Announcing the 2018 Michigan Truth Tour ‒ Get the facts, get engaged.

If you care about Michigan’s future, if you care about real facts in today’s climate of social-media-driven fake news and hyper-partisan politics, the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine aim to be your home for informed and engaged citizenship in the important statewide election year of 2018.

For the first time in eight years, the governorship and all 148 seats in the Michigan Legislature are up for election at the same time in November.

Today we announce the launch of the nonpartisan “2018 Michigan Truth Tour” and “Michigan Solutions Summits,” part of a year-long focus by the  Center and Bridge to engage and inform Michigan residents on the most  critical issues facing the state, while fighting fake news and fake politics throughout this campaign year.   

Phil Power column: Feel ignored in Lansing? Let us help you find your voice

MICHIGAN TRUTH SQUAD 

Our popular political fact-checking service launched last week with the vetting of campaign claims by four leading candidates for Michigan governor. You can depend on Truth Squad to fact-check candidates’ (and interest groups’) commercials, websites, social media feeds, public statement, and even the mailers that will land on your front porch. Truth Squad will help citizens sort the pronouncements and claims on all sides of politics – including the races for governor, attorney general, Michigan House and Senate, and potential ballot issues. And you can help with that effort. Tell us! what claims you’ve heard that seem questionable and we’ll take the best tips to fact-check.

Related Michigan Truth Squad coverage

MICHIGAN SOLUTIONS SUMMITS – RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY:

In March, the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine will gather dozens of experts and stakeholders at locations across the state to factually ground the 2018 elections in the biggest substantive issues facing Michigan. These Solutions Summits, open to the public, include:

  • Wednesday, March 14: Solutions Summit: A Great Place to Live & Good Government: Don’t miss this day-long discussion about Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure, the health of cities, balancing economic growth and natural resources protection, and the numerous ballot issues voters may face in November. Location: The Huntington Club conference facility inside Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Reserve your seat today
  • Thursday, March 22: Solutions Summit: An Educated Michigan: Don’t miss this half-day morning conference on Michigan’s education performance crisis and what to do about it. Co-hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan, the event will feature education experts, lessons from other states and a call to action for 2018 candidates to develop robust policy platforms for Michigan’s education future. Location: The General Motors Auditorium at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Reserve your seat today.
  • Thursday, March 22: Solutions Summit: Personal Prosperity: Don’t miss this half-day afternoon conference featuring business, philanthropic and community leaders discussing strategies to best ensure economic opportunity and prosperity for all Michigan residents. Location: The General Motors Auditorium at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Reserve your seat today
  • Friday, March 23: Solutions Summit: An Educated Michigan: Don’t miss this half-day morning conference on Michigan’s education performance crisis and what to do about it. Co-hosted by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature education experts, lessons from other states and a call to action for 2018 candidates to develop robust policy platforms for Michigan’s education future. Location: Downtown Grand Rapids. Reserve your seat today.

MICHIGAN TRUTH TOUR – COMING TO A VENUE NEAR YOU

Be on the lookout for our mobile news and citizenship van on Michigan’s highways and byways all summer! The Michigan Truth Tour plans up to 100 stops across the state from April through Election Day in November. The Center for Michigan is partnering with community leaders to hold town hall meetings and documentary screenings, discuss substantive local and state issues, distribute Michigan Facts & Issue Guides, give you an opportunity to meet our spokespuppy Truth Dog, profile communities in Bridge, and cover and fact-check prominent campaign events in your area. Contact the Center’s Public Engagement Team today to book a Truth Tour stop in your community!

Related coverage: How to spot fake news

THE MICHIGAN FACTS & ISSUES GUIDE

This week, Governor Rick Snyder will give his last State of the State address. At the same time, the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine will publish our State of the State. The Michigan Facts & Issues Guide will provide comprehensive facts, figures, and context on the major issues that will define Michigan’s future. Presented in a quick and easy-to-understand format, this nonpartisan guide can factually ground candidates of all parties and is designed to help voters sort fact from fiction during campaign season. Bridge will publish the online guide on Tuesday. The Center for Michigan will print and distribute thousands of copies through public libraries, festivals, campaign events and other public venues throughout the year.  You can read the full Michigan Facts & Issues Guide online here.

MAKING CITIZENSHIP FUN

The Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine will soon launch three fun and engaging ways for Michigan residents to learn about state issues and compete for prizes.

  • “YOU BE THE GOVERNOR SIMULATION GAME”: How would you lead Michigan if you were governor? Our online simulation game will allow you to build the kind of Michigan you want. You can cut taxes, raise taxes, cut government spending, or invest more in the priorities you think matter most. You’ll see how your choices would change Michigan’s state budget. You’ll see the kinds of political victories you could claim if your choices were enacted. You’ll see the criticism you’d have to endure from political opponents. And you’ll be able to share your version of Michigan through social media. “You Be the Governor” will debut later this winter and continue all year.
  • MICHIGAN TRIVIA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Think you know a lot about Michigan? The Michigan Trivia Championships in April and August are your chance to prove it – and win prizes! The Center for Michigan is partnering with a leading Michigan trivia company – Sporcle – to launch trivia competitions in venues across Michigan. Dates and locations will be announced in Bridge Magazine and on social media soon. Hint: Read Bridge and the Michigan Facts & Issues Guide to get a leg up on the competition!
  • MICHIGAN PROPHECY CONTEST: Prove yourself among Michigan’s best armchair prognosticators and win prizes! The Center for Michigan will take entries from citizens everywhere throughout the 2018 Michigan Truth Tour. Watch for contest launch at the Issues Summits in March. And enter any time you see the Truth Tour van all summer.

