Business, Events

Gionni on the spot at Mackinac

By Gionni Crawford, Youth Neighborhood News

Now that the 2011 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference has officially ended, I can think about my experience. I wish it lasted longer. I have learned so much and met many people at this year’s conference. I have learned that it is essential to network and make connections. When attending this type of an event, it is important to bring business cards and stay in touch with folks.

I interviewed Sandy Pierce, CEO and president of Charter One Financial and chair on the Downtown Detroit Partnership Communications Committee. Our one-on-one interview can be viewed on our Youth Neighborhood News YouTube channel. Along with Sandy Pierce, I met Robert Ficano, L. Brooks Patterson, Mayor Dave Bing and did video news stories on Governor Rick Snyder and Geoffrey Canada.

General knowledge of reporting, editing and people skills are important because these skills can help determine how successful you will be.  I really wanted to get the word out about Youth Neighborhood News, also known as YNN. I was determined to get on the MIvote Detroit Public Television LIVE broadcast at this year’s conference. I chatted with former WXYX Channel 7 news anchor, Christy McDonald, who hosted the show, via Twitter before the conference and I told her what YNN is all about. I continued to introduce myself to her and eventually I got in touch will the production manger of the show. They found a five-minute spot for me to talk about our news program, which can be found at

I hope to come to the conference every year just to network with folks and do what I love, which is reporting.  Huge thanks to Vanessa Denha-Garmo for making journalism come alive for me ever since I have joined the YNN team when I showed up not knowing one thing about journalism. Thanks to my YNN experience I cannot imagine myself doing anything more enjoyable. I am also grateful to Marge Sorge and everyone at the Detroit Regional News Hub, our executive producers, because without them YNN would not exist.

Watch all YNN reports at and follow us on Twitter @ynndetroit and me @gionnicrawford if you have any further questions.

Gionni Crawford is a 17-year-old YNN reporter who also reports for Our Life In the D.

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