Get ready for more shipwrecks, more lighthouses and more Great Lakes Now.
Ric Mixter just joined the team as a multimedia producer, and he brings his decades of experience diving the Great Lakes, creating documentaries and podcasts about the lakes and writing about their history.
Mixter has had numerous of his shows on PBS, the Vision Network and the Outdoor Channel. He’s also been featured as an on-camera researcher for the Discovery Channel and History Channel.
The addition of Mixter to Great Lakes Now’s staff is just the next step in the program’s expansion. Later this year, a Report for America fellow will be joining Great Lakes Now.
Great Lakes Now recently spoke with Mixter about his background in media, love for the lakes and the depth of his experience covering the lakes. Here are excerpts from that conversation:
Great Lakes Now: What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about the Great Lakes?
Ric Mixter: It sounds cliché’ but it’s how integrated everyone is to our inland seas. The obvious is our drinking water, but even the air we breathe and our weather is dependent on these giant freshwater reserves.
GLN: Explain what your role is at Great Lakes Now. How will your background in journalism – print, digital and radio – help you do the work?
RM: I’ve been a television reporter since 1981, and it taught me to dig for answers and authenticate those answers. I know the experience from working with affiliates of CBS, NBC and ABC have prepared me to not only investigate, but ultimately tell these stories in a way that everyone can understand.
GLN: What do you see as the biggest challenge?
RM: Geography! I’ve driven around all of the lakes and I know the expanse that they cover. I’ve sailed the waters on pleasure craft and freighters as well, and I know trying to tell all of the stories that are important could take forever and require a huge team. We make it our priority to find the stories that affect our viewers and pride ourselves in keeping current on the issues.
GLN: Can you expand on that?
RM: My entire career has advanced thanks to an insatiable quest to not only learn more, but to use my skills as a videographer and producer to take people to places they might not normally see.
This has involved diving in the Great Lakes for decades now, from filming our largest creatures called sturgeons to recording the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I like to make stories interesting and I’ve become somewhat of an expert on maritime history. The Association for Great Lakes Maritime History awarded me ten years ago for 20 years of telling nautical stories on shipwrecks and lighthouses. Those have been TV stories, radio broadcasts, podcasts and even cover stories in Michigan History Magazine. I took it to another level joining the board of directors of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and the board of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. From guiding education on our beacons to sharing interviews with survivors from storms in 1913, 1940 and the largest wrecks on the lakes – I am my happiest when I share stories from our amazing Great Lakes. That’s why I wanted the job at Great Lakes Now!
Keeping tabs with us on this website is a great way to follow what we’ve been up to. Visiting any one of our amazing maritime museums is also a good place to learn more. You’ll see videos I’ve created at most of the most popular museums on the lakes. I also hope to see you in one of the many lectures I give from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Goderich, Ontario!
Here is Great Lakes Now’s map of museums and other cultural sites on the Great Lakes: