The so-called balance of commercial journalism: The MLive story on the DeVos-created group AmplifyGR and its development plans in Southtown

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Over the past 25 years that I have been monitoring the news media in West Michigan, rarely have I come across a reporter who has been willing to challenge local power. This has most definitely been the case with the most powerful family in West Michigan, the DeVos family.

On Tuesday, MLive ran a story about the DeVos-created group AmplifyGR and its partnership with Rockford Construction to develop part of what is referred to as Southtown. 

The MLive article is instructive on many levels and I want to provide a bit of deconstruction.

First, the article is framed as presenting a balance of perspectives, which is even the focus of the headline. However, there is no real balance in this story. The reporter provides all kinds of commentary about Doug, Maria and Cheri Devos, saying they have “been involved in several school and community redevelopment programs around the…

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