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The Lookout | April 19, 2018

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Sports reporter got start in journalism at LCC

Sports reporter got start in journalism at LCC

Jeremy Kohn
Editor in Chief

 

Lynn Henning is a popular sports columnist for The Detroit News. Many may not know he is also an alumnus of The Lookout.

Henning, 62, has spent 45 of his years writing sports. Henning’s loves for sports writing can be traced back to his time at Lansing Community College.

Henning grew up on a farm in St. Johns, where he attended high school. After graduating he moved to Lansing, where he enrolled at LCC.

The timing was perfect for young Henning. The college was starting to build its journalism program under Jim Wallington, who was not only the adviser of The Lookout, but also assistant city editor at the Lansing State Journal.

Wallington saw a lot of promise in the 18-year-old Henning. He decided to make Henning sports editor of the paper during his first year of college in 1970.

Henning spoke about one of his favorite memories while writing for The Lookout.

“The first time I got exposed to real Tigers’ baseball coverage was when the Tigers’ winter press caravan came and Jim Wallington got me into that,” Henning said. “That’s when I really knew that becoming a sports writer … was absolutely going to be what I wanted to do.”

Henning said attending Lansing Community College was a blessing.

“I have tremendous affection for LCC,” Henning said. “If I had to do it all over again I would do it no differently. I would go to LCC for my first two years and then I would transfer to Michigan State. (LCC) gave me my start in the business.”

After two years of covering sports for The Lookout, Henning transferred to Michigan State University, becoming sports editor at The State News.

Writing for The State News wasn’t enough for Henning his senior year at MSU. He then became a part-time sports stringer for the Lansing State Journal.

After a year at the Battle Creek Enquirer, Henning was hired full time at the Lansing State Journal, where he worked from October of 1975 until May of 1979.

In fall of 1979, the accomplished sports writer was hired at The Detroit News, where he works today.

While at The Detroit News, Henning has covered Big Ten sports for Michigan and Michigan State. This led to writing two books highlighting Michigan State sports called, “Spartan Seasons” and “Spartan Seasons II.”

He was also co-author of Kirk Gibson’s autobiography, “Bottom of the Ninth.”

“I knew Gibson from the day he was a freshman and covered him from when he was with the Tigers” Henning said. “I was the natural guy to do his biography.”

The Detroit News columnist spoke about being an important part of Tigers baseball history.

“Through the ‘80s’ with Sparky Anderson, those teams were really talented,” Henning said. “I got as much out of covering the Tigers in 2006 — (Jim) Leyland’s first year, because baseball had been down for so many years and came roaring back.”

The Lookout alumnus spoke about his favorite interview he conducted during his 45 years of sports writing.

“I interviewed Billie Jean King after her life as a gay woman became public,” Henning said. “That was not easy for her to come out. … She and I had a marvelous conversation about that.”

Henning said writing is like any other craft; improvement comes with repetition.

“It’s like being a good baseball player; you have to hit, field and throw,” Henning said.”You have to know how to report, interview and write if you want to be a sports writer.”

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