Bridge Magazine earned its fourth straight Michigan "Newspaper of the Year" award Thursday night from the Michigan Press Association.
Bridge earned 30 MPA journalism prizes altogether, including five first-place awards in open-class competition against every newspaper in the state. Among them: MPA's prestigious Public Service Award for "The Battle for Fact-Driven Politics," Bridge's year-long, full-staff watchdog coverage of the 2018 statewide elections.
"We are honored and humbled to earn recognition in competition with extremely hard-working professional journalists statewide," said Center for Michigan / Bridge Magazine President and CEO John Bebow. "Professional journalism is certainly changing, but it's far from dead. At Bridge, we're extremely grateful to the generous philanthropic supporters and thousands of donating readers who drive our nonprofit journalism every day."
In addition to the Public Service Award, Bridge earned four other first-place honors in open-class competition with all other statewide publications, including:
- Freedom of Information reporting for "Emails Cast Doubt on Michigan's Ties to Enbridge Line 5 Controversy" by staff writer Jim Malewitz and Craig Mauger, Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
- Most Innovative Storytelling for "American Dream, Mexican Nightmare: Maria's Story," by staff writer Chastity Pratt-Dawsey.
- Best Website
- Best Headline, for "Foreclosed for the cost of an iPhone. That's Life in Wayne County."
In other open-class competition, Bridge earned:
- 2nd Place in Best Writing to staff writer Ron French for "Crusading Attorney Helped Free a Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder. They Both Ended Up Dead."
- 3rd Place in Best Video Presentation to videographer Al Lilly for "Michigan Divided," a documentary of Michigan's polarized politics.
- 3rd Place in Best Coverage of the Opiate Epidemic to staff writer Ted Roelofs for "Michigan Falls Short in Treatment of Opioid Crisis."
In the large weekly newspaper competition, Bridge swept four awards categories, taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes in News Enterprise Reporting, Business/Agriculture Reporting, Feature Writing, and Photo Story.
Bridge also earned 1st, 2nd, and Honorable Mention awards in the Government/Education News category and 1st and 2nd place awards for Special Section. Along with additional 1st Place awards for Spot News Reporting, Column Writing, Feature Photo, and News Photo.
The full rundown of Bridge's awards in the large weekly newspaper competition...
- Best Columnist - First Place - Phil Power. Judges described the Center for Michigan founder as "a clear, strong voice for bipartisan reform in Michigan state government."
- Business/Agriculture News - First Place - Staff writers Jim Malewitz and Ted Roelofs, for "Rural Michigan Helped Elect Trump. Now Farmers are Sweating Tariffs."
- Business/Agriculture News - 2nd Place - Staff writer Jim Malewitz, for "Coal is Dead. A Michigan Town is at the Center of What Comes Next."
- Business/Agriculture News - 3rd Place - Staff writers Nancy Derringer and Alexandra Schmidt, for "The Disappearing Cashier, and Why it Matters."
- Business/Agriculture News - Honorable Mention - Staff writer Lindsay Van Hulle, for "Is Michigan Ready for the Next Recession?"
- Feature Photo - First Place - Staff writer Jim Malewitz, for "Flint Recovery Program Begins with a Carrot."
- Feature Story - First Place - Staff Writer Chastity Pratt-Dawsey, for "American Dream, Mexican Nightmare." Judges said: "This deep dive into issues surrounding immigration is wonderfully well written."
- Feature Story - 2nd Place - Managing editor Joel Kurth, for "Lawsuits, Dirty Tricks and an Angry Ex-Wife: Is this Detroit's Ugliest Election?"
- Feature Story - 3rd Place - Staff writer Riley Beggin, for "Driveway by Driveway, These Volunteers Aim to end Gerrymandering."
- Feature Story - Honorable Mention - Staff writer Chastity Pratt-Dawsey for "Goodbye to Delray."
- Government/Education News - 1st Place - Staff writers Ron French and Lindsay Van Hulle, for "History Gets a Conservative Twist in Michigan Social Studies Standards." Judges said: "An impressive and interesting examination of the fine print."
- Government/Education News - 2nd Place - Staff writers Ron French and Mike Wilkinson, for "Why Michigan Schools Perform So Poorly."
- Government/Education News - Honorable Mention - Staff writers Ron French and Mike Wilkinson, for "Michigan Spent $80 Million to Improve Reading. Scores Went Down."
- News Enterprise Reporting - 1st Place - Managing editor Joel Kurth and staff writers Nancy Derringer and Mike Wilkinson for coverage of Detroit neighborhoods. Judges said: "What a tremendous series for the people of Detroit. Fascinating, important work. Excellent job."
- News Enterprise Reporting - 2nd Place - Staff writers Lindsay Van Hulle and Mike Wilkinson for "Medicaid Work Rules."
- News Enterprise Reporting - 3rd Place - Staff writers Joel Kurth and Ted Roelofs for "Poor in Michigan with no ID."
- News Photo - First Place - Staff writer Jim Malewitz for "PFAS."
- Photo Story - 1st Place - Contributing photographer Anthony Lanzilote for "Preschool Works Wonders for Flint Kids. But Money is Running Out."
- Photo Story - 2nd Place - Staff writers Lindsay Van Hulle and Riley Beggin for "A Dog Fight at the Democratic Convention."
- Photo Story - 3rd Place - Contributing photographers Anthony Lanzilote and Lester Graham for "Goodbye to Delray."
- Special Section - 1st Place - To the entire Bridge staff for "Michigan Facts & Issues Guide." Judges said: "Excellent! The most comprehensive and informative piece that educates everyone who is interested in changing things for the better. Great job!"
- Special Section - 2nd Place - To staff writer Alexandra Schmidt for "How to Spot Fake News."