Elrick won the award in 2009 along with Jim Schaefer, who still works at the paper, for a piece about former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
When Metro Times asked Elrick about his Pulitzer, he told them he wasn’t all that excited about it and that the “Pulitzer people were jerks.” He added, “It’s like every award: Every award is bullshit unless you win it because it’s all subjective. There’s some great work that doesn’t get recognized. To think that the work is only important because someone gave you a piece of shit crystal from Tiffany’s, that’s ridiculous.”
David Ashenfelter, a former Free Press reporter himself, wrote on Elrick’s facebook page “While it is true that you and Jim broke the biggest story in decades in Detroit, it’s also true that you and Jim were significantly assisted by other Free Press staffers who worked tirelessly on the story. Be grateful that you won the biggest prize in American newspaper journalism. And be generous with the people who helped you — as well as the organization that recognized you, Jim and the team of reporters for extraordinary work.”
As part if his reply to Ashenfelter, Elrick said, “David, as I’ve often said, I think most awards are bullshit — unless the judges select you. And, as I’ve often said, I’d rather have them than not! My personal and professional admiration for you knows no bounds. As for the folks at Columbia … they were high-handed dicks.”