M. L. Elrick, investigative reporter for Fox News TV 2 answered questions for nearly an hour on a warm summer night in late May, fielding queries about everything from winning a Pulitzer Prize to hanging in a news truck waiting for a worthy picture to illustrate a story.
When emcee David Versical, director of news operations for Automotive News, asked Elrick the difference between print and television, he said, “finding the right picture.” When the cameras captured an investigative reporter roughed up by Kwame Kilpatrick, it was the beginning of the end for the former mayow – worth more than a thousand words.
But three weeks parked outside a news source’s home in what he called a “watch dog exercise” was necessary to tell a tale that could be captured in a couple hours in print. Elrick labors on, looking to expose political wheeling and dealing among the highest ranks of Michigan politics. With co-reporter Jim Schaefer, he won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism in 2008.
He is shopping the New York agents and publishers for his book, “The Last King of Detroit: Sex, Texts, Lies and the Betrayal of a Great American City.” “The publishers have this bias against the Midwest. They can’t see how people will read a story about a Detroit mayor. Hey, Detroit is always in the news.”
Elrick started his career at the State News, Michigan State University’s daily paper, where he met his wife Tresa Baldas, now an investigative reporter for the Detroit Free Press. He graduated from MSU in 1990. His first job was at the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where he investigated a public official named Swindlehurt. The couple moved to Illinois, Ireland, France and Chicago, coming back to Detroit in 1999 where he began to set the town on fire with ground-breaking investigations.
Is this a good time to be a journalist in Detroit covering the city? Elrick recently told Metro Times, “Given that it’s a time when they’re laying people off and cutting salaries, I’d say there are better times. This has always been one of the best news towns in America. You could build a silver and gold city on the news here.”
He is building his career anew at Fox TV-2, having jumped ship in 2012 for a new, creative outlet. He suggests reporters watch Mike Duggan, the current mayor of Detroit, closely because he and Kilpatrick have the same political DNA, having been tutored by the Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara. See this story for more details: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/23847179/kilpatrick-ghosts-follow-detroits-mayoral-candidates
Elrick plans to do more investigations, particularly Detroit councilman George Cushingberry, and more publisher shopping on the side. In the meantime, he signed copies of the book of quotes he and Schaefer wrote about Kilpatrick’s shenanigans, “Kwame Sutra.” We thank Jim Parks of Crain Communications for sponsoring Elrick’s talk at Bookie’s Bar & Grille and the Millershin Group for all its promotional assistance.
When asked why he uses “M.L.” instead of Mike or Michael he says, “there is a long story behind that, but the late city councilwoman Brenda Scott told me, just tell people it’s cooler, so we’ll just go with that.”
Reinventing one of the most popular events of the Detroit
Press Club we’re hosting a party at the Anchor Bar on St.
Patrick’s Day from 6:30 – 10 p.m. Come hear Allan Nahajewski
and the Free Press Bulldogs play rock and roll, join A. J. O’Neal
for a Danny Boy singing contest and trade Irish jokes with
Maureen McDonald. (Download flyer here)
Monday, March 17th, 6:30 – 10:00 PM Anchor Bar
450 W. Fort, Detroit, MI 48226
Includes: Irish food. Buy your own beer Cost: $10 members / $15 non-members
Tim Kiska, associate professor of journalism at UM-D, former Detroit News columnist and co-producer of a new public television documentary, “Detroit Remembers When: The History of Detroit TV,” shares historic video clips and hilarious stories for Detroit Press Club members and guests.
DETROIT, MI, Nov. 19, 2013 – The Detroit Press Club, Michigan’s fastest-growing media organization, welcomes members and guests to a holiday networking mixer on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 5:45 to 11 p.m. at the Anchor Bar Club Room, 450 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI, 48226, phone (313) 964-9127.
There is no admission charge and light appetizers will be served.
“Even though it’s designed as a holiday event, we’re still working the news angle and have invited Santa, the season’s top newsmaker, to stop by,” says former Detroit Press Club President Dave Smith.
Detroit Press Club President Steve Purdy adds, “What makes this a special arrival is that we’ll request a news conference when he gets here. Any journalist worth his or her salt would love to get Santa in front of the camera.”
The evening is an opportunity for members and those interested in membership to mingle with writers, bloggers, photographers, graphic artists and PR mavens.
“The Detroit Press Club has always offered a place for networking among journalists and those who work in related areas of the media,” notes Bob Giles, Detroit Press Club Vice President.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, those attending will have an opportunity to give back to the community by contributing a new un- read book to the Detroit Free Press Gift of Reading Program. Since 1987, it has put more than 675,000 books into the hands of Michigan children to help them discover the joy of reading.
The legendary Anchor Bar, site of the first Detroit Press Club event
DETROIT – Organizers of a new Detroit Press Club plan to host the club’s first event Oct. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Anchor Bar, 450 W. Fort St., Detroit.
Journalists and those who work in related areas of the media are invited to stop by to meet the organizers and learn more about the benefits of membership in the new Detroit Press Club.
