Bridge collected six awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for online reporting in 2013 that ranged from an examination of teacher training in the state, to the politics of auto insurance, rising municipal “legacy” costs across Michigan and an intimate profile of a book collector.
At the SPJ annual awards banquet April 16, senior writer Ron French received a first-place award in the Investigative Reporting category for his “Building a Better Teacher” series, about efforts to better prepare and support Michigan educators at their jobs. French received second place in General News Reporting for “Michigan’s redshirt kindergarteners,” about the practice of holding kindergarteners back for a second year in some districts.
Staff writer Nancy Derringer won first place in General News Reporting for “Auto insurance rates drive Detroit voters Into hiding,” a look at how the city’s tops-in-the-state insurance costs encourage residents to conceal their true addresses and vote outside the city. Derringer received honorable mention in Feature Reporting for “Black Thursday, or who to throttle first at the Thanksgiving table,” about the difficulty of negotiating political divides with loved ones over the holidays.
Bridge contributors Ted Roelofs and Pat Shellenbarger earned second-place honors in Investigative Reporting for “Michigan’s Broken Legacy,” a series showing how municipalities throughout the state are having problems meeting pension and retiree healthcare obligations.
David Ashenfelter took second place in Feature Reporting for a profile of Ed Surovell, an enthusiastic collector of old books about Michigan.
Two recent additions to the Bridge staff, Chastity Pratt Dawsey and Mike Wilkinson, were recognized for reporting done for their previous employers. Dawsey won second place for investigative reporting at the Detroit Free Press, and Wilkinson shared a third-place award for breaking news reporting while at the Detroit News.