The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association has honored music journalist Gary Graff as the recipient of its 2018 John V. Field Award for his support of student journalists.

Gary Graff

Gary Graff is the recipient of MIPA’s 2018 John V. Field Award for his contributions to scholastic journalism.

The award recognizes a person or organization who is not currently a student media adviser for their significant contributions to scholastic journalism in Michigan. It was first given in 1972 to John Field, who served as the executive director of MIPA for more than 20 years.

Graff is an award-winning music journalist who reports for local and national print, online and radio outlets, including The Oakland Press, Digital First Media, Billboard, For Guitar Players Only, For Bass Players Only, Classic Rock magazine and many other publications, as well as United Stations Radio Networks and WHQG-FM in Milwaukee, among other radio properties.

He’s also a frequent speaker at MIPA events, where he shares his expertise covering music and the world of entertainment since the 1980s.

“Dating back to his earliest days in Detroit, Gary started religiously donating his time to helping younger journalists think about writing, style and writing about music,” said Jamie Flanagan, who advises student media programs at Fraser High School and helped nominate Graff for this award.

Graff also has edited and written books about Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Rock and Roll Myths and is a voter for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammy Awards. He is also the co-founder and co-producer of the annual Detroit Music Awards and the Front Porch festival in Ferndale.

“Gary is a prime example of the power professional journalists have to shape the lives and careers of young people,” said Jeremy W. Steele, executive director of MIPA and a faculty member in the Michigan State University School of Journalism. “Countless student journalists have improved their craft and found their passion because of Gary’s commitment to be a teacher and mentor.”


Founded in 1921 and housed in the Michigan State University School of Journalism, the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is a nonprofit organization composed of scholastic journalism teachers and publications advisers and their students. MIPA is committed to promoting and recognizing excellence in scholastic journalism at all levels through education, training and support of student journalists and their advisers.