Norman Sinclair

Inducted 2008

Norman Sinclair

journalist, Lansing State Journal, WJBK-TV and The Detroit News

Norman Sinclair combined intellect, integrity and passion to craft an extraordinary 40-year career in newspaper and television journalism. During that time, he worked at the Lansing State Journal, WJBK-TV and The Detroit News, where, apart from his three year stint as a television investigative reporter, he worked for 34 years.

His stories were important – his writing compelling and honest. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith said Sinclair “developed expertise in his subjects, achieved an eternal bond of trust with his sources, and ultimately presented news stories that have done nothing less than shape and affect the ways of government and policy in Detroit…and beyond.”

In 2002, Sinclair was The Detroit News’ lead reporter in a Pulitzer Prize-nominated series of stories that outlined how failures in the criminal justice system had allowed thousands of fugitives to remain on the streets. The News stories forced police to hunt down the wanted criminals. Sinclair’s colleagues on the series, Robert Hansen and Melvin Claxton, claimed their work resulted in a “shift in policy which made Detroit a safer place.”

Norm Sinclair’s other national awards include the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association, the Freedom of Information Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, the Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Journalism and several Best of Gannett awards for investigative reporting.

Sinclair was known as an aggressive and accurate reporter. Pat Murphy, who worked with Sinclair as a reporter, also worked for a time for Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley. He said Sinclair was always prepared: “He took the time to digest complicated legal issues and put them in the proper context enabling readers to get a thorough and balanced understanding.”