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Journalism Awards 2016

Society of Professional Journalists (national):

Associated Press Media Editors (national):

  • Part of a team that was awarded the Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Reporting for our work on the Flint water crisis: “All the governor’s men.”  Judges praised it as “way ahead of the national media on the investigative work, and finding the faces and voices of those who were affected as contaminated water put the population at risk.”

Michigan Press Association: 

Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Awards: 


The Women of Brotherhood in Printers Row Journal

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 9.37.58 AM“The Women of Brotherhood” keep flinging themselves from an old train bridge over the Bear River valley. The story appeared in the Sunday, Dec. 13 edition of the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal.

First paragraphs:

Debbie Somsel stood behind the counter at the Brotherhood EZ Mart flipping through a celebrity magazine. The pages fluttered from the whirring of a small fan clipped to the lotto display behind her set to high. It was 92 degrees out, which was about as tropical as it could get this far north in Michigan. It was almost noon and there had only been two customers all day, fishermen hauling boats who pulled up to the pumps where they paid with credit cards and left without stopping inside to peruse the mart’s wares of pop, beer, chips and locally made venison jerky.



Big Frank in Current

IMG_1252Big Frank = Sambuca. Deer hunting cabins. Beefcake mags. Frozen meats.

Just another day in Bear County. Big Frank was runner-up in Ann Arbor’s Current magazine’s fiction contest:

First paragraphs:

They left the windows unlocked in his wing of the Bear County Rehabilitation Facility. The authorities figured that if you ended up there, you had followed all the other court-ordered mandates and sobering up was a personal choice, not just a condition of probation.

It made it easy for Big Frank Dombreau to escape.

Read the whole story here.

The Nudists in Joyland

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.41.13 PMThe Nudists in Joyland.


First paragraphs:

Shelly Bowman had to save her mother from the nudists. One summer day Shelly’s father informed her that Margery Bowman, who previously had been best known for her rock collection and pot roasts, had run off to “some sex camp” on the shores of Lake Michigan in Bear County, near the town of Bear River.

Follow this link to Joyland.


1st Place Investigative reporting; 2nd place best feature story and best writer

The results of the aforementioned Associated Press journalism awards:

1st Place: Best Investigative Reporting

2nd Place: Best Writer

2nd Place Best Feature Story


Journalism awards

I’m a finalist for the Michigan AP Awards in the following categories: Best Writer, Best Feature Story and Best Investigative Reporting.

These nominations are based on several stories I wrote for The Ann Arbor News in 2014, including a day spent out in Howell, Michigan after some high school students sent some racist tweets and an investigative look into drug thefts at the University of Michigan Hospital system.


A Collision on Western Avenue in Anthology of Chicago

Here’s a short story from Anthology of Chicago, which features fiction and poetry set in various Chicago neighborhoods. Mutes

I met this girl at The Mutiny and we got shitfaced. I mean beyond balls-out fucking blitzed, downing shots of Jameson and sucking down those big-ass mugs of Old Style as tall as your face from chin to forehead. My ride took off. I’m not even sure how she got there. She said her name was Garbo and she was an actress. I told her I was a musician. But I was also just saying. Me and the guys had yet to play a show or really even practice much. The Routines, we called ourselves.   

Read the whole thing here. 

Contributor spotlight interview in Midwestern Gothic

The good folks over at MG recently posted a contributor’s spotlight interview I did with them. Here’s the first question:

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in earnest around 14, mostly poetry and song lyrics because I was starting a band around this time. I launched into a first novel when I was 17, written in pencil on yellow legal pads. It was a day in the life of a 17-year-old suburban hoodlum who is in a punk band and tries very hard to score 40-ouncers of malt liquor and make out with girls. I never finished it because I was too busy trying to score 40-ouncers of malt liquor and make out with girls, but I’ve been steadily working on novels, short stories, essays and journalism ever since. 

More here at Midwestern Gothic.


Lucy and the Bear in HYPERtext

BearAnother installment of life in Bear County, Michigan —  “Lucy and the Bear” in Chicago’s super-hype HYPERtext mag:

First paragraphs:

The little girl wanted to be a bear. Whenever she walked, she imagined the muscles in her arms and legs expanding, ripping off her shirt and pants and sprouting coarse, black hair. The little girl learned to growl like a bear. At night, she pressed her face into the pillow and roared so loud that the back of her throat hurt. Feeling totally free of all worry and energy, she would fall asleep instantly.

Read the whole story here. 

Welcome to Gilbertville (formerly Detroit) in Belt magazine

gilbertSome thoughts on Dan Gilbert’s berserk real estate binge in downtown Detroit for Belt magazine out of Cleveland.

First paragraphs:

To average people with average amounts of money, the very wealthy can come off like the hereditary elite did to struggling and hungry pre-democracy populations. The super-rich are the object of both envy and derision. They control our economic fates to a certain degree, and the relationship takes on a paternalistic color. We smile when they coddle us and give us treats and howl with rebellion when they taketh away. What drives our fascinating is that unlike those of us limited by our incomes and access to power, the super-rich can buy whatever they want.

Read the rest here.