“MICHIGAN DIVIDED” DOCUMENTARY

Bridge spent the past year chronicling the lives of Michigan voters across the political spectrum. From the Upper Peninsula, to Lansing, to Flint, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Jackson, the resulting, hour-long “Michigan Divided” documentary captures our deeply divided culture, but also brings partisans together and illustrates how, at heart, there are also some values that are shared. The documentary will debut at our Issues Summits in March and will be shown frequently during the Michigan Truth Tour. Watch for exact viewing times and locations in Bridge and on social media.

Related: Preview "Michigan Divided" with a series of video clips here

BRIDGE MAGAZINE COVERAGE EXPANSIONS

By popular demand, Bridge recently launched an in-depth, twice-monthly Michigan Environment Watch report. Because, you Bridge readers, have consistently asked for deeper coverage of Great Lakes and natural resources issues. You’ve also asked for deeper watchdog coverage of Lansing policy issues, the Legislature, and 2018 political campaigns. In response, we’ve launched a new Lansing Watchdog reporting team. And, to continue to grow Bridge’s reach, we’ve hired one of Michigan’s most experience online and social media audience experts. We’re very excited to introduce you to our new hires here.

Why are we doing all this?

Because making Michigan a better place by engaging and informing the public is the mission of the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine. We’re nonprofit, nonpartisan, data-driven and deeply rooted in this state.

We’re not concerned with partisan politics or who wins elections. Instead, we’re concerned with doing everything we can to assure that candidates of all stripes are focused on real facts and real issues central to a prosperous future in Michigan. And we’re concerned with providing Michigan’s busy, hard-working voters with credible, convenient and engaging facts, news, and analysis to help you navigate the state’s economy, education system, government – and the choices you face in the ballot box.

So… Welcome to the 2018 Michigan Truth Tour and please join in our commitment to combating political spin with facts, context and truth-telling.

It’s going to be quite a ride!

 

Like what you’re reading in Bridge? Please consider a donation to support our work!

It takes time, money, and hard work to inform Michigan readers and leaders with substantive, in-depth, future-oriented news and analysis. If you value our journalism, please consider a one-time donation or a monthly contribution. It takes just a moment to donate here. Please join the thousands of Bridge readers who are helping grow and sustain our nonprofit, in-depth public service journalism in Michigan.

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Comments

Rich
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 8:48am

Has Bridge ever surveyed and recorded the attendees at any of their seminars to determine their party, political bent, or any other characteristic that divides us such as income level, age, nationality, or sex? From what I observed by attending one town hall, it was pretty much populated by people of one political persuasion, and a pretty narrow age group. How would the results stand up to what would be considered a neutral group?

If the input is narrowly focused, then the result is not valid.

Amber DeLind, C...
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 4:30pm

Hi Rich! Thanks so much for asking about the Center's public engagement. I'm the public engagement director at the Center, and ensuring that the demographics of our engagement campaigns match those of the state is priority number one for us. As you say, if they don't , the results surely can't claim to represent the people of Michigan. To see our previous results, including data by demographic group, please visit http://thecenterformichigan.net/citizen-agenda-reports/ and read any of our previous citizen agenda reports that have come from our engagement campaigns. We hope to see you on the Truth Tour!

Rich
Mon, 01/29/2018 - 4:33pm

I read several of the reports. Saw age, race, county, etc. No where did I see political leaning. What is truth to one party may be fake news to the other.

Maggie Singer
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 8:51am

I am new to Bridge. I am very impressed with what I have read. It would be great if you could come to Traverse City! I would love to meet the truth dog!

Amber DeLind, C...
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 4:31pm

Hi Maggie, we would love to come to Traverse City! Please email me at adelind@thecenterformichigan.net and we can talk about the best time for us to do so.

Emilia Askari
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 9:44am

Great idea, Bridge! I hope this creative approach to sharing news will engage many Michiganders, giving them the facts they need and a platform for civil discussion before we vote in November.

Sarah B
Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:36pm

Wow, thanks for the Info that is being provided. I am new to the Bridge and look forward to all the updates to make the best choices in the fall.

Steve Williams
Tue, 01/23/2018 - 12:13pm

Grand Rapids Public Schools spends a total of approximately $320 million ( grps.org, budget documents) to educate approximately 16,000 students ( grps.org). Or $20,000 per student. Not including expenditures by Kent Intermediate School District on these students and the underpayment of retirement benefits to MSPERS. In total GR spends close to $25,000 per student. Fact #68 does not look like the truth to me. What effort was put into investigating this fact or the truth behind it?

Allie Schmidt, ...
Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:43am

Hi, Steve! Thanks for the question. I am the Outreach Coordinator at the Center. If you want to see the source of each and every one of our 100 Michigan Facts, check out "Appendix - The Facts on Our Facts," available here: http://www.bridgemi.com/special-report/appendix-facts-our-facts
As for the specific source for Fact #68, that came from the National Center for Education Statistics. You can click here to examine the chart detailing Michigan's average per-pupil expenditures over time: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_236.65.asp?current=yes

Rich
Sun, 01/28/2018 - 4:07am

The headline was abbreviated. It should have read "Get the Facts, Get Engaged, Get the Liberal Perspective".

Dorothy
Mon, 02/19/2018 - 8:58pm

The Bridge is doing a great job covering lots of topics over the next month or so. What about the Opioid Crisis and the fact that Michigan has a mental health crisis with funds being drastically cut for Community Mental Health which includes the Developmentally & Intellectually Disabled. Why isn't any of your list of speakers discussing what Michigan is going to do about this?

Karen Butler
Tue, 03/13/2018 - 8:13pm

Go, real people with real info, go!