Sunday, May 9, 2021

State News Alumni Notebook for Spring 2020

The coronavirus pandemic turns into a first-person story for one alumni couple

<p>Kelsey Estes, Meghan Provenzano and Abby Henzi (left to right) pose after painting the Rock on Farm Lane April 7, 2020.</p>

Kelsey Estes, Meghan Provenzano and Abby Henzi (left to right) pose after painting the Rock on Farm Lane April 7, 2020.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

A quick recap of just some of the great things happening to your fellow S’News alums and friends of The State News as of late:

  • Michigan Press Association Journalist of the Year Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press and former Pulitzer Prize winner M.L. Elrick both are recovering after testing for the Covid-19 virus. Here is the married couple’s story, as shared by Baldas in the Free Press.
  • The State News held its first-ever virtual year-end party via Zoom on May 3 as the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of an in-person banquet until later this calendar year. Honored at the event were Editor-in-Chief Madison O'Connor as most valuable staffer and Managing Editor Mila Murray for outstanding achievement. Board of Directors Scholarships were awarded to Jayna Bardahl, Hannah Brock, Karly Graham, Brendan Gumbel, Wendy Guzman, Mark Ostermeyer and SaMya Overall.
  • Nic Antaya was named Michigan College Photographer of the Year for 2020 by the Michigan Press Photographers Association and runner-up for National Press Photographers Association Student Clip Content Photographer of the Year.  Antaya had been studying at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) in Aarhus, Denmark after completing internships with The Boston Globe, the (Jasper, Ind.) Herald and The Grand Rapids Press/MLive.
  • Dillon Davis has joined Fox 5 San Diego KSWB-TV as a digital news producer. Prior to that, he was the growth and economic issues reporter at the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen Times.
  • M.L. Elrick in March returned as a part-time investigative reporter to the Detroit Free Press, where in 2009 he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that delved into former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s text messaging scandal. Elrick previously worked at Fox 2 Detroit. He will also continue the “ML’s Soul of Detroit” podcast.
  • Zach Gorchow, executive editor and publisher at Gongwer News Service Michigan, met with the spring State News staff via Zoom on April 10, sharing with them how his newsroom has been working through the coronavirus pandemic, among other professional insights.
  • Kevin Hardy was named managing editor of The Detroit News in April. He is a 15-year veretan of the newspaper, having started there as an intern.
  • Sylvia Jarrus and Wolfgang Ruth were awarded Larry Laurain Scholarships in the amounts of $2,500 and $500, respectively, by the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Jarrus served as S'News photo editor in the fall of 2019, and Ruth was social media and engagement editor during the 2019-20 school year.
  • Kathy Kieliszewski won the Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Photographers Association in February. She is the photo and video director at the Detroit Free Press, winner of the Emmy Award and Pulitzer Prize, and co-founder with fellow S’News alum Steve Byrne of the Freep Film Festival in Detroit.
  • Larry Lage, now a sports writer for The Associated Press in Detroit, organized a fund-raiser for freelance sports journalists who lost assignments due to the coronavirus pandemic that raised more than $20,000 as of mid-April, benefiting 97 journalists. He also met with the spring State News staff in a Zoom meeting in March, sharing career strategies and other insights with today’s S’Newsers.
  • Kelley Root became executive editor of Crain’s Detroit Business on March 16. She had been managing editor of the Detroit News.
  • Omari Sankofa II was hired by the Detroit Free Press as a sports writer covering the Detroit Pistons. He had been a sports writer for The Athletic in Memphis, covering professional basketball.

Do you have a status update to share with the S’News? Please let us know and we’ll consider it for publication in the next newsletter and on SNAA social sites! Email your news to


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