Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan Advance honored with 2020 Environmental Journalism Award

By: - December 15, 2020 3:17 pm

Susan J. Demas

The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter is honoring the Michigan Advance with the 2020 Environmental Journalism Award.

The Advance was selected for its “outstanding reporting” on the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline controversy and “regularly engaging readers with compelling and approachable stories about a controversial pipeline that at any point in time could rupture and create an environmental and economic disaster.”

Author Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

“In this most challenging of years, it is particularly important to honor those among us who overcome all obstacles and stand out in protecting our Great Lakes environment,” said Gail Philbin, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter director. “They are Michigan heroes and we are grateful for what they do day in and day out to ensure our state is a better place.”

The Advance‘s environmental coverage is led by reporter Laina G. Stebbins.

“My colleagues and I are honored and grateful to receive this award. To be able to report so thoroughly on such an important environmental issue has been the highlight of my career at the Advance so far,” Stebbins said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has made our Line 5 stories possible.”

The nonprofit Michigan Advance, which is part of the States Newsroom network, began publishing in December 2018. In March, the Michigan Press Association honored the Advance with 19 awards.

“Environmental coverage has been one of our top priorities at the Advance and we are thrilled to receive this honor from the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter,” said Editor Susan J. Demas. “Since joining our staff last year, Laina has taken our Line 5 coverage to a new level, writing about impacts for tribes, the economy and the election in Michigan and across the country.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also was named Sierra Club’s 2020 Environmentalist of the Year in Michigan “for her extraordinary work in safeguarding democracy during this year’s historic elections.”

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on 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, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she 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 80 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 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.