Michigan Radio Newsroom

News and Production Staff

Michigan Radio offers internships in its newsroom and production departments. Check our employment page for current openings.

Newsroom

Julia Field

Julia recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Urban Studies. Having spent the last two summers interning for a Detroit nonprofit and a NGO in India, she decided to dabble in online news journalism. As a university student, she was involved in the student organization, Human Rights Through Education and the Detroit Partnership.  Although she was raised in rural West Michigan, much of her time at the university was spent either in Detroit or studying it. She is interested in urban planning and policy, community redevelopment, and public health issues. After her internship this summer, she leaves for the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Rebecca Guerriero

Rebecca Guerriero is a senior at the University of Michigan studying in the Program in the Environment (Environmental Science). She is a Graham Sustainability Scholar and focuses her studies on water resource management and sustainable city growth and development. Rebecca is from Northville, Michigan and loves everything “Pure Michigan” – it is her dream to visit every Great Lakes lighthouse. Rebecca is writing her Senior Honors Thesis on sustainable golf course design and management. She works at NOAA’s Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center as a research assistant and webmaster and as a summer orientation Peer Academic Advisor for the Honors Program. She enjoys coffee, camping, traveling, the Italian language, the West Wing, and a good stack of books. Her perfect idea of happiness is playing pond hockey with the 1980 Olympic Team. After graduation, Rebecca plans to trek across Canada and watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting for the first time.

Lindsay Hall

Lindsay Hall is a senior studying Political Science and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa and moved with her family to Ann Arbor when at five years old. Last winter term Lindsay was fortunate enough to return to South Africa to study at the University of Cape Town and pursue interests in early childhood education and development as a mentor at a local primary school. She is excited for the opportunity to join the Michigan Radio team this semester and experience what it is like to work within the field of communications.

Alana Holland

Alana Holland is finishing  double major degrees in Broadcasting and Journalism from Grand Valley State University before she takes over the reporting world. Even though she's from the small-town Gaylord, Michigan, she has a heart for big cities and loves travel. In her college, Alana is an anchor and reporter for the student-run TV news station, GV Today, was Layout and Design Editor for the newspaper, the Lanthorn, and has interned for Wood TV-8 and Thunder 94.5 radio. Alana spent a summer studying theater in London, her first taste at travel and learning about culture firsthand. Her goal is to work in international journalism, hoping to eventually become the next Christiane Amanpour. She is a self admitted coffee addict, fashion fanatic, vegetarian, photographer, and lover of all things British. In the next ten years she hopes to ride Asian elephants in India, publish a book, attend a New York Fashion Week, hike Machu Picchu, and learn cook. Ultimately though, she enjoys hearing and telling people's stories, and hopes to have what she does with her work improve other people’s lives.

Sarah Kerson

Sarah is an Ann Arbor native and a graduate of Community High School, where she was an editor of its online student newspaper. She spent her freshman year of college at the University of Vermont studying the social sciences and worked as an investigative reporter for UVM's student newspaper. Sarah also enjoys writing poetry, and was a finalist in the 2012 Ann Arbor Youth Poetry Slam. She is excited to expand her journalism and media experience to public radio.

Melanie Kruvelis

Melanie is a rising senior at the University of Michigan, studying Political Science. A Michigan native, Melanie serves as the Editorial Page Editor at The Michigan Daily, managing a staff of more than 40 columnists, bloggers and editorial board members during the school year. Last winter, Melanie spent five months in Madrid, taking classes at a local university and traveling as much as humanly possible on the weekends. She enjoys all things 90s, ukuleles, and the oxford comma.

Lucy Perkins

Lucy is from Suttons Bay, Michigan and is a senior at the University of Michigan, studying English and Communications. She has worked as an Arts writer for The Michigan Daily, as a writing workshop facilitator for the Prison Creative Arts Project, and as an editorial intern at Traverse Magazine. Last year, Lucy spent five months in Buenos Aires, Argentina taking classes and squeezing in weekend travels whenever possible. While in Buenos Aires, she interned for an English newspaper, The Argentina Independent. Lucy is interested in print and radio, and wants to tell real stories, especially about people who may not otherwise have a voice. She enjoys reading, eating barbecue pizza, and playing with puppies.

Dr. Nishant Sekaran

Nishant has been a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Michigan Medical School, and is a staff physician at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. He has an M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University, and an M.Science in Health Related Research from the University of Michigan. Among his peer reviewed publications are “Hot unstable angina—is it worse than subacute unstable angina?” You can schedule an office visit with Dr. Sekaran to get the answer to that question. 

