M. L. Elrick
Shining a light in dark places.
M. L. Elrick is one of the Detroit faithful who is not only betting on–but working for–the city’s resurgence. As an investigative reporter at the Detroit Free Press, he holds leaders accountable by ensuring that the citizens of the city he loves are not in the dark.
Elrick and his Detroit Free Press colleague Jim Schaefer won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for exposing corruption and scandal in former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration. Through a successful Freedom of information Act lawsuit that went to the Michigan Supreme Court, the reporters proved the mayor had authorized payout of millions in tax dollars, in part, to cover his misdeeds. The stories rocked the city, but as Elrick puts it, the only way to revive Detroit is to demand better.
Taking on a challenge is nothing new for Elrick. When, as a journalism student at MSU, he encountered an unexpected obstacle to becoming editor of the State News, he went out on his own and started the University Reporter-Intelligencer, a weekly tabloid that had a circulation of 10,000.