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.

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Education
2:52 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Michigan lawmakers address parental involvement, education

Ben Rollman Flickr

Michigan lawmakers want legislation in place to improve parental involvement in schools. The lack of involvement is seen as one cause of Michigan’s low education scores.

Representative Bob Genetski of Saugatuck is a Republican. He says welfare reform is necessary for education reform.

“I believe much more in workfare than in welfare,” Genetski said. “I think that we need to instill in our kids that nothing comes free and that you earn everything you get.”

Representative Tim Melton of Auburn Hills is a Democrat. He says Child Protective Services should be involved if younger children don’t come to school every day.

“These kids are going to end up in the system either way,” Melton said. “If they’re not showing up at school, that’s an early warning sign of child neglect.”

Melton says Child Protective Services has said they don’t have the resources to take this project on.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment
2:37 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Lake Michigan receives 'C' grade on new report card

Kevin Dooley Flickr

Lake Michigan gets an overall ‘C’ grade on a new report card from the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. Beach water quality and lake water levels got ‘D’ grades, scoring lowest on the report card. Superfund cleanup efforts got a ‘B’ and the fight against invasive species like Asian carp got a ‘C.’

Matt Doss is with the Ann Arbor-based Great Lakes Commission. He says the poor grades will help the state.

“It’s going to help hold us all accountable for improving these grades moving forward,” he said. “We can do better and we need to do better.”

The Great Lakes Commission works to improve the health of all five Great Lakes.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
5:21 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Former students sue Cooley Law School for misrepresentation

Michael Tam Flickr

The legal battle between Lansing-based law and some of its former students has deepened. Cooley Law School has been sued by four of its former students for claiming false job placement statistics. They say Cooley is misrepresenting data to improve the school’s image and get more students. Cooley sued the law firm representing the students last month for defamation. Kurzon Strauss law firm in New York had several online advertisements looking for information about Cooley and other law schools misrepresenting job placement numbers.

Jesse Strauss is a lawyer at Kurzon Strauss. He says their posts requesting information about Cooley were not defamatory.

“We regard the Thomas Cooley suit as a pure intimidation tactic – to sort of make us go away and stuff our investigation,” he said. “The whole suit is about our investigation. The postings that they point out were made when this firm was seriously contemplating litigation against them. We believe they are well aware of that.”

James Thelen is an associate dean at Cooley. He says in an email that the students’ allegations are “completely baseless.”

“We will vigorously defend this lawsuit and continue to pursue the defamation and other legal claims we filed against the Kurzon Strauss firm last month," Thelen said.

A similar lawsuit has been filed against New York Law School by three former students with Kurzon Strauss.

- Amelia Carpenter – Michigan Radio Newsroom

Economy
4:36 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

13,000 Michigan families to lose cash assistance

Andrew Magill Flickr

About 13-thousand Michigan families will stop getting money from the state on October 1st. That’s when the families will reach their five-year federal lifetime limit for cash assistance. The cash assistance program is designed to support low-income families with pregnant women or children until they find jobs.

Sheryl Thompson is with the Department of Human Services. She says people with no income who have children will no longer be able to extend the limit for cash assistance.

"This was never meant to be a long-term solution," she said. "It was always supposed to be a short-term solution as a safety net."

Thompson says Michigan will save about 77-million-dollars this year. Other services including job placement and food assistance are available for people who qualify.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Science
3:31 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Comcast announces Internet service for low-income families

laptop
User: whitakerc1985 flickr

Comcast has announced a new national program that provides discounted Internet service for low-income families. Families who live in a Comcast service area and have not been customers with the company for at least 90 days can get the service for $10 per month.

Mary Beth Halprin is with Comcast Michigan.    

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Education
11:41 am
Wed August 10, 2011

CMU contract talks may delay school year

Central Michigan University

Classes at Central Michigan University may be delayed because of contract disputes between the faculty union and administration. Without a contract, faculty may not show for class August 22. The two groups are at a standstill on a number of issues including salary increases, health care or who is allowed to be a union member.

Tim Connors is the former president of the faculty union at the university. He says the union is ready to get back to the table.

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Economy
1:09 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

General Electric hopes to hire 1,100 technology workers by 2013

User: ismh flickr

General Electric hopes to bring 1,100 jobs to a Michigan technology center by 2013. The 2 year old center is located outside of Detroit.  GE is developing new software and other technology.

Deia Campanelli is with GE’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center.  

"Michigan has an exceptional number of talented experienced professionals, and the state has some strong advanced manufacturing capabilities and information technologists that are really just on the forefront of where industry is headed. So it makes putting jobs in Michigan a really easy decision."

Campanelli says the center has hired 660 workers to date. 90% of those hires are from Michigan.

-Traci Currie, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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Local
12:53 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Focus: HOPE co-founder Eleanor Josaitis dies

Focus: HOPE

Focus: HOPE’s co-founder Eleanor Josaitis died of cancer Tuesday morning. Focus: HOPE provides vocational training and food assistance. Josaitis and her partner Reverend William Cunningham founded the social services organization in the aftermath of the Detroit riots. Cunningham died in 1997.

