Christine MacDonald of the Detroit Free Press Named Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists – Detroit Chapter
Nearly 300 journalists honored at the Excellence in Journalism awards banquet;
Briana Rice of Michigan Radio named 2022 Young Journalist of the Year;
Beenish Ahmed, Jamie Simmons, Nisa Khan, Sarah Hulett and Lindsey Smith received Sojourner Truth Award in Topical Reporting
DETROIT (May 15, 2023) – The Society of Professional Journalists – Detroit Chapter (SPJ Detroit) announced Christine MacDonald of the Detroit Free Press as its 2022 Journalist of the Year.
Christine MacDonald is an assistant editor and reporter on the Detroit Free Press investigations team. In the past year, her reporting exposed the dysfunction in the Wayne County criminal justice system. Her groundbreaking stories revealed how a backlog of tethers was keeping people in jail longer, even after posting bail, and exposed problems with the treatment of youth incarcerated in the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility. And in most cases, the stories were flushed out by shoe-leather reporting as county officials refused to comply with requests for data through the Freedom of Information Act.
MacDonald was one of nearly 300 awardees announced Monday night by SPJ Detroit at its Excellence in Journalism banquet at the San Marino Club in Troy, Michigan.
Briana Rice, a Detroit-based reporter at Michigan Radio, was named Young Journalist of the Year. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Rice got her start in journalism at her hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, before coming to Detroit. At Michigan Radio, she has covered stories such as the rise of tenant activism in Detroit and the rights renters can use to protect themselves against negligent landlords.
|Finalists for Journalist of the Year were: |
Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press
Beth LeBlanc & Craig Mauger, The Detroit News
|Young Journalist of the Year were: |
Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press
Breana Noble, The Detroit News
Beenish Ahmed, Jamie Simmons, Nisa Khan, Sarah Hulett and Lindsey Smith of Michigan Radio received the Sojourner Truth Award in Topical Reporting, which honors excellence in journalism covering racial justice. The Sojourner Truth Award seeks to recognize reporting that is revealing and impactful in tackling new subject matter. The group was recognized for its reporting on the Wayne County Jail.
Two of metro Detroit’s most respected journalists – Dave LewAllen and Julie Topping – were honored by the SPJ Detroit board of directors to receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The two student recipients of the Lawrence A. Laurain Scholarships included Arianna Heyman of Oakland University and Shawntay Lewis of Wayne State University. Each scholarship is $2,500.
“The Excellence in Journalism awards banquet is a salute to the talents and accomplishments of Michigan journalists,” said Marty Fischhoff, SPJ Detroit chapter president. “Congratulations to Christine MacDonald, Briana Rice, Dave LewAllen, Julie Topping and all those who were recognized for their outstanding work.”
The Journalist of the Year and Young Journalist of the Year were selected by a jury of veteran local journalists, and the Excellence in Journalism awards were judged by a jury of veteran journalists from an outstate chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
For more information, visit spjdetroit.org.