Central Michigan University alumni make up nearly half of the editorial staff of The Flint Journal, which recently was named Newspaper of the Year by the Michigan Press Association.
The honor is one of 24 editorial awards the paper won competing against the state's largest newspapers in the 2013 Better Newspaper Contest.
Most of the nine award-winning staffers are former editors of CM Life, CMU’s student newspaper. They include Marjory Raymer, ’95; David Harris, ’08; Dominic Adams, ’06; Aaron McMann, ’13; Eric Dresden, ’13; Gary Ridley, ’08; Sarah Schuch, ’10; Dana DeFever, ’09; and Jake May who is working on completing his degree.
The Newspaper of the Year is determined by points accumulated in the editorial category with first-, second- and third-place awards. The Flint Journal was awarded the most points among Class A newspapers — newspapers with circulations of 60,000 or more.
The Flint Journal also was honored with the MPA’s prestigious Public Service Award for its series on the effects of suicide on the community. The project was spurred by the suicide death of a Flint teen.
Everyone, from sports reporters to interns, focused on the project to make it a success, said Flint Journal Editor Marjory Raymer, a 1995 CMU graduate and former editor of CM Life.
“The great thing is that this project involved our entire staff,” Raymer said. “It was a horrific story. The whole community was affected by it. We covered the story, but that didn’t seem like enough. We needed to do more.”
“The response was fantastic — in our community and beyond,” Raymer said. “It was this special moment in time. A group of journalists coming together to discover what we can do.”
Raymer said the CMU-trained journalists on her staff “have no fear of jumping in headfirst.”
“They work hard at the nuts and bolts,” she said. “There’s this scrappy, go-get-em kind of attitude — like CMU spirit. One thing I learned at Central is never just take what’s in front of you and accept the status quo. You should always be looking for a way to be better.”