How news organizations are covering Detroit bankruptcy

The Detroit Free Press' Nathan Bomey has a good roundup of media coverage of Detroit's bankruptcy. The city declared bankruptcy Thursday, becoming the largest city to ever do so.

Several news organizations have created explainers to help people understand how the Chapter 9 filing came about. As Bomey wrote in an explainer: "Chapter 9 bankruptcy is poorly understood, in part because it happens so infrequently."

The Associated Press' Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin, who cover the auto industry, published a helpful explainer that answers questions about why the bankruptcy occurred, whether the auto industry's fall dragged down Detroit, and more.

The Washington Post's Lydia DePillis also wrote a helpful explainer about how Detroit's bankruptcy will work, while The Wall Street Journal's Emily Glazer explained what it means for Detroit.

The Detroit bankruptcy is the type of story that works well for an explainer, given how complicated it is. As Jay Rosen once told me, explainers are "acts of empathy"; they anticipate questions the average person has and provide answers.

Here's how some papers covered the news on their front pages:

The Detroit Free Press cover appears courtesy of the Newseum.
The Detroit News cover appears courtesy of the Newseum.
The other big story on Michigan front pages Friday morning was the heat. The Lansing State Journal cover appears courtesy of the Newseum.
  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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