The journalism faculty at Wayne State University has named Bridge Magazine its “Journalist of the Year,” saying “much of the best and significant journalism in this state is being done in Bridge.”
In a letter to Bridge, and its nonprofit publisher, The Center for Michigan, the university said the magazine “may be the most exciting thing to happen to this profession in Michigan in decades.”
The honor comes as Bridge marks its third year of publication.
Bridge was also recognized with several honors in the 2014 Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest for a variety of narratives, analyses and columns on topics ranging from education to Thanksgiving table talk.
The MPA chose winners from 119 Michigan publications which submitted more than 3,400 entries, the organization announced Sunday.
Bridge earned the top two awards in the Weekly/Specialty news enterprise reporting category:
Senior Staff Writer Ron French’s series, “Building a better teacher,” won first place
Bridge freelance writer Pat Shellenbarger and staff writer Nancy Derringer took second place for another series, “The Incredible Vanishing Middle Class.”
The top two prizes in the Weekly/Specialty feature story category also went to Bridge:
Judges awarded first prize to French’s series, “13 Miles to Marshall,” about the mostly positive turns that followed the merger of two Michigan high schools, one mostly white and one mostly black, for budget reasons.
Derringer won second place for “Black Thursday, or Who to Throttle First at the Thanksgiving Table,” a light look at how to – or how not to – mix political gravy with turkey and mashed potatoes.
Derringer also earned an honorable mention in this category for her article, “Fortress Grosse Pointe,” which explored some uncomfortable discussions on school choice along the Detroit and Grosse Pointe border.
John Schneider, a contributor to Bridge’s Sunday commentary feature “Brunch with Bridge,” won second place in the MPA’s Weekly/Specialty local columnist category.
Judges were particularly taken by the writing in French’s “13 Miles to Marshall,” a series told in four chapters about the merger of two public high schools from two communities – one black and low-income, the other white and high-income. The piece also earned an honorable mention in the Herbert Spencer Best Writing contest that judged writing quality across all publication sizes and formats.