Michael is a freelance writer, reporter, photographer, videographer and communications teacher based in Gainesville, Florida. His reporting now focuses primarily on health care and medicine, technology, and history, especially World War II. But he has also covered politics from city councils to presidential candidates, crime, courts, education, business and employment, wildlife and the environment, fitness and nutrition, military, high school, college and pro sports, travel, weather, celebrities, and large events and festivals.
His work has resulted in journalism awards and scholarships, an assistantship and two fellowships. It has appeared in or has been picked up by: TIME, Discover, the Associated Press, The Tennessean, Patch (AOL), NPR/PBS, Publishers Weekly, and several other media outlets. The website he launched in 2010 covering two counties in Georgia began without any content or hits but grew to attract tens of thousands of unique visitors a month.
His proficiencies include: writing, reporting, editing, photography, videography, multimedia, page design, public relations, social media, open records and meetings, and content and freelance management.
Before college, he had the privilege of serving as a U.S. student ambassador over three summers in Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta and Wales. He also studied at the University of Cambridge one summer.
Michael attended Middle Tennessee State University for his undergraduate work and started with the school’s student newspaper in 2007, eventually holding the position of editor in chief. During college, he was also the rechartering president for the Society of Professional Journalists chapter; completed two internships for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and had several in-depth freelance articles published in between internships.
After graduating with his bachelor’s in journalism, he began a six-month reporting internship at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Upon completion, he moved to metro Atlanta to launch and direct a news website covering Cobb and Douglas counties for Patch, AOL’s network of local news websites, helping the site become a go-to news source for the communities covered. In addition to being the site’s primary reporter, photographer, videographer and editor, Michael was also in charge of freelancer and blogger management, event organization and promotion, and many more components that made the site thrive.
Having always planned to go to graduate school, he eventually moved from Georgia to Florida to work on his master’s in health/science communications from the University of Florida. He graduated with the degree in December 2014 after finishing his 200-page thesis, “Investigating News on a Nuisance: Media Framing and Stakeholder Perspectives on Florida’s Invasive Pythons.”
While in graduate school, Michael taught undergraduate journalism and public relations students at UF, and he has continued there as an adjunct professor — teaching up to five class sections a semester — while also devoting time to his freelance work. The classes he teaches are: Multimedia Writing, Multimedia Reporting, Writing Mechanics, Problems and Ethics in Journalism, and News Center Practicum, which has Michael serving as a news editor/manager while students work as reporters in UF’s Innovation News Center, a professional newsroom setting and NPR/PBS affiliate.
Among Michael’s passions are conservation and the environment. In 2013, he served as the first-ever visiting media specialist for White Oak Conservation, a premiere facility for 20-plus rare and endangered species in northern Florida. He also volunteered for more than four years between the Chattanooga and Nashville zoos.
He enjoys traveling and has been to several states and countries.
In his free time, Michael enjoys nature photography, reading, writing, current events, chess, billiards, guitar, recycling, maintaining a vegan diet and crossing his fingers that a literary agent will pick up his political thriller. He owes an endless amount of gratitude to his mom, Michelle; her husband, Garry; grandparents, Carol and Wayne; grandmother, Jean; MTSU journalism Professors Leon Alligood and Wendell Rawls; the other supportive communications faculty members at MTSU and UF; all his co-workers, past and present; and many other great people.