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 four 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.
Recent awards include four in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 Green Eyeshade Awards: first place in the television documentaries category (“Pearl Harbor: 75 Years Later“) and first place in the magazine feature writing category (“The Last of World War II“), and then those winning Best of Division across all categories in television and magazines.
Michael’s most recent fellowship, the RIAS Berlin Commission’s international journalist exchange, sent him to Germany and Belgium to meet with and learn from top politicians, diplomats, and journalists at NATO; European Commission headquarters; the U.S.’s German embassy; Bild, the most-read print publication outside Asia; and other locations in the two countries.
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 continues 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 in UF’s Innovation News Center, home of the NPR/PBS affiliate WUFT.
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. He devotes his free time to 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; his extended family; the supportive communications faculty members at MTSU and UF; co-workers past and present; and many other great people.