Jan. 25, 2019
Best of the States
AP first with on-the-record report of Michigan State interim president’s resignation
In the wake of offensive and insensitive comments about victims of ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar, calls for the resignation or firing of interim Michigan State University President John Engler reached a crescendo.
As the fast-moving story developed, multiple outlets cited anonymous sources in reporting his imminent departure, but Detroit reporter Corey Williams and Lansing, Michigan, correspondent David Eggert scored significant beats on the story, all of them solidly sourced.
Williams successfully reached two MSU trustees – one who said the board had the votes to oust Engler and another saying he was expected to resign later that day, while Eggert contacted Rachael Denhollander, the first victim of Larry Nassar to have gone public, for exclusive early reaction.
And finally, working his sources, Eggert exclusively obtained a copy of Engler’s 11-page resignation letter, which the university’s board was refusing to release. The AP was alone with the letter for at least an hour, posting the document online so we could link to it from our breaking story.
The AP’s story and reporting were widely used, including by The Detroit News – where Engler’s offensive comments had appeared, setting the series of events in motion.
For solid on-the-record reporting that put the AP far ahead on a highly competitive story, Williams and Eggert win this week’s Best of the States.