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Annalise Frank is a breaking news reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business. She covers breaking news stories, as well as handles a variety of business topics in the city and region.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now? I don’t cover one specific beat, so I’m open to pretty much all issues. But in general, I try to follow decisions by big companies, entrepreneurship in the city and region, how private and public spending shapes the city of Detroit, the hot-and-cold restaurant industry, housing, equity and a wide variety of other topics.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written. It was never published (long story), but by far the craziest article I’ve written was one I researched for nearly a year — I was living in Vietnam at the time — about the politically minded performance art scene there and how artists interacted with and rebelled against censorship in the past, compared with how younger generations do it now. It involved getting invited into a mysterious dungeon; getting to know some radical artists; and listening to long yarns from the old guard about basement performances broken up by police, art destroyed, etc.
What story or stories are you most proud of? A couple things come to mind: Breaking coverage of Detroit Public Schools Community District shutting off drinking water due to higher-than-acceptable levels of copper/lead, and a piece about business response, investment and concerns in wider southwest Detroit as Ford’s planned Corktown campus starts to create ripple effects.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story? As a breaking news reporter, I’m looking for timeliness and uniqueness. What do members of the metro Detroit and Detroit business communities need to know now to be informed members of society? What hasn’t been reported yet?
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started? Like many cliché young writers, I wanted to be a novelist. But my parents pushed me to pursue journalism instead (thanks, guys) — I went to college to be a reporter and sort of fell in love with it along the way. Surprised myself. I worked at my first newspaper (rest in peace, Romeo Observer) in the summer of 2011.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am … at the Y? Probably that, or washing Tupperware. When you don’t have a dishwasher and you pack a lot of lunches, Tupperware = life.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you? Numbers, visuals, concrete facts and examples of business community impact are extremely appealing. I want to be able to talk with you honestly and directly. I’m a breaking news reporter, so at all times brevity is key — but I also want to understand history and context. So that balance is essential.
Any pet peeves with PR people? Timeliness matters: I don’t particularly want to hear about a restaurant five weeks after it opened — unless an alien artifact was uncovered there, or something. Three others: Sending out news but not being available for questions, not connecting me directly with your client or company leaders, and offering soaring rhetoric without numbers/facts to back it up.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.) I’m a 26-year-old vegetable enthusiast from Romeo. I went to Northwestern University, then worked at a government-owned newspaper in Vietnam for nearly two years and now I’m here. I enjoy walking for long periods of time, and I also like moving my feet more quickly (running) or in a circular motion (cycling). My interests are wide: generally nerdy or food-related.
You can follow Annalise on Twitter at: @annalise_frank