Tim Duperron is the chief operating officer at Focus: HOPE who worked with Josaitis for 13 years. He says she had strong ties and loyalty with many people.

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Environment
10:08 am
Tue August 9, 2011

MSU researchers testing beef tracking from pasture to plate

Beef from the cattle on this 350 acre farm on MSU's campus will be served in the cafeterias at MSU in the fall.
Photo by Emily Fox

Local food is the hottest thing on menus this year. That’s according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. Michigan State University researchers are trying to give consumers more information about locally grown food.

Some say local is the new green. Here's how two characters in the show Portandia portray the local food movement in America:

Waitress: “My name is Dana, I’ll be taking care of you today if you have any questions about the menu, please let me know.”

Woman: “I guess I do have a question about the chicken. If you could just tell us a little more about it.”

Waitress: “Uh, the chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken that’s been fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy and hazelnuts. . .”

Man: “This is local?”

Waitress: “Yes. Absolutely.”

Man: “I’m going to ask you one more time. And it’s local?”

Waitress: “It is.”

Woman: “Is that USDA organic, Oregon organic or Portland organic?”

Waitress: “It’s just all across the board. Organic.”

FOX: Okay, so not every restaurant is like the one featured in this sitcom. But researchers at Michigan State University say people do want more information about their food. They're starting a pilot program to do just that with local beef.

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Money
5:27 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

30,000 college students cut from Michigan food stamps program

daisybush Flickr

Since April, about 30,000 college students were dropped from Michigan’s food assistance program. The Department of Human Services’ new eligibility requirements knocked off more than expected.

Brian Rooney is with DHS. He says Michigan’s rules did not align with the rest of the country.

"If you were going to college then we would count that as an employment-in-training program and you didn’t have to be working part-time, you didn’t have to be a single parent, you could be a single, average college-aged student going to school full-time and qualify for food assistance," Rooney said.

Sydney Watts is a full-time student at Central Michigan University. She says she and her roommates are concerned about losing their benefits.

"It’s hard. It’s very, very hard. I will occasionally eat out with friends and stuff, but other than that it’s Ramen noodles or just crap food because we can’t afford anything. So when all my roommates move back and everything, I don’t know what we’ll do," Watts said.

Rooney says one in five Michiganders is receiving food assistance. He says more people will be cut in October when qualifications are asset-based rather than income-based.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Economy
4:07 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Consumers Energy seeking rate hike

Consumers Energy customers may see their monthly electric bills increase by the end of the year.  The Jackson-based utility wants to increase the average customer’s bill by more than seven dollars a month.  Jeff Holyfield  is a Consumers Energy spokesman. 

“The increase we have requested in this rate case primarily reflects the major investments…nearly a billion dollars that  Consumers Energy is making to maintain and improve service to its 1.8 million electric customers and to improve the environment.”   

Economy
1:38 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

President Obama will make a statement on the downgrading of US credit

user: Beverly & Pack flicker.com

The White House has announced President Obama will make a statement shortly. We expect the president to address the downgrading of US credit. Click the "listen live" button above, to stream special coverage from NPR. 

Arts/Culture
10:29 am
Mon August 8, 2011

Looking back at the 30th Annual Flint Jazz Festival

Sabrina LaMarr, saxophonist
photo by Traci Currie Michigan Radio

People came out in both rainy and sunny weather to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Flint Jazz Festival this past weekend. The celebration began Thursday evening with the Jazz Walk, a new effort to promote and raise money for the event.

Sabrina LaMarr is a saxophonist from Flint. She has been playing at the jazz festival for years.  She performed Saturday afternoon.

"It rained and we had so many people. And they stayed. And everyone was wise. They had their own umbrella. So that’s a good thing too. They enjoyed it."

World renowned artists like Regina Belle and the After 5 Jazz Ensemble performed at the festival, as well as well-known Flint artists like Bruce Bradley and Tapology Dancers.

The Tito Puente, Jr. Orchestra closed out the festival Sunday evening. The group was able to play a few selections but stopped the performance early due to rain.

-Traci Currie - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
2:54 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

ACLU of Michigan takes cases of people who cannot pay fines

Joe Gratz Flickr

The ACLU of Michigan is fighting for people they say were jailed unfairly because they can't pay their fines.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Kyle Dewitt says the last thing he expected when he went fishing in Ionia County in May was to wind up in jail.

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Arts/Culture
11:30 am
Fri August 5, 2011

This is where I belong: A conversation with Lara Zielin

Michigan author Lara Zielin is taking over the world.

She and three other women writers (and some special guests) are kicking off their Girls Taking Over the World Tour tonight at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor.

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Local
12:30 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Muslim group further from building new school

Community members listened to a line of people share their opinions on the rezoning of property in Pittsfield Township Thursday night.
Amelia Carpenter Michigan Radio Newsroom

An Islamic group is no closer to building a new school in Pittsfield Township after a long and controversial meeting last night. The Michigan Islamic Academy owns a residential property in the township and wants it rezoned. The township turned the Academy down after hearing from about 50 people on both sides of the issue.

