Caitlyn French (’14)

Caitlyn French – News Reporter, MLive Media Group, Bay City, Michigan

What you do:

I’m currently a news reporter for the Bay City Times of MLive Media Group. I spend my workday doing boots-on-the-ground journalism, ​digging deep, and getting to know those in my community so I can tell their stories. My job consists of scheduling and conducting interviews, writing engaging stories, and producing content that keeps readers informed and connected with their community. I work with a dedicated photo team at this job to cover live events as well.

Headshot of alumna Caitlyn French
Caitlyn French

I’ve been working in journalism since my graduation from Bethany in Winter of 2014. I first started in February of 2015 with the Granite Falls Advocate Tribune of Gate House Media in Minnesota as a Sports Reporter. I eventually became the news editor of not only the Advocate Tribune but also it’s sister paper, The Tri-County News. I later worked at the Lennox Independent and Tea Weekly in South Dakota and later the West Lyon Herald and Lyon County Reporter in Iowa before making my way back home to Michigan to work under MLive.

I’m also the co-owner of a photography and art business called Magna Images. The business is centered around providing quality photography and framing services, producing gallery and competition worthy pieces, and assisting with product marketing through photographic work.

I’m currently working on obtaining my MBA through Western Governors University. This degree is to deepen my skills in administration for both Magna Images and as I aim to make it into the media management field.

My accomplishments include being published in multiple print publications, some of which I listed above: The Granite Falls Advocate Tribune, The Tri-County News, the Lennox Independent, the Tea Weekly, the Sioux County Index, the West Lyon Herald, the Lyon County Reporter, the Bay City Times, and the Saginaw News.

My current article archive is available here from MLive:

What Inspires You:

Nothing is the same in news. I’m never in a cubicle all day doing the same thing day after day. One day I’ll be on a Great Lakes commercial fishing boat interviewing fishermen about controversial legislation and the next I’ll be interviewing local film makers about their newest release. I love being able to tell my community’s story and sharing it with my audience.

How You Want To Make a Difference:

Journalism is at a turning point. Newspapers are shuttering their doors around the country, reporters are getting accused of producing fake news at every turn. It’s my goal as a journalist to bring integrity back to the table and to make every newspaper that I work at a pillar of the free press in their community. I strive to be open, transparent, and honest in my reporting. I also play the important role of serving as a source of accountability in local government. By attending and reporting on government meetings, I make sure that my community stays informed and that local officials stay honest.

I also want to be an accessible journalist. I want everyone to be able to get their story told. Whether it’s the fledgling entrepreneur trying to get off the ground with a new business or a long-time community icon retiring, I want to tell their story.

How Bethany Prepared You:

Bethany prepared me immensely for my career. Even though I studied topics like animation and motion graphics in the Media Arts program, my major laid the foundation for me to be a successful and resourceful journalist. The camera skills I learned allow me to have taken my own photos in past news jobs. The graphic design courses prepared me to layout newspaper pages before coming to MLive. And the liberal arts part of my degree allowed me to be a well-rounded employee and journalist. I’m able to understand a variety of fields and subjects, which has helped me immensely. My writing ability was also greatly impacted by Bethany. I was inspired by multiple professors who noticed my knack for writing to keep on growing as a writer.

I never set out to be a journalist. In fact, I feel as if I fell into journalism on accident. I applied for my first journalism job out of curiosity in Granite Falls. I saw the posting and thought, “Wow, I know how to do all this from Bethany. Let’s do it.” Once I was hired I instantly fell in love with the field. I truly feel at home in journalism and will strive to keep serving my community as a news reporter.

What You Remember Most About Bethany:

My favorite part about Bethany was what I would call “studio culture.” I loved life in the Media Arts studio and getting to collaborate with my classmates on different projects. Getting to work on building sets late at night together and plan our shot lists out was amazing and helped to foster my ability to work in teams in the news world.

Advice For Current Students:

My advice is to always keep going, no matter how hard it gets. Things may seem hard, things may seem downright impossible to get through. But keep going. You never know where life is going to take you (I had no idea I’d end up a successful journalist, but here I am). It’s worth the effort to keep on pushing through.