Eric Freedman is professor of journalism and former associate dean of International Studies and Programs. During his 20-year newspaper career, he covered public affairs, environmental issues and legal affairs for newspapers in New York and Michigan, winning a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a legislative corruption scandal. He teaches environmental journalism and serves as director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. He also teaches public affairs reporting, international journalism, feature writing and media law and serves as director of the school’s Capital News Service
PRESS & PRESIDENTS COMMENTARY: Incensed by a political cartoon taunting his foreign policy, the president “hurled” the offensive cartoon to the floor as the Cabinet watched and went into a tirade “on the personal abuse inflicted on him” by opposition journalists. Nope, that wasn’t Donald Trump reacting badly It was George Washington. A new book explores press-presidential relations, including that of Michigan’s only president, Gerald Ford. With references to Leelanau County and Grand Rapids. Commentary by Eric Freedman. FOR LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.
INSECT INVADERS: The bees are coming! So are the hairy maggot blow flies! Both had already come uninvited to Michigan. And now there’s evidence they’ve spread elsewhere – Chicago and northwestern Indiana. We talk to researchers who found them. A DNR entomologist says there are good grounds to worry about the expected invasion of the spotted lantern fly from Asia via Pennsylvania, and notes the destructive impact already of the emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid in Michigan. By Eric Freedman. FOR MICHIGAN FARM BUREAU, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS AND ALL POINTS.
INNER COAST: Farm auctions in Southeast Michigan. The trauma of the Flint water crisis. Ice canoe racing in Quebec. Ann Arbor writer Donovan Hohn’s book of essays looks at where the natural and the historic overlap to make sense of where we are. By Eric Freedman. FOR ALL POINTS.
CAMPAIGN COVERAGE COMMENTARY: How has campaign coverage in Michigan changed, and why? We talk to a Grand Valley State political scientist and the most senior member of the Capitol press corps, Tim Skubick. Commentary for news and opinion sections. By Eric Freedman. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS
RURAL CITIES: You won’t find barns and silos in Detroit. Or herds of cattle. Or fields of soybeans, sugar beets or wheat. Even so, much of the city is now “ruralized,” a new MSU study says, a phenomenon also visible in Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw. Study says Detroit isn’t actually rural but recommends that economic development approaches used in rural areas be used there rather than traditional urban top-down strategies like tax breaks and focus on large employers. For news and business sections. The authors explain. Includes references to Ionia and Clinton counties. By Eric Freedman. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP!, IONIA, GREENVILLE, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.
HUNTER SAFE EATING: To keep healthy, deer hunters have more to worry about than COVID-19 and the flu. On the beware list: PFAS and lead from ammunition. DNR and the Department of Health and Human Services have a do-not-eat advisory for deer killed within 5 miles of Clark’s Marsh in Iosco County, where high levels of PFAS were found in groundwater. For the same reason, Wisconsin warned hunters not to eat livers from deer killed in the Marinette area, across the Menominee River from the Western UP. Meanwhile, a new study warns about lead in ground venison. We talk to Michigan United Conservation Clubs and a study author. For news and outdoors sections. By Eric Freedman. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.
UNOPPOSED: As voters focus on presidential and U.S. Senate contests, there are some contests that, well, aren’t really contests. Among them: a Detroit state rep and a Democratic rep nominee from Hamtramck are unopposed, as are all the GOP countywide nominees in Montcalm County. There’s only one disputed countywide spot in Manistee, Grand Traverse and Marquette counties. We hear from the clerks in Montcalm and Marquette counties–both unopposed themselves–the sole Democrat running for countywide office in “cherry red” Allegan County and the unopposed state rep. In contrast, there are five candidates for a West Michigan congressional seat and two in Metro Detroit. References to St. Joseph, Hillsdale, Branch, Chippewa, Mackinac, Oceana, Branch, Montmorency, Gogebic, Ionia and Alger counties. Note: Editors can check the official ballot in their own counties at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/PublicBallot. By Eric Freedman. FOR MARQUETTE, HOLLAND, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, GREENVILLE, IONIA, OCEANA, LAKE COUNTY, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MONTMORENCY, COLDWATER, TRAVERSE CITY, BAY MILLS, HILLSDALE, CRAWFORD COUNTY AND ALL POINTS.
FARMERS MARKETS: New farmers markets in low-income, urban areas of Michigan face challenges in recruiting and retaining vendors, a new study finds. Farmers motivated by their love of gardening or the desire to build community are least likely to drop out of those urban markets, the study concludes. Four farmers markets were canceled this year because of the pandemic in Benzonia, Munising, Lansing and Grayling. We talk to a study author and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. By Eric Freedman. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, LANSING CITY PULSE, CORP! BENZIE, MARQUETTE, CRAWFORD COUNTY, MANISTEE, TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.
Worried about crime? If so, check out the Upper Peninsula, which has more of Michigan’s 10 safest small communities than any other part of the state, a new study says. Ishpeming Township had the lowest rate of reported crime, along with Norway, Kinross Township and Iron Mountain.The five least-safe small communities? Gaylord, Hart, Mackinaw City, Benton Harbor and, with the highest rate, Mackinac Island. Or maybe not. Mackinac Island’s acting police chief and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police explain why the statistics are flawed. We also hear from the study’s author. Story includes references to Livingston, Kent and Barry counties, Gaylord, Hart, Mackinaw City, Benton Harbor and others. By Eric Freedman. FOR ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, CHEBOYGAN, FOWLERVILLE, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.
It’s no surprise that cell phone use is a major cause of distracted driving crashes. A new study details groups in Michigan most likely to use handheld phones while driving: drivers under 29, women, non-whites and truck, SUV and van drivers. Study by MSU engineering researchers analyzed data based on roadside observations of 179,779 vehicles at 200 locations in the 35 counties with the most crash-related deaths, including St. Joseph, Marquette, Wexford, Montcalm, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Ionia, Ottawa, Livingston, Kent, Grand Traverse, Branch and Ingham counties. The lead researcher and the Iron County sheriff discuss By Eric Freedman. STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MARQUETTE, CADILLAC, GREENVILLE, IONIA, HILLSDALE, FOWLERVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, TRAVERSE CITY, HOLLAND, LANSING CITY PULSE, COLDWATER, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE AND ALL POINTS.