Award-winning editor joins Bridge team

David Zeman, who spent two decades covering and editing some of the biggest stories in Michigan journalism, joined Bridge this week as the publication’s editor.

“Bridge has very high aspirations to serve as the go-to source in Michigan for in-depth, future-oriented journalism exploring the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of public issues,” said John Bebow, president and CEO of the Center for Michigan and Bridge. “David Zeman has a proven track record as one of the very best in this business. He is extremely well-suited to grow Bridge and we’re very fortunate to attract him.”

Zeman most recently served as director of content and communications at the Education Trust-Midwest, an education policy think tank based in Royal Oak. Previously, he served for seven years as investigative projects editor and reporter at Free Press.

At the Free Press, Zeman built a national reputation for explanatory watchdog reporting. He won state and national awards for reporting on education, politics, the legal system and business, projects that ignited reforms and legislation. As a Free Press editor, he directed projects that won journalism's highest national honors including the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, the Worth Bingham Prize and the National Headliner Public Service Award.

“I’m beyond thrilled to join Bridge,” Zeman said. “We have great ambitions and the talent and resources to build on our outstanding coverage across Michigan.”

“In two short years since we published our first issue, Bridge has grown rapidly,” Bebow said. “David’s ability to conceive and manage great journalism will help assure our publication meets the growing expectations of our readers, content partners and investors.”

Bridge is published each Tuesday and Thursday at Its reporting themes include in-depth reporting on education issues, the economy, tax and budget policy, the social safety net, and the public sector. A commentary and week in review section called “Brunch with Bridge” is published each Sunday. Most Bridge content also runs online and in print through the statewide Mlive Media Group. Additional collaborating partners include the Detroit Free Press’ “Better Michigan” section and public radio talk shows which often feature Bridge writers.

Bridge is published through the financial support of a wide range of Michigan foundations and corporate philanthropy. Those funders are listed on the Bridge home page.

Bridge content has earned a growing online readership that is on pace to exceed 1.8 million page views and 600,000 unique visitors in 2013. Bridge has earned numerous awards in the past year, including:

• A national investigative reporting award from the Education Writers Association of America.
• A full sweep of the online reporting awards category from the Metro Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
• Three awards, including “Best Website” from the Michigan Press Association.

Managing expansion is one of Zeman’s first duties. He is adding two additional reporting positions this fall and will open a Metro Detroit office for the publication.

Before the Free Press, Zeman was a reporter at The Miami Herald and The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a law degree from the University of Miami and was a litigator in Miami before turning to journalism. He has a Master's in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Zeman was born in Detroit, the son of a Detroit public school teacher.

He is a resident of Beverly Hills, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and 2 children.

Zeman can be reached at

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Scott Baker
Fri, 11/01/2013 - 6:23pm
Education Trust-Midwest eh? So much for objectivity.
Sun, 11/03/2013 - 8:07am
“Bridge has very high aspirations to serve as the go-to source in Michigan for in-depth, future-oriented journalism exploring the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of public issues,” said John Bebow, president and CEO of the Center for Michigan and Bridge. I hope Bridge achieves this goal by its efforts to improve. Some of the companies in Michigan that have such lofty asperations make a special effort to establish metrics to regularly assess the effectiveness of their efforts. They make the criteria for those metrics available to the public and they report to the public the results of the assessments, posting them online. I wonder if Bridge and the staff are so committed to their lofty goal they will act in a similar fashion and make themselves publically accountable. I wonder if Mr. Bebow would open up to readers to help him establish metrics for his lofty goal and allow them to be part of the assessment and reporting process. I wonder if Mr. Zeman will be open to an assessment, by readers to the in-depth nature, to the unbiasness, to the education of readers, of his reporting. In today's world where credible information sources are so important, the need for not only accurate information (more than just biasedly edited) but information that place the issues in context so the reader can make educated choices. I hope Bridge staff and Mr. Zeman can acheive success.