‘Someday, I’m going to get my picture up there’

‘Someday, I’m going to get my picture up there’:

For that story, Jim Schaefer and I used text messages from Kilpatrick’s chief of staff and lover to reveal that Kilpatrick lied under oath during a whistleblower trial about their affair and their efforts to silence two cops they believed knew too much about their illicit activities. Kilpatrick’s mendacity cost taxpayers more than $8 million. On the night Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and perjury charges and agreed to resign from office, we gathered at the Anchor, as we had on so many big news nights, to mark the occasion with a beer or four. That night, Charlie LeDuff—a Detroit News journalist at the time—shouted at a belligerent Kilpatrick sympathizer at the bar, “We did that—those were our stories!” When the Free Press won the Pulitzer, we celebrated with family and friends at the Anchor.

I learned a few years later that, in a way, Kilpatrick’s fall helped me realize my ambition from my intern days. A friend from The Washington Post had stopped at the Anchor to kill a few hours during a brief layover. He called from the bar and told me he was looking at my picture on the wall. Before he could explain, I checked to make sure I was still alive. Turns out the Derderians had posted a photo of Schaefer and me, beers in hand, holding up a first edition with Kilpatrick’s admission, “I LIED,” in massive type.

It wasn’t exactly the wall of honor. But, for now, it’s close enough.

The author (left) and Jim Schaefer stand with their September 5, 2008, front-page coverage of then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s resignation, part of a series of stories that won the Detroit Free Press a Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting. Photo by Steve Dorsey.

From the archives: Why the media don’t get Detroit—and why it matters

(Via Columbia Journalism Review)

The Anchor is one place in Detroit I miss. I only went a few times but each was something akin to stepping out of a time machine … in a good way.

I love how the story ends with the fall of Kilpatrick. He was a disaster of a person and politician.

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