Michigan’s largest and most successful alternative newspaper claimed W. Kim Heron as its leader for nearly half of its lifespan.
For 16 years, Heron was managing editor or editor of the Metro Times. Despite declining resources, he managed a paper that promoted arts and culture in metro Detroit while also asking the hard questions that viewed in a different light the issues of the day.
Many times he would address the elephant in the room of Detroit. Before other publications, for example, he publicly called for the resignation of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Under his watchful eye, the Metro Times made the case for a mass transit system, exposed the carry-ons of Ambassador Bridge owner Manny Moroun and investigated the controversies around the operations of Detroit’s waste-to-energy incinerator.
Heron has been accustomed to being out front and has received recognition for his efforts. During his four years as an entertainment writer at the Detroit Free Press, he was the paper’s first writer to give consistent attention to Detroit’s rich jazz scene. As a Michigan State University honors student in journalism, he was instrumental in the Grapevine Journal, a black-oriented publication that helped push the university to create a funding mechanism for alternative publications in the early 1970s.
Prior to the Metro Times, Heron was a managing editor for the Detroit Sunday Journal, a copy desk chief at the Detroit Free Press and a reporter at the Lansing State Journal.