The ’Gander wins multiple 2023 Michigan Press Association awards

By Karel Vega

March 19, 2024

MICHIGAN—The ’Gander Newsroom has earned multiple awards in the 2023 Michigan Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. The awards were announced on March 14 at the MPA’s awards ceremony in Plymouth.

Reporters at The ’Gander took home a first-place award in most innovative storytelling for their coverage of the Feb. 13, 2023, mass shooting at Michigan State University and a second-place award in the public service category. The team also received three honorable mention awards.

“I think our team’s priorities shine in these wins,” said Lisa Hayes, who was ’Gander’s managing editor from 2022-2023, and is now editorial director for ’Gander’s parent company, COURIER Newsroom. “We were focused on holding elected officials accountable, on lifting up the shared experience of living in Michigan, and on covering news that mattered to Michiganders’ daily lives. I’m particularly proud of our innovative story telling—every day we ask ourselves how we can meet our audience where they are, whether that’s on social media, email, or a more traditional website. That’s what continues to set ’Gander apart from other media outlets.”

Every year, the MPA Better Newspaper Contest highlights the best in Michigan journalism, photojournalism, column writing, graphic design, and advertising.

The full details on the awards received by The ’Gander:

First place

  • Lisa Hayes, Hope O’Dell, Isaac Constans; Most Innovative Story Telling: The Michigan State University campus shooting & aftermath

The ’Gander’s entry in this category consisted of multiple submissions, including:

What Happened and What’s Next After Mass Shooting Rattles Michigan State

Waiting Out the MSU Shooter: One Woman’s Experience

Scammers Prey on Spartans After Mass Shooting

Second place

Honorable mentions



  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

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