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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Bridge Michigan begins new generation of leadership, service with editor changes

Joel Kurth headshot
Joel Kurth, Bridge’s new executive editor of impact and enterprise, has served as managing editor since 2017.
  • Managing Editor Joel Kurth promoted to executive editor of impact and enterprise; Senior Editor David Zeman retiring early next year
  • Bridge is launching a national search for an executive editor for innovation and daily news
  • Editor expansion to include the hiring of two deputy editors

Award-winning Michigan journalist Joel Kurth takes the helm as Bridge Michigan’s executive editor of impact and enterprise today, spearheading an expansion to lead Michigan’s premier nonprofit news service to next-generation growth and public service. 

Kurth has served as Bridge Michigan managing editor since 2017 after 17 years at The Detroit News, where he was an editor and investigative reporter.  

As Kurth is promoted, Bridge Michigan launches a national search for a newsroom leadership partner – a new position of executive editor for innovation and daily news. We posted and began accepting applications for that position today. 

“We couldn’t have a more focused, knowledgeable, and committed newsroom leader than Joel Kurth,” said Center for Michigan / Bridge Michigan CEO Katy Locker. “He’s been a driver of our growth in quality and audience ever since he joined us. And in casting a wide net for a partnering executive editor for innovation and daily news, we signal Bridge Michigan’s steadfast commitment to a long and entrepreneurial future focused on serving this state and all its residents in ways that will continually innovate in its delivery of news and information to Michiganders.”

Bridge Michigan will also soon announce openings for two deputy editors to expand capacity as the publication aims to deepen both daily statewide coverage and in-depth public service and investigative journalism. Launched in 2011, Bridge Michigan is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit civic news organizations and has earned hundreds of journalism awards.  

Kurth is charged with delivering impact and change through reporting, as he has done throughout his career. He and his teams have produced some of Michigan’s most distinctive journalism in the past decade, from the water shutoff crisis in Detroit and the COVID health pandemic to the fallout from the 2020 presidential election and dirty instruments at the Detroit Medical Center.

Kurth is a graduate of Northeastern University who has also worked at newspapers in St. Ignace and Saginaw and has received more than 50 state and national awards. He lives in West Bloomfield with his wife, a Detroit News editor and columnist, two children, and his dog, Red.

Senior Editor David Zeman
Senior Editor David Zeman, who came to Bridge in 2013, is retiring early next year.

The leadership expansion comes as Senior Editor David Zeman prepares to retire in early 2024. Zeman came to Bridge in 2013 after an illustrious career at the Detroit Free Press as an editor and reporter. Zeman led coverage of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that won the paper the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Zeman helped build Bridge’s brand of editorial excellence and authoritative coverage of public policy and government. During his tenure, Bridge won five Publication of the Year awards from the Michigan Press Association, while its reporters captured three straight Michigan Journalist of the Year honors.

“David Zeman’s legacy here includes a distinctive talent to shape stories into great reads to help readers make sense of the unprecedented pace of civic events over the past decade,” said Bridge Michigan Publisher John Bebow. “Day in day out, no one has worked harder on Bridge journalism. We wish him the best in retirement.”

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