Chris Zollars

Chris is your basic born again journalist.  He reawakened his enthusiasm for radio news after years in the corporate sector writing and producing video and interactive marketing and training projects.  He holds a Masters in Journalism from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University.  Chris started his journalism travels at his town’s daily paper as a teenager and during his undergrad also worked at SIU-Edwardsville’s NPR affiliate (WSIE-FM).   Chris then served five years as a commissioned officer in the US Coast Guard and was Managing Editor/Internal Relations Manager during the first Gulf War.  While in graduate school, he worked in the newsroom at WDWS-AM/WHMS-FM in Champaign, Illinois, and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications specializing in science/technology stories.  He and his wife live up near Fenton with their 2 dogs, 2 birds, and 7 horses.

State of Opportunity

Kimberly Springer

Kimberly is excited to be back in public radio after several years spent teaching at the university and researching level in the US and abroad in London. She is currently a student in UM's School of Information Master of Science program specializing in social computing and archives/records management. Kimberly’s goal is to work in social media and/or digital archives and curation. To that end, she spends most of her spare time "curating" her Spotify collection, waiting for Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead to come back, and planning for zombie apocalypse. Ask her: she has a plan.

Stateside

Austin Davis

Austin Davis is a sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a degree in German Language and Communications Studies. He grew up not too far away from Ann Arbor in Rochester Hills, Michigan where his family still resides.  Although he is unsure of his future career path, he hopes to do work in global reporting/journalism and multi-media production. Although this is Austin’s first time working in a radio station, he has previous experience writing for an online publication and working on local political campaigns. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time here at Michigan Radio, and is excited for the further prospects of this internship.

Operations

Chrissy Zamaron

Crissy is the Operations Intern at Michigan Radio and a senior at U of M earning her BA in both English Language and Literature and Spanish Language and Culture. She has a passion for the art of storytelling and is a genuine NPR fanatic. After graduating this May, she hopes to stay in the public radio family by gaining a position at any one of her favorite NPR shows. Outside of her internship, Crissy loves Latin dancing, singing and endless hours of television crime dramas.

Pages

Auto/Economy
4:55 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

75 years ago: Flint autoworkers clash with police

National Guard troops were called in following a confrontation between strikers and Flint police on Jan. 11, 1937
Library of Congress

Last month, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody visited Flint to report on the 75th anniversary of the start of the Flint sit down strike, a work stoppage at multiple GM facilities beginning in 1936, which Carmody says was "pivotal to the birth of the United Auto Workers," and had profound implications for American organized labor in general.

Carmody writes:

Read more
Offbeat
3:56 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Asian buyers want muskrat furs, Michigan trappers cashing in

user gerrybuckel Flickr

As Asian economies continue to expand, so do the tastes of Asian consumers, and as Maria Amante with the Grand Rapids Press reports, a steady increase in the overseas popularity of coats made from muskrat fur has meant Michigan trappers have been fetching higher prices for their catches.

Amante writes:

Asian countries are buying raw material for fur garments from Michigan trappers, and muskrats — one of the most popular furs with foreign buyers — are among the most abundant fur-bearing animals in the state.

“The Chinese can’t get enough of them,” said Kevin Syperda, owner of Sy’s Fur Shed, a fur buyer in Pierson. “We call (muskrat) the poor man’s mink.”

Syperda says muskrats defy economics: They are in high supply and their demand is high, yet the price for them is going up for the third consecutive year.

Amante explains that "muskrat pelts fetch as much as $10, depending on quality," and that "trappers, on average, catch between 50 and 100 each season."

For the less-squeamish, the story also includes a slideshow and video of the process of skinning and drying a muskrat pelt.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
5:05 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer says sexism is rampant at the State Capitol

State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) East Lansing
http://whitmer.senatedems.com/

Michigan State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in today's Detroit Free Press. She writes that Senator Rick Jones' (R-Grand Ledge) comparison of a prominent female public relations professional to a "hooker" is one of many incidents of sexism that she's witnessed in Lansing.

Read more
Politics
4:07 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

ACLU moves forward with challenge to domestic partner benefits ban

Last month, shortly after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a ban on healthcare benefits for the domestic partners of some public employees, the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement decrying the governor's decision and promised to "challenge the constitutionality of the law on behalf of families who will lose their health protections."

Now it looks like they are moving forward with that promise, according to a story from the Associated Press.

The AP reports that the ACLU "says it will file a lawsuit to challenge" the law and that the group "will discuss the case at a news conference Thursday in Detroit."

