News - Follow Your Passion
“You can take the girl out of journalism, but you can’t take the journalism out of the girl,” HFCC alumni Mary Milia jokes about her passion toward the journalism world. Mary is not only a pioneer of our school’s newspaper, but she is also the first female sports writer/editor in the Metro Detroit area.
“The Ford Estate” is the previous name of HFCC’s student newspaper, now named “The Mirror News.” As Editor-in-Chief, Milia was responsible for many tasks including layout production, supervision of staff, and reporting. Additionally, she interviewed Hollywood celebrities and professional and local athletes.
“Do you know how hard it was to get the celebrities on the phone?” said Milia.
When Milia returned to HFCC’s newsroom at the end of the fall semester of 2012, she was extremely impressed with the differences she saw from then to now. She recalled that the printing process was formerly a manual production; from the rubber cement glue that held the first drafts together to rotary machines and typing articles on a typewriter. “I wouldn’t even know how to do it now in this day and age,” Milia stated.
Milia’s journalism career began early at Cody High school in Detroit, Michigan. Once she enrolled in journalism 101, she was taught the ropes of being a journalist. In class once, students were told to create a news story in 3 minutes. Milia’s was deemed the best and her teacher complimented her about her writing style. After graduation in 1973, she went to HFCC and pursued her interest in journalism.
As with many students, the college years brought many opportunities. In addition to writing, Milia was a contestant in a Miss America pageant in Detroit in 1974. Though she didn’t win the grand title, she was crowned Miss Congeniality and received a scholarship.
In the newsroom, Mary constantly impressed her editor with the many celebrities she scored interviews with. Holding true to journalism values and ethics and never uncovering her sources was a major part of her success. Interviewing celebrities and athletes became very fascinating to her and she took that excitement to the next step of her career.
While Holding true to her journalism roots and local ties, Mary was able to work for Ford Land Development and The Civitan Club, right here in Dearborn, Michigan. The duties at the position included press promotions, releases, and reporting for various local events, such as the 1976 Wrist Wrestling Tournament affiliated with “ABC Wide World of Sports”. There she was able to interview the legendary comedian Bill Cosby.
Additionally, she began doing freelance for The Detroit News where she covered the 1976 Presidential Election at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn. In 1980 she covered the Republican Convention at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Milia broke ground for women reporters by working as sports editor for the Ecorse Weekly Times Newspaper. There she oversaw the final preparation of each edition and interviewed and covered professional, collegiate, and international athletes and teams.
Milia said the men always tried to intimidate her in the locker rooms, but she overcame the struggles and gained respect. “A few athletes apologized to me,” she said.
Winning an Emmy for best news magazine is one of her proudest accomplishments. Milia began field producing for WTVS channel-56 Detroit. She and a few other reporters would go undercover on the streets of Detroit and investigate controversial issues such as teen pregnancy and heroin addicts on the streets. One time during an investigation, Milia and her team were shot at in a news van.
The accomplishments in Milia’s career are numerous and stretch beyond the boundaries of pure journalism. She served as a judge in competition and received many awards herself. Despite her number of accomplishments, Milia stays humble and offers words from her experiences to students interested in this field of work.
“The days struggling trying to go up the latter were probably the best days of my life,” said Milia. “The ride was a thrill! You must make yourself visible, visible, visible! College is all about being able to use what you learn. Knock down the doors! Keep plugging away at what you want to do. When you make a mistake just pick yourself up and start all over again, don’t ever give up, and follow your passion!”