My short bio: I am a television reporter based in Detroit. Me and my partners Matt Phillips and Bob Schedlbower are now travelingthe country trying to make our/your stories into little movies.

My Proof: Enter link here Charlie LeDuff‏@Charlieleduff·4h TODAY 3pm EST reporter & DETROIT author @CharlieLeDuff hosting a @reddit_AMA! Start Reading:

Comments: 664 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

CharlieLeDuff506 karma

Okay. I'm outta here. Back to work. Thanks to everyone and keep on. Charlie

Chicoramero305 karma

Hi Charlie! I'm an East Michigan filmmaker who just yesterday released the trailer for my documentary about the 1967 Detroit Riot called "Disturbance on 12th Street". We are currently taking our first steps toward fundraising, but assuming we meet our goal, would you like to be interviewed in the documentary? Here's the trailer: A link to the Facebook page is in the description.

EDIT: Here's the link to the Facebook page:

CharlieLeDuff452 karma

get hold of me by email dude.

thewolfshead277 karma

Thanks for doing this Charlie.

Maybe this is impossible to answer, but I'm curious if you have an opinion regardless: How different would the history of Detroit would be had the 1967 riot not occurred? Or does the state of the auto industry mean that it's current state was inevitable anyways?

CharlieLeDuff499 karma

that's complicated as hell. The riot was inevitable considering what black people were forced to endure by restrictive housing and a brutal, head-knocking police force. The collapse of the auto industry didn't have to be. Labor gets blamed but management failed miserably.

listguru223 karma

How many languages do you speak?

CharlieLeDuff935 karma

Enough Spanish to cross the border. Enough French to get to the Metro. Enough Russian to order a beer. Enough Danish to get a kiss. I don't even speak English that well.

ndiabeeto212 karma

Was the broccoli actually brown?

CharlieLeDuff599 karma

and the effing guy (Ficano) is running for re-election! can you believe that? and the power company has donated thousands of dollars to his campaign fund. that means I'm supporting him through my utility bill. unbelievable.

Grasshound182 karma

First things first, you are awesome!

What do you want to be remembered for?

CharlieLeDuff481 karma

Being a good father. Seriously.

streamstroller182 karma

Saw you with Tony Bourdain - the two of you made quite a pair. What did you think of him, and what do you think he thought of your struggling city?

CharlieLeDuff309 karma

Tony is a really cool guy. A lot of people around here didn't like the episode. Fine their opinion. But for the first time, I saw an out-of-towner actually go into and all around Detroit. He showed people. Real people. Dignified regual people and he gave them dignity. I was proud to be in that.

vampyweeks141 karma

First of all, thanks for being so badass. Second of all, what's your favorite type of music?

CharlieLeDuff207 karma

sometimes rock, sometimes rap, sometimes classical, sometimes country. depends on my mood. The New York Dolls gets me going. I grew up with my mom playing Linda Rondstadt and my sister playing Aerosmith. I've even got a klezmer record.

merryjaina138 karma

Oh man, I haven't been this excited to respond to an AMA in a long time and of course, I'm all out of questions due to my excitement.

Charlie, thank you for bringing forth HONEST reporting. It is a breath of fresh air in a world that is so worried about their image. To be honest, I haven't picked up a copy of your book yet though it is on my Amazon wishlist. As soon as the funds allow it, it is the first 'extra' purchase I am making.

My question to you is - What do you think Detroit needs to do better or stop doing to rise up to the city that it used to be? Or will it always be a shadow of its former self?

Thanks for doing this ama!

CharlieLeDuff245 karma

Thank you too. As for the book. try the library if you don't have the money. Detroit will never be what it once was and I don't think we should try. Those days are long gone. We need to be something new. Some place safe and clean. We've got to do this for the kids. We need to expect more from ourselves and our leadership.

jGatsby_inThatCar118 karma

Man shiit's getting worst in Detroit. Can't trust nobody. Why don't you be the man, make a sacrifice and run for mayor?

CharlieLeDuff417 karma

Okay. Done. I'm running for mayor.

RealPlasticTrees115 karma

Is there any city in the world that you would say Detroit needs to follow their example?

