Media Moves

Longtime journalist at Detroit News dies at 74

August 13, 2019

Posted by Yvonne Zacharias

George Bullard, who had numerous roles at The Detroit News over a career that spanned more than three decades, died Friday after battling health issues including cancer. He was 74. (

“He just loved this business,” said editorial page editor Nolan Finley, a longtime colleague. “He loved to break news. He loved to get a story no one else had. He loved to upset the status quo. He was the very definition of a reporter who afflicted the comfortable.”

As the paper’s religion writer, he was was sent to Rome to cover the death of Pope John Paul I in1978.

Bullard once found himself linked to another major story.

In November 1978, he was sent to a bar where an armed man holding hostages had asked to speak with a reporter. The man, who said he hadn’t received adequate psychiatric care, was taken into custody after sharing his story with Bullard and ordering drinks for the hostages.

Bullard held other roles at The News, including aviation writer, television critic and city desk editor.

The Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2004 named him Journalist of the Year. The honor commended his work spearheading a seven-month editorial series, “Losing Liberty,” which looked at how the war on terrorism put Americans’ civil liberties at risk.

The series also earned him a first-place award in editorial writing from the Gannett Co. Inc., which formerly owned The News.

In 2018, he moved to Kingwood, Texas, to be closer to his grandchildren and to be treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Bullard was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and Richter’s Transformation, a rare complication of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, last year, his wife, Sue Burzynski Bullard, said in a blog post.

Bullard asked that contributions in his name be made to fund teacher projects at Humble Elementary School in Humble, Texas, where two of his grandchildren attend school and his daughter, Lisa, is a teacher. Tax-deductible donations can be made at

A memorial is planned in Texas at a later date.

(Photo of George Bullard and his wife, Sue Burzynski Bullard.)


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