more kegs?

September 7, 2017 | Ron French

When Michigan turned off the tap at underage parties, binge drinking became more dangerous. Some say it’s time to go back to kegs.

Trump’s DACA reversal a nightmare to this west Michigan ‘dreamer’

September 5, 2017 | Ron French

Wilfredo Diaz came to America when he was 9. At 22, he may have to return to Guatemala because of a decision made by President Trump.

University of Michigan won't 'do work of police' to track DACA students

August 31, 2017 | Ron French

U-M President Mark Schlissel says students should be able to pursue education 'without outside worries.' He sat down with Bridge to answer five questions this week.

Upper Peninsula population plummets. One family’s struggle shows why.

August 31, 2017 | Ron French

Northern Michigan counties are losing residents at a startling rate. Jobs are scarce. And so is hope among some.

A crusading attorney helped free a man framed for murder. They both ended up dead.

August 15, 2017 | Ron French

Leaving prison was supposed to make everything better. It was only the beginning of the troubles for an unlikely pair.

Where can you carry a gun in Michigan? It’s complicated. (How much? Take our quiz)

August 15, 2017 | Ron French

One in 12 Michigan adults have a license to carry a concealed handgun. But even experts can’t offer a simple answer about where it’s legal to carry, and where a gun under your coat is a five-year felony.

Fireworks, parades, and a partisan divide that won’t go away

July 11, 2017 | Ron French

The 2016 election exposed a gulf among Michigan residents. Bridge revisited 11 people and families we first profiled at Donald Trump’s inauguration to see if the past six months had changed their outlook. Both sides, it appears, are digging in.

Amid protests over Trump, Muslims and guns, two enemies in Kalkaska bond near a giant trout

June 29, 2017 | Ron French

The village president’s inflammatory Facebook posts leads to an evening standoff along the normally placid main street of Kalkaska. 

Environmental cuts could hobble Pure Michigan

June 22, 2017 | Ron French

Despite broad public support for protecting Michigan’s natural beauty, state and federal budget cuts may stall projects in a state that, after the Flint water disaster, has become synonymous with environmental risk.

The American Dream is fading everywhere, but almost nowhere faster than Michigan

May 25, 2017 | Ron French

For three generations, the odds of outearning your parents has dropped. Today, a young person’s odds of climbing higher than their parents are no better than a coin flip.

SLIDESHOW: Feel like you’re not earning as much as your parents? You’re probably right.

May 25, 2017 | Ron French

Your chances of living the American Dream – climbing higher up the economic ladder than your parents – used to be a sure thing. Times have changed, and not for the better.

In Bay City, Trump supporters march for jobs they are sure will come

May 25, 2017 | Ron French

How much of the political divide is an economic opportunity gap? In Bay City, which went twice for Obama, the focus is, as President Trump likes to say, jobs, jobs, jobs.