WDET, Detroit’s public radio station, and Bridge Magazine won a combined 26 awards in this year’s Society of Professional Journalists-Detroit Excellence in Journalism contest, which is one of the largest journalism competitions in Michigan. The two outlets work together as part of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC), a partnership of nonprofit media.
Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation, the DJC partners are reporting about and creating community engagement opportunities relevant to the city’s bankruptcy, recovery and restructuring.
In the SPJ competition, WDET earned 14 awards altogether, including six for DJC content. In the broadcast category, WDET claimed:
- 1st Place in Radio Investigative Reporting for the Detroit Agenda series. Judges’ comments: “Kudos to the team for reporting top-notch concrete stories on issues residents determined were top issues in the city.”
- 2nd Place in Radio Investigative Reporting for the Mayor Duggan at the Six Month Mark Series. Judges’ comments: “The reporters in this series honed in on the mayor – his promises and actions.”
- 1st and 3rd Place in Radio Breaking News for bankruptcy trial coverage.
In the online category, open to all print, broadcast and online media, WDET won:
- 2nd Place for Online Blogging for NextChapterDetroit.com, which features content from all DJC partners.
- Honorable Mention for Online Feature writing on NextChapterDetroit.com. The entry included “The Bike-ruptcy Bus Tour,” “Linked in Lansing? Michigan’s term limits and Detroit’s bankruptcy,” and “The ArtVest Report on the DIA: A history, appraisal of key issues.” Judges’ comments: “Well done. These stories are illustrative of the new forms of journalism that rock,
but don’t fit in traditional contest categories. Keep up the good work.”
Bridge earned 12 awards altogether, including four first place awards across the eight online division categories. Bridge earned two awards for DJC content:
- 2nd Place in Digital Media Presentation for “Duggan Donor Database: Big-time, Super PAC money comes to Motown.“
- 3rd Place in Watchdog Reporting for “Benchmark Detroit: Charting Detroit’s path from rock bottom.” Judges’ comments: “It is clear much work and research was done to produce these stories.”
In addition, WDET’s Sandra Svoboda’s DJC work throughout the year inspired the Wayne State University Graduate Public Administration program to name her its 2015 Distinguished Alumnus. She earned her master’s of public administration from WSU in 1997 and teaches as an adjunct faculty member in WSU’s Department of Political Science and at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences and Letters public administration program.