Stu Collins lives close to the Academy’s property. He says he was pleased with the outcome.

“I welcome them somewhere else just not at that site. I think most people who were opposed to it can concur with what I’ve just said here,” Collins said.

Tarek Nahlawi is with the Academy. He says they are going to keep fighting.

"We are disappointed," he said. "I wouldn't expect this. We came into this with full hope that they would look at things in an objective way - not in a subjective way."

The Academy has said the Justice Department will get involved if the property is not rezoned. The board of trustees for the township still has to vote on the issue.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Arts/Culture
11:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Flint Jazz Festival this weekend

Jazz Yellow 2 - jazz poster
user: echoaa23 flickr

The 2011 Flint Jazz Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Riverbank Park this weekend.

The event will begin with a Jazz Walk from 6 -11 p.m. Thursday.

Greg Fiedler is with the Greater Flint Arts Council.

"We created something entirely new called Jazz Walk, and the Jazz Walk is fashioned sort of as our famous Flint Art Walk that we do every month. Only the difference is that Jazz Walk is going to be in the pubs downtown and we’re in six of the local pubs."

Fiedler also says every year the festival celebrates the jazz drummer and founder of the festival, Joe Freyre. This year his nephew -- who has the same name -- will headline with Freyre’s former band, The People's Jazz Band.

The festival is charging admission for the first time. Fielder explains with corporate sponsorships decreasing, it is important for the community to begin investing in its major annual events.   

Admission is $2 per day or $5 for a three-day pass.

The festival runs through Sunday.

Traci Currie, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Science/Medicine
4:13 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

University of Michigan nurses voice frustration over contracts

Katie Oppenheim is the President of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC). She was one speaker at the press conference August 2 in the Michigan Union.
Amelia Carpenter Michigan Radio Newsroom

University of Michigan nurses say the quality of patient care will suffer if they can’t reach an agreement in contract talks with management. Some nurses say they will leave their jobs. The two sides are debating financial issues including pay increases, health insurance and benefits in contract talks that resume today (Wednesday). The union representatives have added to an existing complaint with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission charging management with bad faith bargaining and making one-sided changes to some nurses’ working conditions. The union says the university made an assignment change without consulting them first.

Jeff Breslin is President of the Michigan Nurses Association. He says one of the key issues in hospitals is retaining staff.

"You get the expertise – you have nurses that can walk into a situation , assess it and know what needs to be done at the drop of a hat where new nurses – they will get to that point but they need the skill, they need the experience and they need the expertise from the people who have been there to pass that on to them," Breslin said.

The university health system said in a release they do not agree patient care will be affected with the new contract.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Auto Sales
3:54 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

GM, Ford, Chrysler all increase sales in July

General Motors headquarters, Detroit, MI
Spacing Magazine Flickr

Update:

GM sales rose almost 8% in July, while Ford sales rose 8.9% and Chrysler sales increased 20.1%.

From the Detroit Free Press:

The Detroit Three saw U.S. sales increase in July and gained market share, as a troubling economy and weeks of worries about the U.S. debt ceiling continued to hamper a recovery in auto sales.

Chrysler had its best July since 2007 to lead Detroit’s automakers with a 20.1% surge, off a 33% gain in sales to individual customers. General Motors’ U.S. sales rose 7.6% last month and Ford’s grew 8.9%. Japanese automakers continued to lose share to their American rivals as they recovered from the March earthquake and tsunami in their country.

GM forecast July industrywide sales of light cars and trucks were flat from the previous year and slightly better than June. Consumers stayed out of showrooms amid news of climbing unemployment and bitter debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to prevent the country from defaulting on its loans tonight. President Barack Obama signed legislation today to prevent that scenario after the Senate approved the bill.

*

Original post:

From the Associated Press:

General Motors says its U.S. sales rose nearly 8 percent last month, led by fuel-efficient vehicles such as the
Chevrolet Cruze car.

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Education
3:04 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Ten-year extension sought for Michigan students to meet proficiency score

3rd Grade Class
User: Old Shoe Woman Flickr

The Michigan Board of Education wants an additional 10 years to get students prepared to meet the proficiency scores on state standardized tests. The federal goals call for all children to be proficient on state exams by 2014. State leaders want to waive the No Child Left Behind requirements for 10 years. They believe this period will prepare every Michigan student to be proficient in reading and math.  

Jeff Bean is a Flint high school teacher. He says working to get all students proficient is noble but not realistic.   

"It would be like me setting standards for medical professionals: I think everybody who goes into a cancer treatment should get cured. Let’s go for 100%. That’s a noble effort. But to dictate whether doctors get to keep their licenses or not based on whether they save every patient they see, is an incredibly unreasonable piece."

Bean believes extending the 10-year deadline is a way for certain leaders to buy time to change the federal goals. He says pre- and post-testing would be a more effective goal for students.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, says more than 80% of the nation’s public schools could be labeled as ‘failing’ under the No Child Left Behind law requirements.

-Traci Currie - Michigan Radio Newsroom

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