CharlieLeDuff434 karma

No. None. Detroit is her own woman. We just have to clean her up. And I believe if we don't steal and stop looking for someone to laugh at and blame then we can do it. Shit, we built it. We can fix it.

CharlieLeDuff167 karma

Yeah. Awesome. Why do you think that is?

errisst108 karma

Hey! Detroit has a rich musical history and very distinctive styles of blues, soul, techno, and hip-hop. I was wondering who your favourite Detroit musicians were and what you think of the music scene today.

CharlieLeDuff196 karma

John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin and the White Stripes and The Stooges. There's a cool blues scene in a park near the incinerator during the summer.

Bearsworth101 karma

First of all, I LOVED your book Charlie. I was raised in Rochester and it is absolutely incredible how little some of my neighbors and peers knew or cared about the city. There were parts of the book that even had me in disbelief.

What would you say was the story or image that hit you hardest as a Detroiter and a person, which left you in total disbelief?

CharlieLeDuff171 karma

the frozen man who was left at the bottom of the elevator shaft by so many people.

adamwk90 karma

Charlie, I'm a huge fan.

The way you are able to tell stories about complicated subject matter without sounding like the typical TV robot is really refreshing and a practice that I try to incorporate into my own writing.

I'm curious to know how you developed your style of reporting and if you think it could be duplicated elsewhere or if Detroit really feeds into that kooky aspect because of the state of things in the Motor City.

Particularly, I'm really blown away at your ability to approach potential sources for stories with a bit of a challenge. In the GQ Madman Of The Year piece they did on you, you basically called that kid out for not "doing his part." How often does that tactic work and has it ever backfired?

Thanks again for all the work you do.

CharlieLeDuff188 karma

Way back when, I realized I could never sound/write smart like others so I just decided to listen to the voice in my head and just be and sound like that guy. as for as approaching people its simple: walk straight up to them and state you business in a no-bullshit way. at the very least, they don't think you're a creep. And of course they tell you to get the hell off their lawn. but at least you didn't waste anybody's time.

Fokken_Prawns_88 karma

You are now the mayor/king/lone ruler of Detroit, what do you do?

CharlieLeDuff252 karma

pawn the crown and get down with the people. tear down the dead buildings. blow up the bureaucracy. get the police department in order. streamline the departments (like get rid of the appartus division in the fire department and lease rigs) take the savigns and restore the paycuts to DFD. like that.

AngryLawStudent87 karma

Hey Charlie! Thanks for doing this.

Q1: How do you feel about Steve from the Motor City Muckraker?

Q2: Do you feel that the historically racist feelings/assumptions (specific to the metro region) are becoming more or less prevalent? In what way?

Q3: Firefighter Walter Harris was killed during an arson but was NOT rescued promptly because his pass alarm wasn't working. Today, fewer pass alarms are working. Michigan's strong workers comp. laws barred recovery based on negligence so what do you think would have to happen for the state or anyone to act with the slightest bit of urgency to tackle this problem?

Q4: Ilitch is the BIG winner in the new hockey rink. Olympia has no obligation to do ANYTHING the surrounding community has requested e.g. extra security during off seasons. What actions could counsel take to buttress the authority of the affected residents?

Q5: Professor Peter Hammer has been the loudest voice of opposition to the Detroit Future City Plan. Have you reviewed it and what are your thoughts?

Q6: Even Thomas Sugrue has opined that Detroit's REAL problem is extreme poverty and a lack of low-skilled, high-paying jobs. What actions could the state reasonably take to address this issue? (NOT including the bullshit 'job development' rhetoric Snyder touts)

Q7: Do you think the newly formed 'Blight Task Force' (chaired by Dan Gilbert and his buddies) is simply a way to spend the $150million federal funds for rich land owners and speculators to clear areas of the city they deem 'salvageable'?

Q8: Without the 'support' of the business community, how could a person be elected Mayor of Detroit? What would the campaign strategy entail?

Q9: Why has no media organization (that I know of) reported that the philanthropic foundations boards, which are 'pouring money into Detroit', are almost ENTIRELY comprised of bankers and for-profit entities?

