Free Press’ Stephen Henderson wins Pulitzer Prize for commentary on Detroit

HendersonStephen Henderson, the editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, has won a Pulitzer Prize for his insightful commentary on Detroit’s financial woes and the impact on Detroiters.

It’s the second time in four years that a journalist from the Detroit Free Press won journalism’s most coveted award.

The awards were announced Monday.

Henderson’s commentary was poignant and compassionate but held no punches when it came to calling out inadequate leadership in the city where he grew up and now lives.

“Detroit’s elected leaders have been unable and in many cases unwilling to confront the horrible fiscal imbalances that leave insufficient money for EMS rigs, fire trucks, police officers and public lighting,” he wrote in one piece.

At the same time, Henderson also challenged the idea that African American leadership was solely to blame for Detroit’s problems.

“Simple tag lines and slogans don’t explain Detroit’s financial difficulties, so clinging to them now assures failure in the effort to rebuild the city once it’s back on its financial feet,” Henderson wrote.

Henderson also was an unapologetic supporter of state intervention from an emergency manager, a position that put him at odds with many of the city’s black population.

“He has the courage to ignore the pressure of politics and the hate sometimes directed at him personally and to remind everyone – readers and leaders – where their focus should be,” Paul Anger, editor and publisher of the Free Press, wrote in his letter in support of Henderson for the Pulitzer.

Click here to see the work that won Henderson the Pulitzer.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    he has his moments, but his piece on belle isle with regards to all the eco car bus people being there was a hot mess pile of pandering.

    He writes with to much personal opinion, even if it contradicts fact, he wants to will it to happen, or popularize it to make it happen etc.

    Like the DIA. Its city owned, its bad the are could have gone, but no big deal, if the staff there has any talent they can spot good young artists and fill the joint up with new cheap art. Also they have enough art to fill the place 3-4-5 times. It flies in the face of credit laws.

    Basically he is a homer, and nothing bad can ever happen to people or things he likes. In that regard he is not very sophisticated, in fact he is quite stunted.

    The city owns the DIA, they own the art, its worth billions, they do not get to keep it and erase their debts. I know damn well he does not believe i get to own even millions, erase my debt, and keep all my gear, cars, boats, art, gold, diamonds, electronics, guns, etc. I know damn well he does not believe that for one second.

    In fact one of the local judges got in trouble for lying about her assets and giving her house back, etc. She owned multiple homes, and went to jail and or is going to jail.

    If henderson has any integrity he will right an article on her soon, and deal with the blowback … because he believes in it … which he does not.

  • Sizz

    Snyder’s boy.

  • Dust Buster

    he pulled no punches and he was on target for several reasons. the one punch pulled was not blaming the black leadership and elected officials. he neglected to point out the liberal/democrat policies that were one of the biggest root causes of the destruction of detroit and most of the large urban cities that have been 100% democrat ruled and run and inhabited by for the last 30 to 40 years.

    its a hard pill to swallow for many of them. they will name call and label me racist or tea party kook. reality is those same people when asked why the lions suck for 50 years have no issues blaming management and players. no company or business would or could survive with 40 years of failed policy. the lions get revenue sharing from the league so in that case, they also have a cash liferaft that doesn’t force them to learn how to run on their own.

    liberal mindset, lbj’s great failed society, union stranglehold/mentality on financial reality. democrat political dinosaurs that get elected time and time again simply because they have a d after their name and like handouts and unions. blame the construction of the freeways. blame the auto industry crash. blame whatever you want but this is a problem in many democrat run urban areas that have nothing to do with freeways or auto manufacturing.

    i dont recall if henderson touched on those issues in the article but no piece on that subject is complete without that. for some crazy reason it seems to be left out more often than not

  • nitrodrip

    The guy is on weekly on American Black Journal. Very informative show in which solutions are offered. I have been watching since I came back from AZ,