Hello and welcome.
My name is Vanessa McCray.
For 16 years, I’ve worked as a reporter at newspapers in Michigan and Ohio. My career started at the Escanaba Daily Press in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, followed by a decade of storytelling from the shores of Lake Michigan at the Traverse City Record-Eagle. I moved to Toledo to work for The Blade in 2012, and I’m currently the education reporter at this Pulitzer Prize-winning daily in Ohio’s fourth largest city. (Edit: Not my Pulitzer; Toledo’s population is 282,313 and falling.)
In 2001, I graduated from Hillsdale College, where I received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in journalism and a minor in classical studies. In 2006, I completed a graduate certification in historic preservation from Eastern Michigan University.
I’m a note taker, friend maker, and Great Laker.
At The Blade, I write news, features, and enterprise stories about local schools and higher education. And whatever else my editors tell me to do. My sprawling beat responsibilities include an urban kindergarten through 12th grade school district of about 24,000 students, numerous suburban schools, and the University of Toledo, which I’ve covered since February of 2015.
My most recent work includes:
- This seven-part series about the slow reversal of the Great Migration that grew out of a recent reporting trip to the Deep South.
- A data-driven piece comparing the stagnant graduation rates at Toledo Public Schools to gains made by other urban districts in Ohio.
- A public records-based story describing how the University of Toledo used private dollars to furnish its new presidential house. (Gilded trefoil table, anyone?)
During my first few years at The Blade, I worked as a general assignment reporter. I wrote stories from northwest Ohio and beyond, such as:
- This feature story on Arcadia that was part of the newspaper’s 2012 presidential election series on small-town Ohio life.
- Detailed, daily deadline reporting from a 2014 trip to the tobacco fields and migrant camps of North Carolina.
- A profile of a Vietnam veteran who, after 40 years, returned a war trophy.
From 2002 to 2012, I worked at the Traverse City Record-Eagle. I started as an education reporter, covered city hall for four years, and then joined the features department — writing about arts and entertainment, food, faith, and health as well as producing Sunday centerpieces, profiles, and projects.
In 2011, I wrote this five-story package that brought to light the dark secrets surrounding three unrelated infant deaths that occurred within a six-month span in the Traverse City area. The package won first place awards in enterprise writing from the Michigan Press Association and the Michigan Associated Press Editorial Association.