- John Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Offbeat
4:28 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Train derails in Kalamazoo, injuries and spills avoided

According to a report by Simon A. Thalmann with the Kalamazoo Gazette, a freight train derailed this morning in Kalamazoo when it encountered a damaged section of track, but Grand Elk Railroad officials say all rail cars remained upright and nothing was spilled as a result of the accident.

Thalmann reports:

"It gets cold and the rail gets brittle," a Grand Elk official said of the section of rail that broke. "The circumstances were right."

A section of rail about 60 feet long broke, with one rail protruding upward and the other snapped and lying in snow.

The train was carrying liquid clay to Graphic Packaging when it derailed at around 10 a.m., according to railroad officials.

Photos of the derailment by the Gazette's Fritz Klug can be found here.

Politics
3:37 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Republican state lawmakers propose reductions in Michigan university boards

Some Republican state lawmakers are questioning whether each state university in Michigan needs its own board of trustees.

State Rep. Bill Rogers is sponsoring a proposal to evaluate the need for separate boards.  Rogers said  it's part of an effort to make college education less expensive and more efficient.

Mike Boulus, the executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, said  having separate boards allows universities to make quick decisions.

Read more
Environment
9:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Michigan homeowners improve on energy efficiency

The team installs the blower door test.
Photo by Meg Cramer

by Tanya Ott for The Environment Report

It’s cold outside… and maybe inside, if your house isn’t properly insulated. Home energy efficiency is a big issue and a new study gives Michigan kudos for making it a priority.

Randy Rice has lived in his Southgate, Michigan house for 13 years. He’s lived there – and often shivers there…

“Certainly believe that the air was leaking upstairs. We could feel some breezes. I just saw dollars flying out the window.”

Rice replaced the windows five years ago and it helped… but he still worries about leaks around the windows. So he called in...

“Amanda Godward, with Ecotelligent Homes. I’m the owner and energy auditor.”

Godward’s first step is to interview customers like Randy Rice. She takes house measurements, checks out insulations in the attic and windows. Then…. she goes all high tech with the “thermal infrared scan.”

“We use this to find flaws in the insulation, in the walls, without having to do any destructive testing.”

She turns on a fan that pulls all of the air out of the room. It creates a vacuum so cold air from the outside is pulled inside. She can see, on a scanner, all the little cracks and holes where air is sneaking in.

Read more
2011
12:00 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

A look back: Michigan Radio's coverage of the economy and housing

Image by John Klein Wilson Michigan Radio

As 2011 comes to an end, we look back at some of the economic and housing stories we covered in the last year. The housing slide slowed in the last year, but Michigan was still near the top of the home foreclosure list. The decrease in home values continued to have grave implications for local governments reliant on property taxes (One caller described the fall in housing prices in his six-word story, "$80,000 to $11,000, Northwest Detroit").

In six words or less, here's how people categorized their housing experiences in Michigan:

And here's a small sampling of Michigan Radio stories about the economy and housing:

Read more
2011
2:53 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

A look back: Michigan Radio's arts and culture coverage

Image by John Wilson Michigan Radio

As part of Michigan Radio's end-of-year look back at some of the more notable stories, here's a collection of 2011 arts and culture stories that we feel deserve another look:

Read more
2011
4:06 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

A look back: Detroit

user steveburt1947 / Flickr

Michigan Radio is giving 2011 a sendoff by taking a look back at some of the year's popular and important stories. As part of this retrospective series, here's a small collection of stories we covered about Detroit. You can also weigh in. Tell us your pick for the most important Detroit story this year (if you want to peruse all the stories we've covered in Detroit, you can find them organized under our Detroit tag):

Read more
Workers compensation
4:07 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Michigan workers' comp: quick facts and possible changes

user gadgetgirl Flickr

Potential large-scale changes to Michigan's workers' compensation laws now hinge on a stroke of Governor Rick Snyder's pen.

The Associated Press reports that Snyder "will likely support the bill pending final review."

In case you haven't been keeping up on the issue, here's a list of important facts about workers' compensation in Michigan from Changing Gears Public Insight Analyst, Sarah Alvarez.

We've also highlighted one of the more controversial changes that could take effect should the governor sign off on the bill.

5 things to know about workers' compensation:

Read more
Politics
3:47 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Detroit councilman Gary Brown says "stop the bleeding"

Gary Brown, Detroit City Council President Pro Tem .
Courtesy of Detroit City Council website

The state Department of Treasury continues its review of the City of Detroit’s finances.