Q10: Where do you see Detroit in 25 years if the rate of privatization continues or increases?

Q11: Given that the Detroit Police Department STILL has only 2 functional car cameras (under DOJ agreement, DPD 'can't' operate ANY car without functioning equipment), do you think that the DOJ will lift the various mandates because of the 'tough on crime' stance the newest chief has adopted?

CharlieLeDuff161 karma

1) Steve works hard. Gets some good stories. Doesn't get paid enough. 2) Long way to go on race relations here. But like my mom says, people aren't running away from each other anymore. 3) The mayor is promising a lot here with the fire department. But I don't see much happening. What's it gonna take? A calamity? 4)Minimum, the council should enact a tax on the tickets so Olympia is required to pay for public safety at its events. 5) Lots of good ideas. Where's the beef? The concrete? The action. The money? 6) To be honest, what I see out of Lansing is a move to push the unskilled out of Michigan. Detroit was based on excess unskilled southern labor for the factories. The factories are gone. And there are no heating bills in Alabama. See what I'm saying? 7) Don't know. But I will say federal money comes with a lot of strings and attachments. Demolition will not happen as quickly as people hope. 8) Without the business community, it would be quite difficult, and quite frankly nonsensical to run for mayor. Business means jobs and taxes. Having said that, an affinity for the people would help. And a demonstrable skill set to run a municipality. Detroit is a no-joke major American city. The popularity contest ruined us. 9) I don't know. Frankly, TV doesn't handle those stories very well. And newspapers...well...they barely vetted the candidates during the last election here. 10) A Johannesburg West. 11) I believe the DOJ gave dispensation to the department for some of the new cars that the private industry gave the city because they can't seem to get cameras working. don't take that as fact, but if true, what does that tell you about the true state of things?

xenolyth79 karma

If you didn't go into reporting, what would be your current job?

CharlieLeDuff179 karma

teaching probably.

Stoltz368 karma

Has Willy picked up the tires yet?

Edit: Here's the original video

CharlieLeDuff104 karma

Hell yeah he did!

ningrim54 karma


Enjoyed what you had to say on the ReasonTV segment on light rail in Detroit.

My question is, what are your thoughts on Rand Paul's proposed "economic freedom zones" for impoverished areas like Detroit?

CharlieLeDuff141 karma

Gotta admit. Don't know anything about his plan. Usually though those "zones" tend to be bullshit for the broader community. Tax abatement parks for the rich and/or connected.

BH5248 karma

How did you grow such magnificent facial hair?

CharlieLeDuff133 karma

really? you like it? it was patchy as hell for years. then one morning, viola! i'm as hairy as Ron Jeremy.

Allenrw346 karma

What's your favorite kind of pop-tart?

CharlieLeDuff77 karma


dmd5341 karma

Hey Charlie! Michigan native here. Thanks for everything you do.

What's your take on Dan Gilbert's plan to buy up a bunch of Detroit's vacant and condemned property? Do you see it as a service to the city, or something more nefarious, or none of the above?

By the way, I just finished reading "Detroit: An American Autopsy". Moving stuff, man. Thanks for writing it.

CharlieLeDuff55 karma

Thanks for the good word. I don't know what Gilbert's up to. But he's got to do something with all that money. Interest rates are moving up meaning people won't by re-financing their homes meaning mortgage companies have to deversify. And who else is standing in line to buy the property anyhow?

SerMitchyBungolo29 karma

I've never been to detroit, but I hear things... ...What are the strangest things you 've ever reported on?

CharlieLeDuff133 karma

I don't know where you live...but the politicians here just cease to amaze. and the crime, bizarre stuff, two guys shooting each other in a dispute over who has the better Kool Aid recipe. Seriously, how many ways are there to make Kool Aid?

KaladinStormborn25 karma

Your show and reporting is amazing!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, on the show doing similar reporting, or bigger things?

I'm a big fan of your work, but how much of an affect do you see your reporting having on the relevant political groups and figures?

Thanks so much!

CharlieLeDuff52 karma

thank you for the compliment. I think our work has had an impact here. Got the police department cleaned up at the very least. So that's something. We're proud of it. Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day you know.

pecansandies123424 karma

Charlie, thanks for doing this AMA. What's you're favorite aspect of the city of Detroit?

