Beth Heinen Bell

Beth Heinen Bell

I believe in two fundamental truths: First, journalism matters. And second, everybody has a story. As a journalist, it is my privilege to listen, observe and tell those stories.

So, what’s MY story?

I’m a word nerd; my love of language started early on. I have fond memories of poring over the dictionary with my parents in preparation for school spelling bees. Diagramming sentences in middle school was my jam. The idiosyncrasies and contradictions that make English spelling and grammar so ridiculous bring me joy. I’ve never found a style guide that I didn’t enjoy analyzing. And when I got to college and joined the staff of Calvin University’s newspaper, Chimes, I found my people.

My career path has had an education theme, which was unexpected but a great fit. I got my start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune, where I learned the art of running a small but mighty daily publication. Reporting, taking photos, helping with layout and paste-up, listening to the police blotter—we did it all. But what I loved most about the education beat was the unique opportunities for storytelling it afforded me: things like traveling with an underdog student culinary team to a national competition, doing yoga with first graders or organizing an “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” tournament.

I later had the opportunity to return to my alma mater as an editor and writer, while also helping to run Calvin’s national writing conference. Immersing myself in higher education from a staff perspective taught me new ways in which to frame a story, and I worked with plenty of amazing students. The icing on the cake was getting to bring a number of literary icons to campus, including Anne Lamott, who kindly dubbed me “the boss of all the world.”

Because variety is the spice of life, I’ve also worked as a freelance reporter for The Grand Rapids Press and Advance Newspapers, as a TV morning news show producer and as an editor and writer for numerous West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. I occasionally do portrait and event photography as well.

I love to travel and am always up for the next adventure. I live for finding cheap flight deals, so let me know where you want to go! My husband, Christian, and I spend our springs and summers at Fifth Third Ballpark, cheering on the West Michigan Whitecaps and running the team’s unofficial Twitter fan account. On election days you can find us working the polls for the city of Grand Rapids. We have the distinct pleasure of caring for the World’s Greatest Cat, Athena.

- Sponsorship -
Beth Heinen Bell is a reporter (covering Cedar Springs, Grandville, Lowell and Rockford), editor, copy editor and social media manager. She is an award-winning journalist who got her start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press, Fox 17 and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio