Michigan Advance wins 2022 Public Service Award, 22 total Michigan Press Association honors

By: - March 17, 2023 7:11 am

Susan J. Demas graphic

The Michigan Advance has won 22 Michigan Press Association (MPA) awards in its 2022 “News Media Publication of the Year” contest, including placing first in the Public Service Award for “Loss, strain and hope mark the next phase of the COVID pandemic.”

Anna Gustafson, Susan J. Demas, Allison R. Donahue, Ken Coleman and Laina G. Stebbins contributed to the Advance‘s winning Public Service coverage. Bridge placed second. In 2021, the Advance also took home top honors in the Public Service category.

Susan J. Demas

In total, the Advance earned 22 awards spanning 14 news categories, including first place for Best Publication Design, Government/Education Writing, News Photo, Opinion Writing, Page Design and more.

“At the Michigan Advance, our mission is to report on how politics and policy connects with people’s lives, especially those in underserved communities across the state. There is no greater honor for us than winning the Michigan Press Association’s Public Service Award for our COVID-19 pandemic coverage for the second straight year. As a publication that’s only four years old, we are incredibly grateful to have our peers recognize the Michigan Advance‘s commitment to outstanding reporting, design and photography with so many awards this year,” said Editor-in-Chief Susan J. Demas.

The Michigan Advance competed against other statewide online publications and won second place for 2022 Newspaper of the Year, with Bridge placing first. In 2021, the Advance also won second place.

Previously, the Advance, a nonprofit politics and policy outlet that began publishing in December 2018, was named the 2020 Newspaper of the Year for Class D weekly publications. The Advance also took second place for Newspaper of the Year in that category in 2019.

The annual contest ran from Aug. 1, 2021, through July 31, 2022. The Michigan Advance began publishing on Dec. 4, 2018, with Demas, a 22-year journalism veteran at the helm. The Advance has a staff of five journalists and is one of 33 publications part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The MPA announced its awards Thursday afternoon in a virtual event.

“The annual Michigan Press Association Better Newspaper Contest gives our members a chance each year to assess and put forth their team’s best work in journalism, photojournalism, column writing, graphic design and advertising. … Anyone in this business today is in it, not for kudos, but because of a passion and desire to serve our readers, our advertisers and our communities. For us, the work is the reward. But on the occasion of [the] MPA BNC contest awards, let’s take a moment to say to all our coworkers and all our colleagues — Good job! And to the winners — Congratulations!” said Wes Smith, Michigan Press Association president and group publisher of View Newspaper Group.

Here’s the complete list of awards the Michigan Advance won:

  • Public Service Award, “Loss, strain and hope mark the next phase of the COVID pandemic,” First Place, Anna Gustafson, Susan J. Demas, Allison R. Donahue, Ken Coleman and Laina G. Stebbins
  • Newspaper of the Year, Second Place
  • Best Publication Design, First Place, Nelle Dunlap, Joe Wright and Susan J. Demas
  • Best Page Design, “White nationalism resurgence continues to shift and shape Michigan, U.S. politics,” First Place, Susan J. Demas and Laina G. Stebbins
  • Best Page Design, “We’re still here’: Indigenous water protectors call for Enbridge to respect treaty rights,” Second Place, Laina G. Stebbins and Susan J. Demas 
  • Government/Education News, First Place, “In Benton Harbor’s water crisis, a long history of systemic racism — and a chance for justice,” Anna Gustafson 
  • Government/Education News, Third Place, “’What was left behind was a broken family,’” Anna Gustafson 
  • Government/Education News, Honorable Mention, “’Kids know we are putting them at risk for political reasons,’” Anna Gustafson
  • News Enterprise Reporting, Third Place, “In Benton Harbor’s water crisis, a long history of systemic racism — and a chance for justice,” Anna Gustafson 
  • Best Opinion, First Place, Rick Haglund
  • Best Opinion, Second Place, Susan J. Demas
  • News Photo, First Place, “Patrick Lyoya’s mother, Dorcas Lyoya, weeps as they leave his funeral,” Allison R. Donahue 
  • News Photo, Second Place, “Abortion is human rights,” Andrew Roth
  • News Photo, Honorable Mention, “Ryan Kelley takes a moment at a GOP gubernatorial debate, a month before his arrest over the Jan. 6 riot,” Andrew Roth
  • Feature Photo, Second Place, “Michigan Pride after the fall of Roe,” Andrew Roth 
  • Feature Photo, Third Place, “Tatiana Degai and Aleksandr Mokryi of Kamchatka perform a traditional Siberian dance at the ‘Heart of the Turtle’ international Indigenous gathering,” Laina G. Stebbins 
  • Feature Photo, Honorable Mention, “Carlota Almanza-Lumpkin mourns Tuskegee Airman Alexander Jefferson in Detroit,” Ken Coleman
  • Best FOIA Story, Honorable Mention, “Kent Co. health director tells commissioners after almost being run off the road: ‘I need help,’” Anna Gustafson
  • Business/Agriculture News, Honorable Mention, “As snow and ice disappear with climate change, some Michigan businesses struggle,” Marla R. Miller
  • Sports Writing, Honorable Mention, “Racist taunt in Fowlerville is another in a series involving Michigan high school athletics,” Jon King
  • Special Section, First Place, “Election 2022,” Nelle Dunlap, Joe Wright, Mary-Kate Murphy and Susan J. Demas
  • Best Digital Award, Third Place, Nelle Dunlap, Joe Wright and Susan J. Demas


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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.