The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced today that Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor at the Detroit Free Press has been selected as the association’s 2014 Journalist of the Year.
Henderson, a veteran print journalist, was recently honored with the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. His award citation noted that Henderson had earned the award “for his columns on the financial crisis facing his hometown, written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in their critique.”
In addition to writing about the city of Detroit, he also penned columns about Michigan state politics, national politics and other domestic policy matters. In 2013, Henderson focused at length on Detroit’s efforts to overcome financial turmoil and to rebuild itself as one of America’s greatest cities. Henderson, however, did not solely focus his writing on local issues but he also took up writing about issues with national implications such as health care, the government shutdown and educational inequality.
“Stephen Henderson’s career has been one marked by incisive, detailed reporting about politics, policy and urban affairs,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “As an editorial writer and columnist, Stephen has a unique voice which helps punctuate his arguments and compels readers to seriously reflect on the issues facing them locally, nationally and globally, often motivating them to seek solutions to the problems discussed.”
Henderson will be honored with others at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala on August 2, 2014, during NABJ’s 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston. The gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the global black community during 2013.
“As Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press, Henderson has become Detroit’s voice. He has been both a voice of reason and a champion for residents who, through no fault of their own, have been saddled with unacceptable services, corrupt leadership and, now, the city’s historic bankruptcy – the largest municipal bankruptcy ever,” said Paul Anger, the Free Press’ editor and publisher. “Through a year of massive change for the city, Henderson has been a leader in pushing for the most important result of this bankruptcy – improving the lives of Detroiters.”
Henderson rejoined the Free Press in 2007 after having earlier worked at the paper in the 1990s. His other assignments include time spent as the Supreme Court reporter for Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau from 2003-2007. Earlier, he was a reporter, editorial writer, and editor at the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune and the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Henderson, a University of Detroit Jesuit High School and University of Michigan alum, lives in the city of Detroit with his wife and their two children.
NABJ congratulates Henderson on this most well-deserved honor.