Guests at the event will hear about the two membership categories, Journalist (for working press and related fields) and Associate (students and educators).
Anchor Bar owner Vaughn Derderian is pleased that the Detroit Press Club has selected his spot for the launch. “The Anchor Bar has a long history of hosting some of the great names in Motor City journalism. Our walls are plastered with photos of these journalism giants from the past. All were patrons of the Anchor. Unfortunately, the price of posting your photo on the wall behind our bar is your own funeral.”
Steve Purdy, Vice President of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN), the group initiating the comeback of the club, commented: “We think that by re-establishing the Detroit Press Club we can demonstrate there’s still plenty of life in the city. Who better to tell that story than our very best communicators?”
Bob Giles, an active member of the old Detroit Press Club and a member of ICN adds, “The true value of the new Press Club is that it includes all aspects of journalism without focusing on any one means of communication. It’s all about making connections and sharing great ideas.”
Purdy is Detroit editor of TheAutoChannel. Giles, former director of news operations at ABC’s WXYZ-TV channel 7 in Detroit, is currently editor of NewCarNews.TV.
Dave Smith, a former Detroit Press Club president, applauded the effort. “The old club was based on comradeship among the media – a place where you could talk shop with your pals, contacts, and competitors.”
Organizers also plan to quickly re-institute the popular Detroit Press Club International Wheels Awards honoring excellence in automotive journalism. The awards were last offered in 2008.
The original Detroit Press Club was formed in 1958 and had peak membership exceeding 500. Its first location was at the Detroit Leland Hotel. Soon after, it purchased its own building on Howard Street at First Street near the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. When the federal government purchased that site for a parking structure, the club moved to the Renaissance Center on the Detroit River in the early ’90s. Like scores of other press clubs around the nation, the club progressively lost members as media and lifestyles changed with the times and interest waned. It closed its doors for good in 1994.
About ICN: The Individual Communicators Network (http://www.icnpr.net) is a nonprofit corporation of experienced communicators who work as a team on major projects, including the International Wheels Awards and the Michigan Excellence in Journalism Competition for the Detroit Press Club Foundation, which continued after the Press Club closed.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Preliminary plans to revive the Detroit Press Club were revealed here today.
“Detroit may be down, but we’re far from out,” said Bob Giles, former director of news operations at ABC’s WXYZ-TV channel 7 in Detroit and a member of the organizing group.
Steve Purdy, treasurer of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN), which is initiating the comeback, commented: “Detroit is taking its licks. We think that by re-establishing the Detroit Press Club we can demonstrate there’s still plenty of life in the city.”
The club originally was formed in 1958 and had peak membership exceeding 500. Its first location was at the Detroit Leland Hotel. Soon after it purchased its own building on Howard at First Street near the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. When the federal government purchased the site the club moved to the Renaissance Center on the Detroit River in the early ’90s.
Like scores of other press clubs around the nation the club closed in 1994 as media and lifestyles changed with the times and interest waned.
Giles is currently editor of NewCarNews and Purdy is Detroit editor of TheAutoChannel.
Dave Smith, a former Detroit Press Club president, applauded the effort. “The old club was based on comradeship among the media – a place where you could talk shop with your pals, contacts and competitors. The Internet has triggered a sea-change in the media, but there’s still a lot of commonality: Get the story out and get it right.”
Giles said there likely will be several membership categories, as there were in the old club, including working press, public relations practitioners and political and business VIPs. “We want to be inclusive but we would have a membership committee that would have the final say on membership applications,” he added.
Giles and Purdy admitted that a Detroit Press Club renaissance presents significant challenges. “We think the old timers will welcome the return of the Press Club, but appealing to younger folks, and those focused on the ‘new media,’ will be at the top of our list,” said Giles.
The organizers have developed a tentative catalogue of potential benefits for members including:
An opportunity for those in the Detroit and Michigan media to share thoughts, ideas and stories.
Access to U.S. and foreign press clubs.
Lively social and entertainment activities.
An agenda of prominent speakers on topical subjects, including critics of the Motor City.
A communications link for members at detroitpressclub.org.
As an ancillary goal, the organizers also plan to re-institute the popular Detroit Press Club Foundation International Wheels Awards honoring excellence in automotive journalism, Purdy said. The Awards were last staged in 2008.
Although the Internet will provide a “virtual” meeting place, Giles said the club may seek a physical location in Detroit and also conduct meetings at outlying sites from time to time.
About ICN: The Individual Communicators Network (http://www.icnpr.net) is a nonprofit business corporation whose members are experienced communicators owning their practices and who work as a team on major projects, including the Wheels Awards and the Michigan Excellence in Journalism Competition for the Detroit Press Club Foundation, which continued on after the Press Club closed. ICN welcomes support from other organizations and individuals in revitalizing the Detroit Press Club, said ICN President David J. Adrian.
We will offer social and professional network venues where we can meet up and discuss topics. We will provide networking venues, newsmaker events, award competitions for professionals and students and other resources as the group evolves. Learn more