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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Our spring fundraising campaign begins now!

Since our founding in 2011, we’ve made it our mission to produce journalism that keeps you informed and connected to the state we love. As we prepare to cover this important statewide election, we are asking for your tax-deductible support.

First-time donations to our spring campaign are matched by the Herrick Foundation! Will you become a Bridge Michigan member today?

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Staff

Zahra Ahmad
Zahra Ahmad

Zahra is a breaking news and environment reporter for Bridge Michigan. She worked previously at MLive Media and The Flint Journal. She was a 2018 Pulliam Fellow at the Arizona Republic and a 2017 Minority Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Zahra received a bachelor’s of science degree in general biology from Central Michigan University and a master's of law degree in environment, energy, natural resource law and policy from Lewis and Clark Law School. Reach her at zahmad@bridgemi.com or on Twitter at @AhmadZahra1m.

John Bebow
John Bebow

John Bebow is president and CEO of the Center for Michigan and Bridge Michigan. Published most weekdays at Bridgemi.com, Bridge is Michigan's leading nonprofit publisher of in-depth news and analysis about state politics, public policy, education, the state economy, the environment, and other topics of statewide interest. Bridge attracts more than one million readers each year and has earned more than 100 state and national journalism awards, including four straight "Newspaper of the Year" awards from the Michigan Press Association. Bebow worked previously as an investigative reporter for Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, and Traverse City Record-Eagle. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for The Detroit News and Gannett newspapers and served as editor-in-chief of MLive. His family resides in Dixboro. He holds a bachelor's degree with honors in English from Western Michigan University and a MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. John can be reached at jbebow@centerformichigan.org.

Amber DeLind
Amber DeLind

Amber DeLind is membership director at Bridge. Previously, DeLind led the public engagement team at the Center for Michigan, worked as a grant programs consultant for the Michigan Nonprofit Association and completed two years of national service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA and VISTA Leader for Michigan Campus Compact. She earned a B.A. in psychology and women, gender, and social justice from Michigan State University and a master of public administration degree from Grand Valley State University. DeLind is a graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program’s 2016 class. She lives in Farmington with her husband and daughter. If you have questions about your Bridge Club membership or how to support Bridge, contact Amber at 734-215-5169 or membership@bridgemi.com

Bill Emkow
Bill Emkow

Bill Emkow is growth strategist for Bridge Michigan. With over two decades of digital media under his belt, Bill helped dramatically broaden the digital reach at every stop in his journalism career; including WXYZ-TV, the Detroit Free Press, and MLive.com. Bridge Michigan's growth has been documented by Facebook, Google (blog post, expert panel), and the Membership Puzzle Project. He has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University and is a former vice president for the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Bill was a participant, guest speaker and later a coach in Facebook's journalism accelerator program. You can reach him at bemkow at bridgemi dot com.

Robin Erb
Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, she has chronicled the shock and grief of our Michigan families in COVID’s wake, bone-aching exhaustion of our health care workers, deadly isolation in our nursing homes, and dangers of our mental health system, now left thread-bare.

Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press reporting on the fight against —and sometimes the triumph over— our most horrific diseases, the battle over the Affordable Care Act, and Michigan's expansion of Medicaid. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). Contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Josiah Foster
Josiah Foster

Josiah Foster is the Development Fund Associate at the Center for Michigan. Prior to joining the Center, Josiah worked in fundraising at The Grosse Pointe War Memorial and the Ypsilanti District Library. Josiah is a proud Ypsilanti native and foodie. Josiah can be reached by email at jfoster@centerformichigan.org.

Ron French
Ron French

Project Editor/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 rfrench@bridgemi.com, or call him at 517-657-3501.

Paula Gardner
Paula Gardner

Paula Gardner is Bridge’s first business editor, joining the team in April 2020. Paula leads coverage emphasizing Michigan’s economy and policy issues that affect it, along with stories about the people, decisions and changes on the front lines of business in our state.  Her career includes several years at MLive.com, where she was editor of The Ann Arbor News, statewide business reporter and part of an award-winning environmental coverage team that helped uncover and dig into Michigan’s PFAS crisis. Among her honors is an award naming her Michigan’s Journalist of the Year in 2019 from the Michigan Press Association. Paula’s experience includes leading the news team at AnnArbor.com, a digital news startup launched in 2009 that generated company-leading audience growth.  Before that, she worked at Michigan Business Review, the Detroit Free Press and the Ypsilanti Press. Paula moved from Dearborn Heights to attend the University of Michigan, then never left the greater Ann Arbor area after graduation. Find her as Paula_Gardner on Twitter or pgardner@bridgemi.com

Lauren Gibbons
Lauren Gibbons

Lauren Gibbons covers state politics and policy for Bridge Michigan. Prior to joining Bridge's political team, she worked at MLive, where she led coverage of the state Legislature and the redistricting process, and has also worked for Michigan Information Research Service (MIRS). She has covered the ins and outs of Michigan politics for nearly a decade and has won awards both for political coverage and her work documenting the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Gibbons grew up in the Lansing area and graduated from Michigan State University, majoring in journalism and history. She currently lives in Ferndale. Reach her at lgibbons@bridgemi.com or on Twitter @LaurenMGibbons.