While Governor Rick Snyder insists he doesn’t want to see Detroit under and emergency manager…the city doesn’t seem to be making much headway in fixing its financial issues.

Detroit City Council President Pro Tem, Gary Brown has some ideas on how the city can save money and cut spending. He spoke with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.

 

Politics
5:21 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Lesbian family addresses Troy Mayor, city council (VIDEO)

A lesbian family addresses Troy Mayor Janice Daniels at a city council meeting on December 5, 2011.
screen grab from YouTube video

Last week, Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported that Troy Mayor Janice Daniels faced protesters outside a city council meeting who were angered over homophobic remarks Daniels posted on Facebook before she was elected Mayor.

A video making rounds on the Internet shows that inside the council chambers, Daniels heard cordial but tough comments from a local family, a married lesbian couple and their daughters.

Take a look:

- John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
2:07 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

$3.6 million in federal funds to fix Michigan road

According to a press release from the office of Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the federal Department of Transportation has granted $3.6 million to the St. Clair County Road Commission for repairs on a section of Smiths Creek Road. Work will take place on a 2.6 mile stretch of the road and will include replacement of a bridge spanning the Pine River.

From the press release:

Read more
Environment
3:02 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Kennecott mine opponents to appeal judge's go-ahead ruling

Drilling began at the Eagle Mine this past September. This aerial photo was taken in September of 2011.
Kennecott Eagle Minerals

Four groups are planning to appeal a recent court ruling that cleared the way for Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. to go ahead with mining operations in the U.P., the Associated Press reports:

The opposition coalition was filing paperwork Monday asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn a decision last month by Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield. She ruled that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality acted properly by issuing Kennecott a permit for the project in northwestern Marquette County.

Last month, Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams explored some of the possible environmental effects the mine could create and spoke with  opponents and representatives of the mining company:

Michelle Halley is an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation. It’s one of the groups that challenged (the initial) permit. She says they’re concerned about the type of mining that will happen in the Eagle Mine. It’s sometimes called sulfide mining.

“The rock at Eagle is extremely acid producing, very high in sulfides and so once that rock is exposed to air and water, there’s really no debate it will begin producing acid.”

That acid is sulfuric acid. According to the Environmental Protection Agency... that acid can cause heavy metals to leach from rocks. The resulting fluid can be highly toxic to people and wildlife.

This is called acid mine drainage. On its website, Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company says there is a risk that it can happen. But the company says it’s taking a number of steps to reduce that risk.

Matt Johnson is with Kennecott. He says the company will use a state of the art water treatment plant to purify the mine water using reverse osmosis.

“The entire mine site is designed to control water with water protection in mind. Which is why it’s the company’s commitment not to discharge any water back into the environment until it meets safe drinking quality water (sic) standards.”

And he says the state is also requiring them to do that.

Michigan Radio's Mark Brush followed up with an examination of what the state might gain financially from the project.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Occupy Movement
1:56 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Occupy Lansing leaves park, plans to continue activities

An occupier in Lansing on October 1. Protesters have broken camp in Lansing.
Peace Education Center Flickr

Occupiers in Lansing have become the latest group in the Occupy movement to pack up their camp for the winter. The Lansing State Journal reports that tents and other shelters have been cleared from Reutter Park in downtown Lansing.

More from the LSJ:

Read more
Offbeat
2:35 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Out of tune: a roundup of 9 campaign song gaffes

Kid Rock in his "Born Free" video. Republican Presidential hopeful has adopted the song as his campaign ballad.
screen grab from YouTube video

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is sticking to his Michigan roots, at least in his choice of campaign song.

Romney has chosen "Born Free" by Detroit-area rocker Kid Rock to serve as the theme music for his bid for the Republican nomination.

While a post on Kid Rock's website seems to give at least tacit approval to Romney's use of the song, things don't always go so smoothly for candidates when choosing their soundtracks.

Michigan Radio has put together a list of controversies, disputes, and gaffes related to campaign songs:

  1. In what might be deemed a classic of campaign song missteps, Bruce Springsteen was none too happy when Ronald Reagan praised "Born in the U.S.A" during his 1984 campaign, as told by CNN.
  2. Earlier this year, Rolling Stone reported that Republican primary contender Michelle Bachmann drew the ire of Tom Petty for using his song "American Girl" to tout her patriotism and her position as the only woman in the Republican field.
  3. Apparently, Bachmann didn't learn anything from President George W. Bush who was scolded by Petty back in 2000 for using "I Won't Back Down" without permission.
  4. A post from mentalfloss.com reports that in 2008, John McCain had a heap of campaign song troubles, receiving cease and desist requests from John Mellencamp, Boston, Foo Fighters, and Jackson Browne in response to his use of their songs.
  5. McCain's running-mate Sarah Palin also took heat for using "Barracuda" by Heart as her intro music at the Republican National Convention. As Rolling Stone reports, a press release from the band said the song was written as "a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women" and that the band found "irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."
  6. In a more creative, but no less artist-angering effort, Bob Dole rewrote the lyrics to the 1960's Sam & Dave hit "Soul Man,"  to create the eponymous "Dole Man," before being threatened by the song's rights-holders (again from mentalfloss.com)
  7. Not to be accused of partisanship, however, Sam Moore of the above mentioned duo took issue with Barack Obama's use of the group's song "Hold On, I'm Comin.'" As Mother Jones reports, Moore was nonplussed by the politicization of a song about "gettin girls."
  8. While not technically a campaign song per se, Herman Cain became the punch-line of more than a few jokes (many of them made by the Daily Show's John Stewart) for quoting the theme song of the Pokemon movie during his speeches.
  9. If the above stories show that misuse of music by political candidates is an increasingly-common occurrence, then at least, as the Washington Post reports, Charlie Christ had the decency to record a video apology to David Byrne of the Talking Heads for his unauthorized use of the song "Road to Nowhere."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment
9:50 am
Thu December 8, 2011

New DNR advisory council weighted toward timber interests

There’s a shakeup in managing Michigan’s forests.

A new advisory council is heavily weighted with voices from the timber industry, and there will be more emphasis on developing forest products to boost the state’s economy.

Governor Rick Snyder says there’s a lot of potential to use natural resources to bring in more revenue.

The head of the Department of Natural Resources has just appointed a new ten member forest advisory council. Eight of the ten members are connected to the timber industry.

The new council will focus on developing logging and lumber, pulp and paper, and biofuels. An existing forest management advisory group includes other interests such as wildlife, recreation and conservation as well as logging.

Marvin Roberson with the Sierra Club says those other voices largely will be gone from the new council.

“I think this is going to mean a lack of management for natural conservation values and an increase in management for timber-only values,” said Roberson.

The DNR also is reorganizing its forestry division so that come January it will no longer deal with oil, gas and minerals or recreation on state forestland.

-Bob Allen for The Environment Report

Politics
4:53 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

7 things to know about Michigan's emergency manager law

Joe Harris, the emergency manager in Benton Harbor, says the only authority local officials have after an EM is appointed by the state, "is the authority that's provided to them or is given to them by the emergency manager."
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

When a city or a school district in Michigan runs out of money, the state can appoint an emergency manager to take over the responsibilities of locally elected officials. An emergency manger’s powers are broad—made even more so this year – and are designed to help EMs balance the books and return governance to locally elected officials as quickly as possible.

Today, there are four cities and one school district under the control of an emergency manager:

  • Benton Harbor
  • Ecorse
  • Flint
  • Pontiac
  • Detroit Public Schools

This is the second time around for Flint, which had an “emergency financial manager” from 2002-2006. The cities of Detroit and Inkster and Benton Harbor Public Schools could soon be added to this list.

Read more
Politics
4:20 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Michigan Governor Snyder signs anti-bullying legislation

Update 4:20 p.m.

The Governor's Office sent this press release after Governor Snyder signed the anti-bullying bill:

Michigan will become the 48th state to require schools to develop and enforce policies to protect students from harassment, intimidation and physical violence under anti-bullying legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder today.

The governor called on lawmakers to pass the legislation as part of the education reform plan he proposed in April, saying students need to feel safe in the classroom so they can focus on learning.

“This legislation sends a clear message that bullying is wrong in all its forms and will not be tolerated,” Snyder said. “No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”

The governor said having a clear policy in place will give teachers and administrators the tools they need to deal with bullies, but he added that parents can help by ensuring their own children do not engage in or encourage others to bully.

House Bill 4163, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Potvin, is known as “Matt’s Safe School Law” in honor of Matt Epling, a Michigan teen who ended his life in 2002 after enduring severe bullying.  The legislation gives schools six months to develop clear anti-bullying policies so they will be in place by the start of the 2012-2013 school year.  The bill is now Public Act 241 of 2011.

A detailed description of the bill’s requirements may be found online at www.legislature.mi.gov.

3:50 p.m.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed the law that requires schools to adopt anti-bullying policies. Family members of children who committed suicide looked on as the governor signed the measure. Until today, Michigan was one of three states that did not have an anti-bullying law.

Pages