Jack Lessenberry was once head of The Detroit News national news division and has written for several newspapers since, including Toledo Blade where he served as its ombudsman and writing coach.
After reading an article by Deadline Detroit detailing allegations of sexual harassment against him, Lessenberry decided to leave his positions with Metro Times and Michigan Radio. Wayne State commissioned an outside investigator to look into these claims.
Early Life and Education
He has contributed political commentary and column writing for Michigan Radio, Detroit Metro Times and Toledo Blade newspapers as a political commentator and columnist, serving also as Ombudsman/Writing Coach of said papers and contributing articles for publications like Vanity Fair/George and other national periodicals.
He is the author of several books, such as one about Frank Kelley – America’s longest serving attorney general. Together with his wife Rhonda, they own a second home in Crested Butte Colorado where they can ski and enjoy time at their second home.
School officials wrote an email to one of Lessenberry’s alleged victims indicating he violated non-discrimination and sexual harassment policies at the university, suggesting he could have been fired had he not resigned in June when an investigation started; additionally, an outside attorney was hired by the university to probe allegations against Lessenberry; however he declined being interviewed as part of this probe.
Lessenberry served as foreign correspondent and editor for The Detroit News’ national and state editions before working at local papers in Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio. He currently heads up Wayne State University’s journalism faculty.
His professional life has been turned upside-down by an article published by Deadline Detroit that alleges inappropriate comments and attention paid to women dating back as far as the 1990s. After reading the report, he resigned from Metro Times and gave up his position as political analyst for Michigan Radio.
910 AM has hired Lessenberry to host a daily two-hour issues and affairs radio program, and his station owner reports that Lessenberry has agreed to adhere to their policies. An independent investigation is currently being conducted.
Achievement and Honors
Lessenberry, an Emmy award-winning journalist, served as foreign correspondent and executive national editor at the Detroit News before going on to work for both New York Times and Vanity Fair, teaching journalism at Wayne State University while contributing a weekly column called Politics and Prejudices to Metro Times newspaper.
Lessenberry was honored with a Journalist of the Year award by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2002, while also receiving an American Association of Newspapers Journalism award and being honored on A&E Biographies as an AAN columnist on Dr. Jack Kevorkian film project in 1996.
Lessenberry quit the Detroit Metro Times and Michigan Radio amid allegations of sexual misconduct with students, but was later hired to host a two-hour talk show on Superstation 910 AM starting July. Her show will appear between Mike Finley’s 7 a.m. show and Motor City Muckraker Steve Neavling’s 11 am to noon show on Superstation 910.
Lessenberry is an active member of both the Historical Society of Michigan and ACLU boards, serving on both boards as writing coach/ombudsman for Toledo Blade, foreign correspondent/national news editor at Detroit News during the 1980s, editor-in-chief for both Detroit Monthly and Corporate Detroit magazines, writing coach for Toledo Blade newspaper as writing coach/ombudsman etc.
Lessenberry also works in analysis for local television and radio stations. He was honored with a national Emmy award in 1995 for one of two Frontline documentaries on Dr. Jack Kevorkian he co-produced with Frontline; additional documentaries have included British television networks such as Sky and Court TV.
An investigation conducted by a private attorney hired by WSU revealed that Lessenberry violated its nondiscrimination and sexual harassment policies, yet WSU decided against taking any disciplinary measures as Lessenberry refused to cooperate in the probe.