Arielle Hines
Arielle Hines

Arielle Hines serves as a digital production specialist for Bridge Michigan. She joined the organization in February 2021. Previously, she was a digital content producer for WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids. She also reported for the Petoskey News-Review and Wausau Daily Herald. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University. She is from Westland and lives in Grand Rapids. You can reach her at ahines@bridgemi.com

Kelly House
Kelly House

Kelly House covers Michigan environmental issues for Bridge. She joined the Bridge staff in March 2020. Previously, Kelly reported for the Oregonian, where her coverage of the environment and other topics garnered national honors and sparked state efforts to better protect Oregon’s natural resources. She has a master’s degree in environmental law from Lewis & Clark Law School and a bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University. She is from Harrison and lives in Lansing. You can reach her at khouse@bridgemi.com or on Twitter at @Kelly_M_House.

AJ Jones
AJ Jones

A.J. serves as operations director for Bridge and The Center for Michigan. Previously, he worked for a start-up toy company, a tourism bureau, a homeless shelter and an adventure travel company. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and two children. He can be reached at ajones@centerformichigan.org.

Joel Kurth
Joel Kurth

Managing Editor Joel Kurth has spent more than two decades in journalism in Michigan. He joined Bridge Michigan in 2017 after 17 years as an editor and investigative reporter at The Detroit News. 

Joel also worked at The Saginaw News and in the Upper Peninsula and has won dozens of national and state journalism awards. You can reach him via email at jkurth@bridgemi.com, or call him at 586-306-4708.

Katy Locker
Katy Locker

Katy Locker is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Center for Michigan. As COO, she works to facilitate the center’s continued growth while also continuing to provide a quality, inspiring and inclusive workplace for its employees. Most recently, Locker was executive in residence at EarlyWorks, LLC, a Detroit-based, women-led strategy and communications consulting firm. While at EarlyWorks, she assisted executives at the Center for Michigan and the New Economy Initiative to navigate 2020 and plan and communicate growth and change. Prior to that, she led philanthropic efforts in Detroit on behalf of both the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. An attorney, she holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School. In 2016, Crain’s Detroit Business named Locker one of the state’s 100 most influential women.

Isabel Lohman
Isabel Lohman

Isabel Lohman covers education for Bridge Michigan. She aims to tell stories that demonstrate how politics and policies affect people.

Previously, she was the children's issues reporter at the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee where she reported on the state's third-largest public school district's COVID-19 response. She also reported on how a community copes after losing teenagers to gun violence. Isabel wrote stories about what evidence-based violence prevention methods exist and how school districts have changed their agreements with law enforcement. 

Isabel has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Missouri - Columbia. While in Missouri, she reported for the local NPR affiliate, KBIA, and did audience engagement work for the local newspaper, the Columbia Missourian. She is from Naperville, IL and lives in Ann Arbor. You can reach her at ilohman@bridgemi.com or on Twitter at @isalohgo.

Jonathan Oosting
Jonathan Oosting

Jonathan Oosting is an award-winning Michigan political reporter covering the Capitol beat for Bridge. He has a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and has previously worked for The Detroit News and MLive Media Group. He is from Grand Rapids and lives in Lansing. You can reach him at joosting@bridgemi.com, 517-862-1079 or on Twitter @jonathanoosting.

Phil Power
Phil Power

Center for Michigan Founder and Chairman Phil Power was the owner of HomeTown Communications Network, Inc., a group of 64 community newspapers in Michigan and the Upper Midwest that together won more state and national awards for excellence than any other group in the country. He sold his newspapers in 2005 and founded The Center in 2006. Power graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan in 1960, where he was editorial director of the student newspaper, the Michigan Daily. He was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University in 1962-64. The former U-M Regent helped found the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and served as Vice Chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He welcomes your comments at ppower@thecenterformichigan.net.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson joined us from The Detroit News as Bridge’s computer-assisted reporting specialist. Mike performed a similar role at the News, where his work showed, for instance, that just under half of all Detroit property owners paid their annual tax bills. He was also part of a team at The Blade of Toledo that won national honors, including the National Headliner and Gerald Loeb awards, for exposing widespread political corruption in a scandal that came to be known as Coingate. The stories led to political reform in Ohio state government. You can reach Mike via email at mwilkinson@bridgemi.com or call him at 313-815-7068.

Yue Stella Yu
Yue Stella Yu

Yue Stella Yu covers state politics for Bridge Michigan with an interest in holding officials accountable and exploring policy impact on Michiganders. 

Previously, Stella was a statehouse political reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville. She also covered political and social issues in Missouri, Utah, Washington, D.C., and Mississippi. She holds a master's degree in investigative journalism from the University of Missouri.

Reach her at syu@bridgemi.com or follow her on Twitter @bystellayu.

David Zeman
David Zeman

David Zeman is senior editor at Bridge. Previously, he was director of content and communication at the nonprofit Education Trust-Midwest. Zeman worked for  two decades at the Detroit Free Press as an investigative reporter and editor. As editor, his reporters won some of the nation’s highest honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, the Worth Bingham Prize and the National Headliner Public Service Award. Before returning to his hometown of Detroit, Zeman was a reporter at The Miami Herald and The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer. He also spent two years as an attorney at a commercial litigation law firm in Miami. Zeman holds a law degree from the University of Miami, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and two children. You can reach David via email at dzeman@bridgemi.com, or call him at 248-210-8476.