CM Life advisor to step down after nine years of training CMU journalists

Dave Clark has served as Director of Student Media since 2013. Courtesy Photo

Director of Student Media and Central Michigan Life adviser Dave Clark announced his decision to resign from his role at Central Michigan University, effective May 6. In the coming months, Clark will reenter the journalism industry at the same newspaper that published his first bylines.

Clark has helped train CMU's budding journalists since 2013 after he was hired to replace former adviser Neil Hopp. 

On Monday, Clark will begin his new role as the editor of the Midland Daily News.

"One of the great things about being a teacher is that when you're showing people how to perfect a craft, you're also teaching yourself," Clark said. "Working with our students and working at CM Life has inspired me to go back to a newsroom and create journalism myself."

Clark grew up in Midland before attending CMU as an undergraduate from 1993-96. He contributed to the Midland Daily's entertainment section before occasionally writing for CM Life

Some of Clark's first articles were printed in the Midland Daily News. Now, he said he's ready to return home.

"The Midland Daily News holds a special place in my heart, it's where I got my start," Clark said. "To serve as the editor is an unprecedented opportunity for me."

Jeremy McBain, director of audience development of Hearst Community Newspapers, stated how Clark will bring leadership skills and experience in community journalism to the Midland Daily News.

“Dave Clark brings a wealth of experience in the operation of successful community newsrooms over a long career as well as experience in training new journalists and polishing experienced journalists," McBain said.

Clark is known by CM Life staffers for his candid, down-to-earth advice. Editor-in-Chief Michael Livingston said he serves as both students' greatest critic and biggest fan.

"I'm about to graduate CMU with tons of great experience thanks to Dave," Livingston said. "He's that person you could talk to about anything whether it's journalism, life advice or your favorite band."

Advertisements for the Director of Student Media position will be posted in the next few months leading up to the end of the Spring 2022 semester. A search committee will be appointed, likely made up of students, faculty, alumni and more, to evaluate the candidates. 

Clark will continue to advise the CM Life staff until his resignation date while carrying responsibilities at the Midland Daily News

"Dave has been instrumental to helping young journalists," Director of the CMU Student Media Board Sarah Leach said. "This job evolves and changes so much and he has truly fostered these students to be ready for their careers."

Last year, Clark and two other journalism staff members were placed on administrative leave during a seven-month-long investigation, after allegations were made that they may have had knowledge of improper conduct between Lansing-based alumni

All three were cleared of any wrongdoing and Clark returned to CMU in August. 

Many of CM Life's landmark stories were published under Clark's tenure including coverage of the March 2, 2018 shooting in which a CMU student shot and killed his parents on the fourth floor of a CMU residence hall.

A year later, CM Life published "Exploring the dark side of Greek Life" - an investigation into a  fraternity with a track record of sexual assault, hazing and misconduct that was kicked off campus

"During my four years at CM Life, Dave has been a driving force in motivating me to become a better journalist," Investigative Editor Courtney Pedersen said. "By leaving CMU and returning to a newsroom, he continues to inspire me."

CM Life has won seven Pacemaker Awards with Clark. The Associated Collegiate Press, with more than 570 members, is a national community of collegiate journalists and collegiate journalism advisers. A Pacemaker is the highest award a student media outlet can earn. 

Since Clark's hiring, CM Life has been named "College Newspaper of the Year" by the Michigan Press Association every year. CM Life has also claimed four Mark of Excellence Awards by the regional Society of Professional Journalists. 

Clark also helped organize CM Life's Centennial Celebration which congregated hundreds of CMU alumni to commemorate 100 years of CM Life history.

"Central Michigan University is grateful for the nine years of service to our students and the university community provided by Dave Clark," Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Shaun Holtgreive said. "He has worked hard to keep CM Life as one of the outstanding student newspapers in the country.  While we are happy for Dave and this terrific opportunity with the Midland Daily News, he will be missed."

Clark said the greatest takeaway from his experience at CM Life is his newfound optimism for journalism. 

"Working with the students that are part of this staff, at this time, I couldn't be more proud of them."