Thursday, May 19, 2022

State News Alumni Notebook for Fall 2020

S'News fall happenings include a spate of alumni/staff Zoom get-togethers

<p>Sparty statue with a mask in the MSU Union on Sept. 15, 2020.</p>

Sparty statue with a mask in the MSU Union on Sept. 15, 2020.

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:

  • Whitney Gronski Buffa met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on July 27 to discuss their mental health and well-being in managing the coronavirus both as journalists and students. Gronski Buffa, who was editor-in-chief in 2008, is a family therapist experienced in trauma-informed mental health who is a former reporter and editor at The Pioneer in Big Rapids,Mich. 
  • Wendy (Stevens) Byard has published a book titled Teach and Reach for Classroom Miracles! Lessons on Teaching With Love. It aims to convince teachers and leaders that love is the key to miracle-filled classrooms. It provides her personal teaching journey and classroom storiesas well as excerpts from hundreds of student letters she’s collected. It also includes "12 Love Lessons for Teachers." Information on Wendy and her book as well as her blog posts are available at her blog at is Her book is available at and her magazine articles are available at
  • Kelley L. Carter met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Oct. 2 to talk about her career and take questions from today’s S’Newsers. Kelley is a senior writer for ESPN, where she covers the intersection of sports with entertainment, film, TV and music. She was also worked with BuzzFeed, Ebony Magazine, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune and The Detroit Free Press.  
  • Steve Eder met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Sept. 11 to talk about his career and take questions from today’s S’Newsers. Steve is an investigative reporter for The New York Times, who writes about the federal government under President Trump and Trump’s personal finances. He was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018. 
  • In August, Larry Lage celebrated his 20th anniversary with The Associated Press. He is a Detroit-based sports writer mostly covering Michigan State men’s basketball, Michigan football, the Detroit Lions, Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. 
  • Tracey Rettig in March started a new position as the communications associate, automotive program for the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Southfield, Michigan office. She is also on track to get her master’s degree in strategic communications from MSU this December. Plus, she has a leadership article published last fall in Industry Week that you can read right here.
  • Kellie Rowe met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Oct. 9 to talk about her career and take questions from today’s S’Newsers. Kellie is a reporter for Fox 2 Detroit assigned to the station’s morning show. Prior to that, she was the station’s first digital reporter by creating and launching the Fox 2 News Now live-streaming show.
  • Jeremy Steele in August was honored by the Journalism Education Association with a Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award. Steele was among five individuals and one group who were recognized by JEA as having made significant contributions to scholastic journalism. The JEA website describes Steele as having “spent most of his career giving a voice to the voiceless.” Steele is a professor at the MSU School of Journalism who also serves as director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and an adviser to the MSU-Detroit High School Journalism program. He will be recognized at the JEA virtual National High School Journalism Convention in November.
  • Chris Vannini met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Sept. 25 to talk about his career and take their questions. Chris is a national college football writer for The Athletic and in 2019 was named co-beat writer of the year by the Football Writers Association of America. He is married to fellow S’News alum Gabi (Moore) Vannini.

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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