Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Bridge’s Kelly House is Journalist of Year; Bridge wins as top publication

kelly house being toasted
Bridge Michigan environment reporter Kelly House is toasted by colleagues in her Lansing office after being named Michigan Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association. (Bridge photo by Paula Gardner)
  • Environmental reporter Kelly House named Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association 
  • Bridge Michigan was named Statewide News Media Publication of the Year, among 21 awards captured Thursday by Bridge  
  • Capitol reporter Yue Stella Yu won the Rookie Writer Award, honoring the top early career journalists in Michigan  

Bridge Michigan environmental reporter Kelly House was named Michigan Journalist of the Year on Thursday by the Michigan Press Association — the third consecutive Bridge reporter to capture the award. 

Bridge Michigan collected 21 awards from MPA, including first-place honors as Statewide News Media Publication of the Year. Capitol reporter Yue Stella Yu won the Rookie Writer Award, which honors the top early career journalists in the state.  

Yue Stella Yu headshot
Bridge Michigan Capitol reporter Yue Stella Yu won the Rookie Writer Award, which honors the top early career journalist in the state, on Thursday in the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

House was cited for reporting showing how gaps in Michigan environmental policies left the state’s waters, land and residents at risk. Together with Jonathan Oosting, she led a Bridge investigation into sexual misconduct and fraud allegations against former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield. 

“Her ability to dig deep clearly demonstrates why local journalism is so important to our well-being,” Brad Thompson, a former MPA president, said of House during a Zoom call in which this year’s winners were announced. “Her continuing excellent work regarding water quality issues in Michigan made her an easy selection for Journalist of the Year.” 

House’s reporting showed how a lead water crisis in Benton Harbor was not an aberration, but a byproduct of policies that incentivized local officials across Michigan to delay maintenance on water infrastructure.  


She also reported from northern Michigan’s Higgins Lake to show how the state’s lack of a uniform septic code contributed to 1.4 million leaking systems that are fouling waterways. And Kelly traveled to Ohio to show Bridge readers what a more effective policy might look like.    

“Kelly House has the great talent to effortlessly explain how policy decisions at the state and local level impact ordinary people across the state,” said David Zeman, senior editor at Bridge Michigan. “She garners so much respect and is a natural leader, and we are honored to have Kelly at Bridge.” 

House is a Harrison native who now resides in Lansing. Before joining Bridge in March 2020, she was a reporter for the Oregonian. She is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she was managing editor of The State News student newspaper. 

This marks the third straight year a Bridge reporter captured the award. Last year, Oosting, a capitol reporter, took the honor. In 2021 data reporter Mike Wilkinson was named Journalist of the Year. (Two other staffers — Business Editor Paula Gardner and Managing Editor Joel Kurth — won the award at other publications before arriving at Bridge.)  

Other awards won Thursday by Bridge Michigan and its staff include: 

Digital Presentation- second place, Bridge Staff 

Business/Agriculture News- First place, Gardner and Wilkinson, “Rising wages, few workers: A small town in Michigan adjusts to the new economy” 

Business and Agriculture News- Second place, Gardner, Up North businesses are buying housing just to lure summer staff.”

Business and Agriculture News- Third place, House and Gardner, “After two weeks and 1,100 evacuations, mishap tests Flat Rock's loyalty to Ford” 

Feature Photo- First place, House, “Isle Royale.” 

Feature Story- Second place, Ron French, “They disagreed, but both caught hell. Welcome to Michigan's mask mandate wars.” Honorable mention, House, “On Isle Royale, fate of summer cabins pits nature against family history.” 

Government/Education News- Second place, French and House, “ Bloody drawings, a cry for help and Oxford's choice before school shooting.” 

News Enterprise Reporting- First place, House and Oosting, “Lee Chatfield sexual allegations.” 

News Photo- Third place, Elaine Cromie,”Michigan nursing home staff shortage raises peril, adds to hospital woes.” 

Public Service Award-  Second place, Sergio Martinez- Beltran, House and Oosting, Lee Chatfield investigation


Sports Writing- First place, French, “How polo is changing the soul of an Up North Michigan village.” Second place, Zahra Ahmad, “Trans teens: We need to be heard, counted. In Michigan, the backlash is harsh.” Third place, Robin Erb, “In cheering Taylor North's baseball success, a town celebrates its own.” 

Spot News Story- First place, Bridge Staff, “Abortion decision leaked - what it could mean to Michigan.” Second place, Gardner, Oosting, Wilkinson, French, and House, “Oxford High School shooting.”  Third place, Isabel Lohman and  Tracie Mauriello, ”Republicans add transgender athlete ban to Michigan education budget bill.” Honorable mention, Sergio Martinez-Beltran, “New districts give Democrats chance to flip Michigan Legislature.”

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now