Sunday, June 4, 2023

TEN QUESTIONS: Photo storyteller

This is part eight and the final of a special year-end edition of our weekly Ten Questions feature, this time profiling members of the newsroom staff who work at the Daily News.

1. Who are you? Cory Smith, 37, city of Greenville, senior staff writer at the Daily News.

Cory Smith

2. Describe your job duties/responsibilities in 50 words or less: I aim to cover all things Greenville, from government decisions, business happenings, human-interest stories and breaking news, in addition to other local coverage within Montcalm and Ionia counties while also placing an emphasis on storytelling through photography. 

3. What is your favorite part about your job? What’s the most challenging? My favorite part of the job is likely the great opportunity I have at the Daily News to tell stories through photography, which serves to complement my written stories. The most challenging would be keeping my stories shorter in length — as one of my college instructors always told me, it’s best to “keep it simple, stupid (KISS).” 

4. What’s your favorite bar/restaurant in Ionia County or Montcalm County, and why? When I lived in Belding, my go-to bar was The Horse’s Mouth — always a great variety of craft beer. Now living in Greenville and having aged a bit, I’ve switched from beer to coffee, which leaves me frequenting Frugthaven Farm in Eureka Township more often than my wallet would like. It also serves as a wonderful “office away from the office” with delicious coffee at the ready. When it comes to food, however, I’m going to venture slightly into Kent County for this one. Pizza is my go-to option and there’s no better offering in the area than Momma’s Boy on M-57 between Cedar Springs and Rockford. Order the chicken, bacon and ranch on New York-style crust (minus onions for me) and you won’t be disappointed. 

5. What’s a hidden gem in Ionia County or Montcalm County that most people might not know about? When living in Belding, I felt that the community’s hidden gem was Lightning Bend Park. Hidden away on the northeastern outskirts of the city, it is the perfect place to walk a dog and escape any sense of work or city life while taking in the steady flow of the Flat River. Living in Greenville, for me, it’s the Central Bark dog park along the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail. At more than three acres in size, with sprawling green grass and wooded areas for dogs both large and small, my two dogs love it. While parking may be lacking, I walk my dogs, Raya and Brinley, directly to the park from my house — about a three-mile loop. 

6. What TV shows/movies/books have you enjoyed this past year, and why? As a fan of Star Wars, I was completely entranced this fall by the Disney+ series “Andor.” Even if you take out the Star Wars lore, standing on its own, the show was as captivating as anything else I’ve watched on television and I now eagerly await the second season. Prior to that, I was glued to “House of the Dragon,” the “Game of Thrones” prequel on HBO. While certainly VERY mature in content, it delivered in every way I had hoped, with brilliant performances from cast members across the board (and plenty of dragons to keep things exciting). As far as movies, I only saw five in theaters in the past year, but “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (December 2021) left me with tears of joy and feeling like a kid again. 

7. What music/podcasts/radio station(s) do you typically find yourself listening to while driving around on the job? When it comes to music, I’ve been listening to the same Pandora radio station for years, which features many of my favorite bands and artists, including Ben Folds, The Fratellis, Michael Buble, AJR and Twenty One Pilots. 

8. When not working, how do you spend your time? My girlfriend Kara and I had a wonderful time this year attending a variety of Broadway performances at Devos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. When I have time to myself, I grab my Nintendo Switch video game system and play whatever game I may fancy at the moment. Nostalgia is a powerful drug and I often find myself playing many of the games that left an imprint on me during my childhood. Across the spectrum of Super Mario Bros. titles and Legend of Zelda games, all it takes to put me in a relaxed mood is to jump on a few Goombas or Koopa Troopas throughout the Mushroom Kingdom or ride on horseback as Link as the gorgeous musical soundtrack plays throughout Hyrule Field.

9. What was the most interesting news or sports story you read in the Daily News this past year, and why? My absolute favorite story this year came from our Sports Editor Alex Freeman. His story on the Greenville Yellow Jackets varsity football team’s first victory since 2019 — a 25-12 home victory against Kenowa Hills on Sept. 1 — was as captivating as the game itself. He captured the emotion expressed by coach Tom Hallock and his players beautifully while providing a game narrative that left you appreciating the efforts of the players all the more. Alex never fails to write quality, compelling stories, but you could tell he poured his whole heart and more into that one. 

10. What do you predict will be the biggest local news story of 2023? While always intentionally vague in his updates regarding potential projects in the city, I’ve observed that Greenville City Manager George Bosanic has been growing increasingly excited about a potential project in the city’s industrial park. While residents of the city will likely gravitate toward the potential of an IHOP or other such restaurant coming to town (just look at the reaction to Aldi’s opening!), if a new industrial client comes to Greenville or a current tenant of the industrial park decides to expand, that could serve as a significant story and boost for a town that continues to claw its way back with a vengeance, economically, from the closing of Electrolux in 2006. 

Cory Smith can be contacted via email at or by phone at (616) 788-0014 or on Twitter: @CorySmith_DN.

Ten Questions is compiled by News Editor Elisabeth Waldon.

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