Detour Detroit takes home four SPJ Detroit ‘...

Detour Detroit takes home four SPJ Detroit ‘Excellence in Journalism’ awards

The Detour team placed first for its engagement-driven coverage of the 2020 election.

The Detour team in 2020. Credit: Derrick Martinez

Detour Detroit took home four awards at The Society of Professional Journalists’ Detroit chapter held its annual  “Excellence in Journalism” award ceremony on June 8, 2021. Awards were given to outlets in the Metro Detroit area for reporting tactics, collaborative skills, design and more. 

Detour Detroit projects and reporting won in the digital category for engagement reporting, social media, collaborative projects and newsletter content. Detour’s reporting on the 2020 election scored first place in the Engagement-Driven Coverage category. 

During the 2020 election, Detour surveyed readers, solicited questions for officials in our Facebook group, explained changes to voting procedures, monitored voting rights issues, compiled voting guides and kept readers updated on election challenges after votes were cast. 

The Detour team especially thanks our Detour Detroit members for supporting our work — these accomplishments would not be possible without you. 

If you read one or more of our newsletters, if you followed our 2020 election coverage and stayed up late with us to watch the results come in, or you just love interacting with us on social media, then why not become a Detour Detroit member? During our June 2021 membership drive, we are urging readers and followers to contribute what you can, at any level, to support our staff and projects to keep you informed and entertained. A Detour membership not only comes with great perks, but allows you to become an integral voice in our Detour Detroit community. Join us!


First Place, Engagement-Driven Coverage

Detour created guides for 2020 elections to help voters find their precinct, registering to vote and completing ballots. Detour provided readers with updates on ballot counting and election results. Detour was commended by SPJ judges for “an all-hands effort” to produce “work that went beyond the run-of-the-mill election guide, (follow-up articles, reader surveys and engagement, etc.).”

Second Place, Collaborative Coverage 

Detour Detroit and Planet Detroit developed The Hunger Files with funding from the Solutions Journalism Network to report on how Detroiters found solutions to feed their communities throughout the pandemic. This consisted of colorful and interactive guides about food services in the city of Detroit. 

Second Place, Social Media Strategy 

Detour’s Facebook group with over a thousand members and counting focuses on spreading information about Detroit news and communicating with our readers on a deeper level. Our social media platforms are also a way to spotlight individuals from the city.

Third Place, Newsletter Strategy

Detour releases multiple newsletters each week that focus on critical local news, housing and development, arts and culture and women’s empowerment.


Detour’s winning coverage was the result of collaboration within and beyond Detour. Contributors include:

Aaron Mondry
Alex Washington
Alison Saldanha
Allison Jacobs 
Anna Clark
Ashley Woods Branch
Courtney Wise Randolph
Dorothy Hernandez
Kate Abbey-Lambertz
Maggie McMillan
Nina Ignaczak 
Rhonda J. Smith