The Michigan Advance is a hard-hitting, nonprofit news site covering politics and policy across the state. We feature in-depth stories, briefs and social media updates, as well as top-notch progressive commentary. The Advance is free of advertising and free to our readers. We wholeheartedly believe that journalists have the biggest impact by reporting close to home, explaining what’s happening in our state and communities — and why. Michigan has hundreds fewer reporters than just a couple decades ago. The result is too many stories falling through the cracks.
The Advance tells stories that other outlets don’t. The people we write for are the heart of our work. We seek to connect what’s going on in Michigan’s Capitol to what’s going on in people’s lives. We talk to people whose problems are being ignored by our leaders. We also explore solutions, talking to those with innovative ideas for policy changes that improve the lives of the many, not just the few.
Too often, political stories are written solely for people at the top: politicians, insiders and corporate leaders. There’s no shortage of horse race coverage, access journalism and gossipy roundups of campaign intrigue. Journalists at the Advance don’t view politics as an amusing game. We understand that decisions made at every level of government, big and small, have a profound impact on people’s lives. We don’t believe that reporting on policy has to be boring.
The Advance takes a bottom-up approach to reporting, starting with issues and stories that impact people outside the six square blocks surrounding the Capitol. You need look no further than the Flint water crisis or Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal at MSU to see the damage that can be done when people aren’t listened to. Low-income people, LGBTQs, immigrants, women and people of color often don’t see their experiences reflected in the media. The Advance takes an inclusive approach and strives to feature voices too often neglected.
Our staff of five experienced journalists is based in downtown Lansing, but you’ll rarely find us hanging around the office. We believe in good, old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting and aim to cover communities across the state.
The Advance is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Advance retains editorial independence.
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. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. 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. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 7,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.
Senior Projects Contributor
Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
Anna Liz Nichols
Anna Liz Nichols covers government and statewide issues, including criminal justice, environmental issues, education and domestic and sexual violence. Anna is a former state government reporter for The Associated Press and her work has been seen in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, among other publications, and most recently was a reporter for the Detroit News. Anna is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied journalism and environmental studies.
Kyle Davidson covers state government alongside health care, business and the environment. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He previously covered community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service. You’ll also find him enjoying live music throughout Michigan and taking in the scenery on our state’s many lakes, streams and trails.