New Michigan Press Association award honors Kelly Rossman-McKinney

The Detroit News

The Michigan Press Association is honoring the legacy of Kelly Rossman-McKinney by establishing an award named for the trailblazing public relations professional who broke barriers for women.

The association announced the Kelly Rossman-McKinney Communications Professional Award on Wednesday. According to a news release, the award will recognize practitioners who "go above and beyond to provide accurate and essential information to the public."

Kelly Rossman-McKinney

Rossman-McKinney, who started her own public relations firm and co-founded the Truscott Rossman firm before serving as communications director for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, died Nov. 9 of cancer. She was 67.

"Kelly was known for going out of her way to ensure reporters were getting the information they needed to effectively cover a story,” Nessel said in a news release issued by the association. “Even in scenarios where little to no information was available, Kelly would still take the time to answer questions to the best of her ability.

"Her dedication to a free press, government transparency, and the people of Michigan cannot be replaced," Nessel said. "While we all continue to mourn this great loss, I take comfort in knowing her memory will live on through this award."

In January 2020, Rossman-McKinney told The Detroit News she “pushed back, hard” against sexism in Lansing early in her career. 

“Kelly’s incredible virtue was that she built trust with journalists through honesty and responsiveness, and that reputation for integrity benefited her clients,” said Gary Miles, editor and publisher of The Detroit News (who, as a reporter for the Lansing State Journal, wrote the first story about her new PR firm in 1989). “She shared many values with the journalists she worked with: to be truthful, helpful and to work for the common good.”