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Bridge’s John Bebow selected to Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

John Bebow
John Bebow retired in 2023 after a career that took him from a war in Iraq to the leadership of the state’s largest nonprofit news team. (Bridge photo by Brayan Gutierrez)
  • John Bebow is a former investigative reporter and editor who helped form Bridge Michigan in 2011
  • He retired on Dec. 31, 2023, as publisher of Bridge and will remain executive adviser through 2025
  • He is among six to be selected to the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

John Bebow, the former chief executive officer of The Center for Michigan that publishes Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit, has been selected to the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, the group announced Friday.

Bebow, 56, retired Dec. 31 as publisher of Bridge Michigan, which he helped launch in 2011. Since then, it has won more than 200 state and national awards and is recognized as one of the nation’s top nonprofit newsrooms.


Along with founder Phil Power — a 2012 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame — Bebow helped grow Bridge from a twice-weekly publication into a daily one with more than two dozen full-time employees.

“Wow. I’m going to have a lot of people up there with me, because I never did anything by myself,” said Bebow, who remains an executive adviser to Bridge through 2025.

“I’m pretty speechless. I don’t know what to say. It’s just amazing. I owe a lot of people a lot of beers.”


A former paperboy who grew up in Mason, Bebow was a decorated investigative reporter and editor before joining The Center for Michigan as its first employee in 2006. 

As a reporter, he worked at the Lansing State Journal, Traverse City Record-Eagle and Ann Arbor News before joining The Detroit News, where he covered organized crime, casino development and the Iraq War. He also worked at the Chicago Tribune and Detroit Free Press.

Bebow was also part of the launch of MLive and served as its editor in chief.

At Bridge, Bebow worked to increase government transparency and accountability in Michigan.

He helped lead a coalition of news agencies that sued the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission when it met in private to discuss legislative districts. The lawsuit led to a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that established all work by the panel should be conducted in public.


“We are so pleased the Hall of Fame recognized all that John has done for journalism and, more importantly, the state of Michigan,” said Katy Locker, Bebow’s successor as Center for Michigan CEO.

“We are all inspired to carry on and build upon his legacy.”

Bebow will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing on April 14, along with:

  • Molly Abraham, a former Detroit News and Detroit Free Press restaurant reviewer
  • Carolyn Clifford, a  WXYZ-TV journalist and anchor who as won 22 Emmys
  • Eric Freedman, the director of the Michigan State University Center for Environmental Journalism and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Detroit News. 
  • Jeff Gilbert, a radio journalist who covers the auto industry
  • Larry Lee, a retired writer, editor and vice president for Gongwer News Service

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