Non-profit

Michigan Advance

Website:

www.michiganadvance.com/

Location:

Lansing, MI

Editor-in-Chief:

Susan J. Demas

The Michigan Advance is a left-progressive online news outlet that focuses on government and political news coverage in Michigan. [1] It is part of States Newsroom, (formerly called The Newsroom Network) a network of left-of-center media organizations in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. [2]

States Newsroom was formed a project of the Hopewell Fund, a left-leaning nonprofit managed by the for-profit left-progressive advocacy philanthropic consulting firm Arabella Advisors,[3] though it is now an independent nonprofit.

History and Funding

The Michigan Advance is a left-progressive online news outlet that launched December 4, 2018. [4] [5] It is part of States Newsroom, a network of left-of-center media organizations in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. [6]

As part of the States Newsroom, Michigan Advance is a project of, and funded, by the Hopewell Fund, a progressive donor-backed nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. [7] The Hopewell Fund, in turn, is managed by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit philanthropy consulting firm that supports left-leaning causes including the New Venture Fund, the Windward Fund, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund. [8]

Editorial Leadership

Michigan Advance’s ethics policy claims the publication is nonpartisan; however, the head of States Newsroom has said the editorial board is “on the liberal side” and is comparable to the New York Times. [9] The content of the Michigan Advance includes daily news stories, a blog, guest columns, and a daily newsletter. [10] The Michigan Advance also runs progressive commentary from a variety of writers. [11] Issue areas include health care, education, the environment, criminal justice, civil rights, business, labor, politics and government. [12]

The Michigan Advance is headed by editor-in-chief Susan Demas, a longtime, Michigan-based political journalist and Democratic strategist. [13] Demas contributes daily stories but also writes liberal commentary pieces often critical of Republicans. [14] In addition to Demas, the Michigan Advance employs three full-time reporters. [15] The staff page also lists two reporting interns and a DC bureau chief. [16] The Michigan Advance is a member of the Michigan Press Association. [17]

Controversies and Notable Coverage

Peter Lucido

On January 15, 2020, the Michigan Advance posted a column by Allison Donahue, a 22-year-old female staff reporter, alleging that a Republican state senator made a sexually inappropriate remark to her when she sought an interview with him the previous day. [18] Donahue claimed that when she approached Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Macomb County) outside the Senate chamber at the state Capitol building, he was with a group of male students from De La Salle Collegiate, an all-boys Catholic school in suburban Detroit, and that Lucido told her she “could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.” [19]

It was reported two days after the Michigan Advance posted Donahue’s story that legislative leaders asked the state’s nonpartisan Senate Business Office to open a sexual harassment investigation, the results of which are not subject to public release. [20]

A week after Donahue’s column, the Michigan Senate Business Office received a second sexual harassment complaint against Lucido by State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Oakland County) based on an incident that allegedly happened 14 months earlier. [21] On January 26, 2020, a third woman accused Lucido of sexual harassment at a conference in May 2019. Melisa Osborn, 40, a trade group regulatory affairs specialist, claimed McMorrow’s description of Lucido’s actions matched her own experience at a conference in May 2019, causing her to contact Crain’s Detroit Business and share her own story. [22]

Donahue’s post in the Michigan Advance prompted several other women to speak out on social media about their so-called #MeToo experiences at the Michigan Capitol in which men allegedly made comments toward them in the same vein as Lucido’s reported comments to Donahue. [23]

Lucido said McMorrow’s allegation is “completely untrue and politically motivated.” [24] Lucido is a Republican who chairs two powerful committees and has openly expressed interest in running for governor in 2022 against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) who won the seat in November 2018. [25]

Lavora Barnes

In 2019, the Michigan Advance posted two commentaries written by Lavora Barnes that criticized President Donald Trump’s policies without identifying Barnes as the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. [26]

People

Susan J. Demas is Editor-in-Chief of The Michigan Advance. [27] Demas, a longtime journalist and progressive political columnist, spent the previous two years as a vice president of Farough & Associates, a Lansing-based public relations firm founded by Daniel Farough, who also created the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan. [28]

Ken Coleman is a senior projects coordinator for the Michigan Advance. Coleman previously worked as a spokesman for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI). [29] Before joining the Advance, he was a spokesman for the Detroit Federation of Teachers. [30]

Allison Donahue is a reporter for the Michigan Advance who covers women’s issues, LGBTQ issues and immigration. [31]

Chris Fitzsimon leads the States Newsroom effort from North Carolina, where he founded a liberal-leaning think tank that developed into a States Newsroom-affiliated media outlet called NC Policy Watch. [32]

References

  1. “Assistant Editor/Reporter.” Michigan Press Association, January 7, 2020. https://michiganpress.org/job/assistant-editor-reporter/. ^
  2. Barrett, Malachi. “News Websites with Political Ties Spread across Michigan before 2020 Election.” mlive, November 8, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/news-websites-with-political-ties-spread-across-michigan-before-2020-election.html. ^
  3. Barrett, Malachi. “Left-Leaning ‘Dark Money’ Network Poured Millions into Michigan Elections.” mlive, November 27, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/left-leaning-dark-money-network-poured-millions-into-michigan-elections.html. ^
  4. “Assistant Editor/Reporter.” Michigan Press Association, January 7, 2020. https://michiganpress.org/job/assistant-editor-reporter/. ^
  5. Frank, Annalise. “Veteran Journalists Join Michigan Advance News Site.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 30, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/veteran-journalists-join-michigan-advance-news-site. ^
  6. Barrett, Malachi. “News Websites with Political Ties Spread across Michigan before 2020 Election.” mlive, November 8, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/news-websites-with-political-ties-spread-across-michigan-before-2020-election.html. ^
  7. Frank, Annalise. “D.C. Nonprofit-Backed Michigan News Site to Launch with Demas at Helm.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 16, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/dc-nonprofit-backed-michigan-news-site-launch-demas-helm. ^
  8. Barrett, Malachi. “Left-Leaning ‘Dark Money’ Network Poured Millions into Michigan Elections.” mlive, November 27, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/left-leaning-dark-money-network-poured-millions-into-michigan-elections.html. ^
  9. Barrett, Malachi. “News Websites with Political Ties Spread across Michigan before 2020 Election.” mlive, November 8, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/news-websites-with-political-ties-spread-across-michigan-before-2020-election.html. ^
  10. Frank, Annalise. “Veteran Journalists Join Michigan Advance News Site.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 30, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/veteran-journalists-join-michigan-advance-news-site. ^
  11. Demas, Susan. “Introducing the Michigan Advance!” Susan J. Demas. Susan J. Demas, November 30, 2018. http://www.susanjdemas.com/blog/2018/11/30/introducing-the-michigan-advance. ^
  12. Frank, Annalise. “Veteran Journalists Join Michigan Advance News Site.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 30, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/veteran-journalists-join-michigan-advance-news-site. ^
  13. Demas, Susan J. “Farewell to Tony Trupiano, a Liberal Lion.” Eclectablog, April 11, 2018. https://www.eclectablog.com/2018/04/farewell-to-tony-trupiano-a-liberal-lion.html. ^
  14. Barrett, Malachi. “News Websites with Political Ties Spread across Michigan before 2020 Election.” mlive, November 8, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/news-websites-with-political-ties-spread-across-michigan-before-2020-election.html. ^
  15. Frank, Annalise. “Veteran Journalists Join Michigan Advance News Site.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 30, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/veteran-journalists-join-michigan-advance-news-site. ^
  16. “Staff ⋆ Michigan Advance.” Michigan Advance. Accessed February 1, 2020. https://www.michiganadvance.com/staff/. ^
  17. Raymer, Marjory. “Rapid Growth and Issue Media Group Join Michigan Press Association.” Rapid Growth, February 14, 2019. https://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/Rapid_Growth_Michigan_Press_Association.aspx. ^
  18. “Lawmaker in Hot Water over Comments to Young Female Reporter.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, January 16, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/peter-lucido-allison-donahue-michigan-lawmaker-hot-water-comments-young-female-reporter/. ^
  19. Egan, Paul. “Michigan Lawmaker to Female Reporter: High School Boys Could ‘Have a Lot of Fun’ with You.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, January 16, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/15/peter-lucido-comments-michigan-senator-reporter/4476402002/. ^
  20. Eggert, David. “Michigan Senate May Not Release Details of Harassment Probe.” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, January 16, 2020. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/michigan/articles/2020-01-16/michigan-senate-may-not-release-results-of-probe-of-comments. ^
  21. Livengood, Chad. “Michigan Senator Lodges New Sexual Harassment Complaint against Lucido.” Crain’s Detroit Business, January 21, 2020. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/government/michigan-senator-lodges-new-sexual-harassment-complaint-against-lucido. ^
  22. Livengood, Chad. “Third Woman Accuses Lucido of Sexual Harassment, Unwanted Touching.” Crain’s Detroit Business, January 26, 2020. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/news/third-woman-accuses-lucido-sexual-harassment-unwanted-touching.

    ^

  23. Oosting, Jonathan. “Senator Accuses Lucido of Harassment as #MeToo Reckoning Hits Michigan Capitol.” Fellow senator accuses Michigan Sen. Peter Lucido of sexual harassment | Bridge Magazine, January 22, 2020. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/senator-accuses-lucido-harassment-metoo-reckoning-hits-michigan-capitol. ^
  24. Oosting, Jonathan. “Senator Accuses Lucido of Harassment as #MeToo Reckoning Hits Michigan Capitol.” Fellow senator accuses Michigan Sen. Peter Lucido of sexual harassment | Bridge Magazine, January 22, 2020. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/senator-accuses-lucido-harassment-metoo-reckoning-hits-michigan-capitol. ^
  25. Oosting, Jonathan. “Senator Accuses Lucido of Harassment as #MeToo Reckoning Hits Michigan Capitol.” Fellow senator accuses Michigan Sen. Peter Lucido of sexual harassment | Bridge Magazine, January 22, 2020. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/senator-accuses-lucido-harassment-metoo-reckoning-hits-michigan-capitol. ^
  26. Barrett, Malachi. “News Websites with Political Ties Spread across Michigan before 2020 Election.” mlive, November 8, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/news-websites-with-political-ties-spread-across-michigan-before-2020-election.html. ^
  27. Frank, Annalise. “Veteran Journalists Join Michigan Advance News Site.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 30, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/veteran-journalists-join-michigan-advance-news-site. ^
  28. Frank, Annalise. “Demas Sells ‘Inside Michigan Politics’ in Shift to Advocacy.” Crain’s Detroit Business, March 13, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20180313/news/655091/demas-sells-inside-michigan-politics-in-shift-to-advocacy. ^
  29. “Local News in Detroit: Race, Distrust, and Disconnection – PEN America %.” PEN America, December 18, 2019. https://pen.org/event/localnews-detroit/. ^
  30. The Associated Press. “Sault Ste. Marie Evening News – Sault Ste. Marie, MI.” News. Sault Ste. Marie Evening News – Sault Ste. Marie, MI, September 5, 2018. https://www.sooeveningnews.com/zz/news/20180904/bad-water-detroit-swaps-school-drinking-fountains-with-bottled-water-coolers?template=ampart. ^
  31. “Allison Donahue, Author at Michigan Advance.” Michigan Advance, February 7, 2020. https://www.michiganadvance.com/author/allison-donahue/. ^
  32. Frank, Annalise. “D.C. Nonprofit-Backed Michigan News Site to Launch with Demas at Helm.” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 16, 2018. https://www.crainsdetroit.com/media/dc-nonprofit-backed-michigan-news-site-launch-demas-helm. ^
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Michigan Advance


Lansing, MI