Jonathan Oosting and Mike Wilkinson of Bridge Michigan Named Journalists of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists – Detroit Chapter

The Society of Professional Journalists – Detroit Chapter (SPJ Detroit) announced Jonathan Oosting and Mike Wilkinson of Bridge Michigan as its 2024 Journalists of the Year.

Oosting is a deputy editor and politics reporter with Bridge Michigan. Wilkinson focuses on data-assisted reporting, often finding stories by analyzing maps and data sets and has created Bridge’s dashboards on COVID-19, the state’s economy and Michigan’s elections. In the past year, Oosting and Wilkinson’s reporting revealed problems in Michigan’s grant-making process. The pair also uncovered problems in Michigan State University’s safety practices in the wake of a mass shooting on campus. Oosting and Wilkinson were named Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association in 2023.

Oosting and Wilkinson were just two of nearly 300 awardees announced Wednesday night by SPJ Detroit at its Excellence in Journalism banquet at the San Marino Club in Troy, Michigan.

Jena Brooker was named 2023 Young Journalist of the Year. Brooker is the environment and food reporter for BridgeDetroit. She got her start at Planet Detroit, a newsletter focused on environment and public health. Prior to joining BridgeDetroit she was the first Midwest Fellow at Grist Magazine, a national news organization focused on climate change and a just future.

Finalists for Journalist of the Year were:

  • Bill Kubota, Detroit PBS
  • Jamie LaReau, Phoebe Wall Howard and Eric Lawrence, Detroit Free Press

Young Journalist of the Year finalists were:

  • Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press
  • Simon Schuster, Bridge Michigan

One Detroit, American Black Journal, BridgeDetroit 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 Walk to Freedom coverage.

Three of metro Detroit’s most respected journalists – Carolyn Clifford, Kirthmon F. Dozier and Luther Keith – 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 Riley Hodder of the University of Michigan and Mariia Smahliuk of Central Michigan University.

“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 Jonathan Oosting, Mike Wilkinson, Jena Brooker, Carolyn Clifford, Kirthmon F. Dozier and Luther Keith 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.

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