I’m very excited to have been named Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Advance, a new hard-hitting news site dedicated to covering politics and politics across Michigan. It’s also the new home of my column! We will also run insightful progressive commentary from a variety of writers. You can sign up for our free daily newsletter here.
Here is some more information about the Advance and the three veteran reporters who will be on board:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 30, 2018
Hard-Hitting, Nonprofit News Site Launches Covering Politics and Policy across Michigan
The Michigan Advance Features In-Depth Stories, Blog Posts and Top-Notch Progressive Commentary
LANSING — A new hard-hitting, nonprofit news site will launch on Tuesday, December 4. The Michigan Advance is a free online publication covering politics and policy across the state that features insightful progressive commentary.
The Advance is founded upon the belief that journalists have the biggest impact by reporting close to home, explaining what’s happening in our state and communities — and why. Our publication, staffed by four experienced journalists, is based in downtown Lansing. As part of our mission to reach readers beyond the six square blocks surrounding the Capitol, we have reporters dedicated to covering Southeast Michigan and West Michigan.
The Advance is free of advertising and free to readers. It is part of a national effort — The Newsroom — to fill the void caused by corporate news operations cutting their state capitol bureaus. The site will feature in-depth news stories, a blog, guest columns and social media updates. We will have a free, daily newsletter, “Advance at a Glance.” The Advance will also be the home for commentary by longtime Michigan political columnist and former Inside Michigan Politics Publisher Susan J. Demas, who will serve as Editor-in-Chief.
“The Advance will be a news source unlike any other in Michigan and tell stories that others don’t. Political and policy stories are often written solely for people at the top: politicians, insiders and corporate leaders. There’s no shortage of horse race coverage, access journalism and gossipy roundups of campaign intrigue. Journalists at the Advance don’t view politics as an amusing game. We talk to people whose problems are being ignored by our leaders. We understand that decisions made at every level of government, big and small, have a profound impact on people’s lives. And we don’t believe that reporting on policy has to be boring,” said Michigan Advance Editor-in-Chief Susan J. Demas.
“I truly believe that the future of journalism is at the state and local level,” Demas added. “That’s where we can make the biggest impact on people’s lives. Local newspapers, TV stations and radio stations have laid off thousands of journalists — and many have closed down completely. The need for unflinching and engaging watchdog reporting is more critical than ever.”
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Introducing the Michigan Advance staff:
Susan J. Demas is a 17-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.
Ken Coleman serves as Senior Reporter, covering Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
Nick Manes reports on West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.
Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper. In his spare time, he likes Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain, as well as reading and writing music.
Michigan Advance Mission Statement:
The Michigan Advance is a hard-hitting, nonprofit news site covering politics and policy across the state. We feature in-depth stories, blog posts and social media updates, as well as top-notch progressive commentary. The Advance is free of advertising and free to our readers.
We wholeheartedly believe that journalists have the biggest impact by reporting close to home, explaining what’s happening in our state and communities — and why. Michigan has hundreds fewer reporters than just a couple decades ago. The result is too many stories falling through the cracks.
Why We’re Different
The Advance tells stories that other outlets don’t. The people we write for are the heart of our work. We seek to connect what’s going on in Michigan’s Capitol to what’s going on in people’s lives. We talk to people whose problems are being ignored by our leaders. We also explore solutions, talking to those with innovative ideas for policy changes that improve the lives of the many, not just the few.
Too often, political stories are written solely for people at the top: politicians, insiders and corporate leaders. There’s no shortage of horse race coverage, access journalism and gossipy roundups of campaign intrigue. Journalists at the Advance don’t view politics as an amusing game. We understand that decisions made at every level of government, big and small, have a profound impact on people’s lives. We don’t believe that reporting on policy has to be boring.
The Advance takes a bottom-up approach to reporting, starting with issues and stories that impact people outside the six square blocks surrounding the Capitol. You need look no further than the Flint water crisis or Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal at MSU to see the damage that can be done when people aren’t listened to. Low-income people, LGBTQs, immigrants, women and people of color often don’t see their experiences reflected in the media. The Advance takes an inclusive approach and strives to feature voices too often neglected.
An Experienced Team
Our staff of four experienced journalists is based in downtown Lansing, but you’ll rarely find us hanging around the office. We believe in good, old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting and aim to cover communities across the state.
The Advance is part of a national effort, The Newsroom, which is supported by a coalition of donors through the Hopewell Fund, a 501c(3) public charity that supports innovative and effective public interest projects. The Advance retains editorial independence.