2012 Special Recognition Award
Phil Power is Michigan’s consummate newspaper entrepreneur, political columnist and public servant.
In 1965, he purchased the six Observer newspapers in Detroit’s suburbs, and nine years later, added six Eccentrics in Oakland County. Through his guidance, the papers provided professional and progressive news coverage to emerging communities that sometimes weren’t covered in the nearby metro papers.
From there, Power founded Hometown Communications Network, a group of 62 community newspapers in Michigan and Ohio. Initially an entrepreneurial effort, the corporation became the best of its kind in the country. For nearly 40 years, Power ran a news organization that employed hundreds of Michigan journalists who, taken together—and including Power’s own columns holding public officials accountable—won more awards for excellence than any group in the country.
In 2005, Power sold Hometown Communications to Gannett. He turned right around to launch a venture called the Center for Michigan, a nonprofit “think-and-do tank,” with bipartisan political leaders. Its in-depth journalism has advanced public engagement on important issues in Michigan.
Less than a year ago, the Center started Bridge Magazine, a twice-weekly online news magazine staffed by professional journalists writing in-depth analyses and reporting complex policy issues.
With public-minded relentlessness, the Power family has invested millions of dollars toward the success of the Center and Bridge Magazine into 2025. This dedication assures that the Center and Bridge Magazine continue to innovate and make contributions to Michigan journalism that, in turn, informs Michiganders on government policies that affect our well-being.