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Detroit Free Press Wins Polk, Bingham Awards

The Detroit Free Press’s coverage of the downfall of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has received two national awards. The newspaper and reporters Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick received a George Polk Award for Local Reporting. The awards honor CBS reporter George W. Polk, who was murdered while covering the Greek civil war in 1949.㄀

Schaefer and Elrick and their colleagues also won the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism. Bingham was an investigative reporter and then vice president of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The coverage of Kilpatrick disclosed the existence of text messages that led to the convictions of the mayor and his chief of staff on perjury charges.

The text messages showed that Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty lied at a police whistleblower trial in 2007 when they denied having an extramarital affair or firing Deputy Chief Gary Brown.

Last Modified: February 2009