Barbara Stanton

editorial writer, Detroit Free Press

Barbara Stanton

Barbara Stanton held many positions during her 40 years with the Detroit Free Press, but she will always be remembered for the clear, crisp, powerful writing that moved readers and helped to preserve Michigan’s environment.

As well as being an editorial writer, she was the first female associate editor of the editorial page, a copy editor and one of a team of reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Detroit Free Press for its coverage of the 1967 Detroit riots. But most of all, Stanton stands as a journalist who influenced decision- makers across Michigan through her editorial writing.

“Barbara’s work and professionalism set the highest standards,” wrote former Michigan Gov. William Milliken. “I know of no one whose knowledge and influence in the area of environmental and natural resources is more greatly understood or respected.”

Colleagues and friends know the Detroit native as a tireless environmental advocate who is never afraid to challenge prevailing wisdom. However, Stanton is well versed in virtually every area of reporting. This is evident from her 1967 coverage of the Detroit riots when she wrote about the infamous “Algiers Motel Incident,” in which three men were slain by Detroit police. She and the other reporters on her team were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their work in examining and investigating all 43 deaths that occurred as a result of the riots.

The Pulitzer is only one of many awards during Stanton’s career. She was awarded the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Walker Stone Award for outstanding editorial writing in 1979 and has earned numerous awards from the Associated Press, UPI, the Press Club Foundation and the State Bar of Michigan.

With all of her accomplishments, Stanton remains best known for her passionate editorial style and gifted way with words. Detroit Free Press Publisher Heath Meriwether said of her work: “Passion seasoned by reason. That was a Stanton editorial.”