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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Bridge Michigan, BridgeDetroit reporters named Journalists of the Year

Three people stand in a line holding an award
BridgeDetroit’s Jena Brooker was named Young Journalist of the Year. Mike Wilkinson and Jonathan Oosting were named Journalists of the Year. (Bridge)
  • Bridge Michigan’s Jonathan Oosting and Mike Wilkinson were named Journalists of the Year 
  • BridgeDetroit’s Jena Brooker was named Young Journalist of the Year
  • Both publications also won nearly 30 awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Bridge Michigan and its sister publication, BridgeDetroit, took top honors Wednesday at the Detroit chapter of Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Excellence in Journalism awards.

Jonathan Oosting and Mike Wilkinson of Bridge Michigan were named Journalists of the Year for their investigations into Michigan’s political pork spending and Michigan State University’s response to last year’s mass shooting.

BridgeDetroit reporter Jena Brooker was named Young Journalist of the Year over finalists Simon D. Schuster, who recently came to Bridge Michigan from MLive, and Nushrat Rahman, who works for BridgeDetroit and the Detroit Free Press. 


“We are humbled and proud the judges recognized our work this year, and it’s a privilege to do this important work for Michigan,” said Joel Kurth, executive editor of Bridge Michigan. 

The awards complete a season sweep for Wilkinson and Oosting, who was recently promoted from Capitol reporter to deputy editor. They were named the Michigan Press Association’s Journalists of the Year in March. Both have won the award twice; Bridge has won the award four years in a row and has four onetime winners on staff.


"The journalists of Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit continue to inspire us with their commitment to high-quality journalism to serve our communities,” said Katy Locker, CEO of the Center for Michigan, the nonprofit publisher of Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit. 

“It's our aspiration to be a workplace where journalists can do the best work of their careers, and these awards demonstrate our fulfillment of this organizational value.”

Bridge Michigan won 16 other awards in a handful of categories:

Community/Local News Reporting: Third place, Ron French, “After LGBTQ library fight, a Michigan town tries something new: compromise.” 

Consumer Watchdog: First Place, Lauren Gibbons, “In Michigan, juvenile justice carries high cost: crippling debt for parents.” 

Digital Media Presence: Third place, Kelly House and Paula Gardner, “As automakers win incentives for EV plants, Michigan pays for.” 

Education Reporting: First place, Isabel Lohman and Mike Wilkinson, “School choice expands, gutting some rural districts.” 

Environmental Reporting: Second place, Kelly House and Paula Gardner, “Michigan's Industrial Legacy: Taxpayers fund new factories and cleanups at old ones.” 
Health Reporting: First place, Robin Erb, “Michigan's Health Care Worker Crisis.” 

Newsletter Strategy: Second place, Bill Emkow, “Bridge Michigan daily and beat-specific email newsletter” 

Racial Justice Reporting: Second place, Robin Erb, “How a Michigan hospital is acting to save lives of Black pregnant.”  

Social Media Strategy: First place, Asha Lewis, “Expanding engagement with in-depth reporting through Instagram.” 


BridgeDetroit also won 12 awards:

Collaborative Coverager: Second place, Nushrat Rahman, “Vouchers help-low-income families find housing but using them isn’t easy.” 

Community/Local News Reporting: First place, Jena Brooker, “Detroit’s cost for automotive growth: Generational Displacement.” 

Consumer Watchdog: Third place, Jena Brooker, “Hantz tree farm falls short onsolving east side blight.” 

Engagement-Driven Coverage: First place, Nushrat Rahman, “What happens when a court officer comes knocking during an eviction." 

Feature Reporting: First place, Nushrat Rahman, “From shelter to home, how one woman climbed out of homelessness.” 

Newsletter Strategy: Fourth place, Malachi Barrett, Micah Walker,Jena Brooker, Nushrat Rahman,Christine Ferretti, “BridgeDetroit Newsletters.

Sojourner Truth Award: with One Detroit and the American Black Journal for coverage of the Walk to Freedom.

Racial Justice Reporting: Third place, Malachi Barrett,”False arrest of Detroit motherreignites criticism of facial recognition tech.”

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