Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Freep Pulitzer: A Triumph of Great Reporting and Open Records
Pulitzer congrats to the Detroit Free Press’ Jim Schaefer, M.L. Elrick, as well as the rest of the staff involved with the reporting on the scandal of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
After obtaining text messages between the two, the Freep team faced some formidable opposition in its work to uncover evidence that the former mayor and his aide, Christine Beatty, conspired to cover up city government malfeasance. Kilpatrick and Beatty were charged in March 2008 with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice. Kilpatrick was ousted as mayor after he pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and no contest to assault.
Getting the text messages was the first step, and the newspaper has never revealed its source.
Special mention should be made of Herschel Fink, who assists journalists statewide in breaking through the smoke screen that many are presented with when seeking access to public records. Fink played a key role in the Kilpatrick case. Here's hoping he keeps kicking.