Was she canned? Did she quit? News Hits is speculating about why — and on what terms — the Detroit News and its hard-hitting City Hall reporter, Darci McConnell, parted ways last week.
Did the paper fire McConnell? Or did she clear out her desk in a huff, giving a sure kick to a nearby wastebasket and a stiff middle finger to her editors?
Whatever the circumstances, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is probably giggling. McConnell trailed the big guy once he took office, writing some of the most revelatory stories about his administration. News Hits reported more than a year ago that the mayor went so far as to complain about McConnell’s coverage to Mark Silverman, the News’ publisher and editor.
At the time, News Hits called Silverman to find out if the rumors were true, but he did not respond. Déjà vu. The exec is eerily silent on this issue.
McConnell, who was at the News more than three years, would not say whether she fled or was terminated. But she did take a few swipes at her editors, who, in her view, might need a little remedial math.
“My departure followed a conversation about City Council during which it was clear that there were misconceptions by upper management about what authority council has,” says McConnell. “An editor claimed it took six votes to get something passed, when it takes five.”
Duh. There are nine council members — five constitutes a majority.
It seems this same editor denied there is a five-four split among council members, according to McConnell. Either McConnell is making this up or her former editor hadn’t bothered to read the News or any other Detroit newspaper. The chasm exists — big time — with Council President Maryann Mahaffey and her four cohorts on one side of seemingly every issue and Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel leading the others.
McConnell notes that her departure from the News comes after a recent shift in emphasis. “Overall there has been a general push to cover the suburbs at Detroit’s expense,” she says.
Then there’s the News’ beloved “Real Life, Real News” initiative, which McConnell (and others at the News) complain emphasizes soft, goofy feature stories and de-emphasizes hard news. News Hits reported on in-house angst over Real Life, Real News late last year. We called Silverman, but, as you probably guessed, he did not respond. Apparently, Silverman feels no obligation to answer questions, though he is in a business that asks them. So, hey, all you government honchos and business moguls, next time the News calls, just tell the reporter you’re pulling a Silverman, and blow ’em off. And while you’re at it, you’ll probably be relieved that Darci McConnell is no longer around to pose those questions. Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com
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