CharlieLeDuff77 karma

The people. Plus my buddies got a sailboat. A cold beer bobbing on the Detroit River ain't bad.

DownvoteDaemon23 karma

What makes you so personable to wear you can relate to all races? Have you always been open minded with a care for the under class? I think you an Anderson cooper are the best journalist right now.

CharlieLeDuff60 karma

I'm from real working people. I have white, black and red blood. Bill Vlasic is a real journalist. Rob Snell. Dexter Filkins. Chastity Pratt. Carlotta Gall. Sherri Fink. There's lots of them. Please read the newspapers. Without them, we're dead.

N1I2N322 karma

Do you still eat cat food?

CharlieLeDuff73 karma

I used to work in a slaughterhouse. Did you know that the leanest meat is near the bone but it can't be sold if its unidentifiable? so all those lean scraps of meat go into pet food. along with eyeballs and stuff.

GorillaBallet22 karma

You were good on Bourdain's Detroit episode of Parts Unknown.

How hard will it be on the city's sports psyche if the Red Wings fail to make the NHL playoffs for the first time in eons?

CharlieLeDuff74 karma

Thanks. Redwings? I'm worried about Michigan football my man. We gotta win and we gotta graduate guys. We used to do that. That's what being a midwestern gentleman is all about. Brains. Brawn and Balls.

scoopstanton21 karma

Charlie: you were a breakout star on Fox 2 in Detroit, and now doing stories for all Fox affiliates. What is your next move in media. BTW: huge fan and reading Detroit: An Autopsy.

CharlieLeDuff27 karma

Dunno. Trying to get some buy-in on the latest project. That's keeping me busy enough. I'd like to write for a television drama, just for the experience. Also cooking up my next book.

trav41820 karma

Have you ever crushed things with your buddy Arnold Schwarzenegger?

CharlieLeDuff58 karma

No but I went motorcycle riding with him and his pals a couple times in Malibu Canyon. Trip. Tom Arnold didn't even know the make of his bike.

DJ_Eskay17 karma

have you ever been approached to have your own show? Where you travel the country, and use your awesome journalistic skills to bring to light serious issues in the country.

CharlieLeDuff39 karma

I've had my own show on Discovery Times about eight or nine years ago. The channel went bust. Back to newspapers I went and now TV. I'm doing a gig for Fox TV called The Americans. News and trends with an attitude. I do it with two really talented photographers/editors/thinkers...Matt Phillips and Bob Schedlbower. Tomorrow night is our Latest piece: The Death of Porno in LA, The Capital of Porno. Here's a little taste-- Me and Ron Jeremy on Hollywood Boulevard --

iredditoninternets15 karma

Not a question, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy what you and your crew does at Fox 2. If there is a time when Detroit doesn't need you anymore(they will always need you:( I would love to see you come shake things up in Grand Rapids. Love your work!

CharlieLeDuff41 karma

I used to live in Grand Rapids. Until the cops made me move my van. (an old Cheech and Chong joke). Thank you.

Kwame66613 karma

You ever go to Tom's Tavern off 7 and Wyoming.?

CharlieLeDuff19 karma


Fuhdawin11 karma

Hello Charlie,

Thank you for your amazing reporting and news stories.

What are some positive things that come out of Detriot? What can the city's leaders do to improve the quality of life for its citizens?

CharlieLeDuff30 karma

Man, the people here are the best. Rough and friendly. It's home. We're alive. People doing good things. That's the positive. The leaders can tear down the abandoned houses near the schools. Get the amublance system working. They can stop stealing or handing out sweetheart deals and contracts to their pals.

extremepantssagging5 karma


CharlieLeDuff11 karma

All the above.

hollerforapoopdollar4 karma

Just an opinion, no question.

You're the man.

CharlieLeDuff16 karma

Just A man. I can't live up to being The Man. long fall from that pedestal.

geo9503 karma

Hey Charlie, what do you think is the one most important step Detroit needs to take to get back on track?

CharlieLeDuff8 karma

see above. thanks for stopping in. I appreciate it.