We're "pivoting" again
Front Page, Week of Feb. 26, 2022
The title is a reference to this very early post in Copper Beacon’s life when it was still known as Late Edition. Looking back at it, it’s hard to believe that was barely a year ago.
Unfortunately, I spent much of the week working on things other than stories to share with you, so once again this week, I’ll spend a little time talking about what’s happening behind the scenes as a kind of administration report. I also have some work from others that I’ll share, too.
The first thing on the list is a note on behalf of one of the interns, Brendan.
Brendan is looking to do a story about the yo-yo of unemployment benefits in Michigan we’ve experienced, where the state started looking to claw back about $5.7 billion in unemployment benefits that were “improperly given” during the last two years. It looks like there is some relief on the way now, but some people have still been put through a lot of needless stress over the issue — if nothing else.
We’re looking for people who have been affected by this oversight (or lack thereof) by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, please respond to this email or email email@example.com so we can connect with Brendan for an interview about the experience. It doesn’t have to be the worst thing imaginable, the stories of average people need to be told, too.
Recruiting student writers
This week, I visited The Lode to talk about working with their writers to secure content for Copper Beacon. I’ve been impressed with the work they’re doing, particularly since Michigan Tech doesn’t have a journalism program. We’re working on something of a syndication agreement, where Copper Beacon would pay their writers to be able to republish versions of their articles. My hope is that it will help The Lode recruit more writers, and also bolster Copper Beacon’s coverage of Michigan Tech events and issues.
I’m intending on visiting other schools to recruit writers, too. I’m not aware of any other student-run papers in the area, so I’ll probably work through English departments and teachers. If you know someone who would be interested, let me know and I can put their school earlier on the list.
Houghton County FOIA/transparency issue
I’m going to continue to report on and press the county for greater transparency. I filed another FOIA request this week, but haven’t gotten a response yet. I’m hoping that’s a good sign since the denials I’ve received have typically arrived quite quickly.
Some of the grants and appeals for assistance that I’m looking at to push the matter further ask if the organization has 501(c)3 status, so I’m kind of dragging my feet on those applications while I move that tax-exempt status forward. In the meanwhile, I’m hoping that maybe I can convince them to simply do what other public bodies in the area have been doing for years - share a basic breakdown of the bills they’re approving with the public each month. I’m not sure what makes them so defensive of it where others aren’t, and that’s what makes me curious.
501(c)3 application status
This has unfortunately been stalled for most of the month. The person I was working with at Proskauer had to resign her position due to a health issue and it took a couple of weeks to get the new guy up to speed. Once that was accomplished, some paperwork got bounced back to us for signatures from the board, and we haven’t been able to find a good time to get everyone together. I’m taking it upon myself this week, before I’m working full-time, to try and just run it around to everyone individually for signatures so we can get it done.
The Exploitation of Ontonagon, Part 5 (final)
The last part of Bruce Johanson’s series about the different industries that have come and gone in Ontonagon.
Updated for Feb. 26, 2022
The new Coper Beacon Community Calendar is off to a pretty good start. You can respond to this email with any events you’d like to see added to it.
Other News (aggregated, not sponsored)
//Click on the headlines to read the full story.
Chris Davis, The Lode
Pretty solid reporting from MTU student-reporter Chris Davis! This is the kind of work I’m hoping to be able to polish and present to you in full in the future. For now, it’s a diamond in the rough.
Amanda Seitz and David Klepper, Associated Press
“Some are real, horrifying images of this war. Others had been lurking on the internet for years before Russia launched the largest attack on a European country since World War II.”
Joslin Brown and Michael Broadway, Rural Insights
A review of the KNHP’s history and a brief analysis of its financial impact on the area.
Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press
“Election officials preparing for this year’s midterms have yet another security concern to add to an already long list that includes death threats, disinformation, ransomware and cyberattacks — threats from within.”