A documentary produced by Northern Michigan University professor Dwight Brady and students in his multimedia journalism class earned a Michigan Emmy Award at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' annual gala June 10 in Detroit. Boxed In explores how some big-box retailers have successfully argued to the Michigan Tax Tribunal that their valuations should be compared to older big-box stores elsewhere in the state that closed and remain vacant.
Brady says the application of the “dark store” theory has resulted in greatly reduced tax revenue for local units of government. In some cases, communities have been ordered to pay back tax revenue to the stores. The documentary also points out that big box stores in Michigan are now taxed at about half or even one-third the rate of comparable stores in other states.
“It was a topic worthy of investigation, and I am so proud of my students, who will now be able to say they helped produce an Emmy Award-winning documentary,” Brady said.
Before the documentary's premiere last August, student AnnMarie Kent said she relished the opportunity to dig into a timely and relevant topic.
“The education I received was priceless,” said Kent, a multimedia journalism major from Traverse City. “This project gave me an opportunity to do journalistic work inside and around the state Capitol. We had to pack so many interviews into those days. This is such a complicated topic and might not interest many people, but it affects communities across the state. The documentary is important to inform the public and bring to light this issue. Not only was it a great experience to put on a resume to show my different skill sets, but I was also able to meet several people in the broadcasting business.”
Boxed In won the category for Best Politics/Government Special. It can be viewed in its entirety at boxedin.news.