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The Local Journalists Who Keep City Planning in the News
Getting the word out about planning initiatives can be a challenge—many local reporters and editors either lack fluency in the jargon of the planning profession, or are unfamiliar with the potential consequences of poor planning.
There are many examples of local journalists in the United States and Canada that succeed at two critical roles in local politics and planning, however: the ability to identify and portray the importance of planning processes, and the ability to analyze and fairly asses the strengths and weaknesses of planning proposals. With so many interests vying to control the regulatory framework for land use and development in cities, many red herrings—branding and marketing, false equivalences, false choices, gas lighting, and pandering—are sure to obscure the truth.
The work of local journalists savvy to the world of planning thus should be celebrated for its benefit to the communities. Local journalists need and deserve support, especially at a time when the business model for local journalism is in complete disarray, the ideals of the institution are under attack from the highest office in the nation, and the physical safety of journalists is attacked and threatened.
The following list gathers Twitter handles for the local journalists who consistently inform the Planetizen news feed. All the journalists on this list either staff a local publication, focus on a specific geographic location of staff at a national publication, or freelance for multiple publications while focusing on a specific location. That means that there are many writers who write very well about planning and related fields for a national audience (but here's a shout out for Oscar Perry Abello, Emily Badger, Patrick Sisson, Alexandra Lange, Angie Schmitt, Jared Brey, Henry Grabar, Alana Semuels, Antonio Pacheco, and Kristen Jeffers anyway).
My methodology was not scientific, and it is most certainly not exhaustive. I lack trusted resources in certain cities, but I'd like to improve where I can. Also, my personal and professional history will skew this list westward. Please feel free to supplement the list in the comments for those reasons, and because a more comprehensive list can only benefit the field of planning.
- Ben Adler - Senior editor for City & State New York.
- John Aguilar - Reporter for The Denver Post.
- Joanna Allhands - Digital opinions editor for AZ Central.
- Emily Alpert Reyes - Reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
- Frances Anderton - Host of DnA: Design and Architecture, for KCRW.
- Erin Baldassari - Reporter for the Mercury News and the East Bay Times.
- Erica C. Barnett - Freelancer and blogger for The C Is for Crank.
- Leah Binkovitz - Reporter and editor for Urban Edge at the Kinder Institute.
- Sarah Blaskey - Reporter for The Miami Herald.
- Ed Blazina - Reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Jake Blumgart - Reporter for PlanPhilly.
- Frances Bula - Freelancer and blogger for State of Vancouver.
- Peter Callaghan - Writer for MinnPost.
- Anna Clark - Freelancer and author of The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy.
- Ariella Cohen - Managing editor for PlanPhilly.
- Patrick Cooley - Reporter for the Columbus Dispatch.
- Sarah F. Cox - Freelancer in Detroit.
- Vianna Davila - Reporter for the The Seattle Times.
- Emily DeRuy - Reporter for the Mercury News.
- Iris Dimmick - Senior reporter for the Rivard Report.
- J.K. Dineen - Reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Beau Evans - Reporter for NOLA.com.
- Sarah Fenske - Editor in chief for the Riverfront Times.
- Emma G. Fitzimmons - Reporter for The New York Times.
- Brandon Formby - Reporter for the Texas Tribune.
- John Gallagher - Reporter for the Detroit Free Press.
- Darin Givens - Freelancer and founder of ThreadATL.
- Sally Goldenberg - Reporter for Politico New York.
- Anna Griffin - News director for Oregon Public Broadcasting.
- Bridget Grumet - Editorial writer for the Austin Statesman.
- Lisa Halverstadt - Reporter for Voice of San Diego.
- Scott Huddleston - Reporter for the San Antonio News-Express.
- Christopher Hume - Columnist for the Toronto Star.
- Carren Jao - Editor at KCET Artbound.
- Jillian Jorgensen - City hall bureau chief for the New York Daily News.
- Blair Kamin - Architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune.
- Michael Kimmelman - Architecture critic for The New York Times.
- John King - Urban design critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Jen Kinney - Producer and writer for WHYY.
- Mark Lamster - Architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News.
- Jessica Lee - Reporter for MinnPost.
- Steven Litt - Architecture critic for The Plain Dealer.
- Tim Logan - Reporter for The Boston Globe.
- Renee Loth - Columnist for The Boston Globe and editor for ArchitectureBoston.
- Dan Malouf - Editorial director of Greater Greater Washington.
- Nathan Masters - Host and producer for Lost LA on KCET.
- Jonathan Maus - Publisher and editor of BikePortland.
- Fred Melo - Reporter for the Pioneer Press.
- Carolina Miranda - Writer for the Los Angeles Times.
- Oliver Moore - Reporter for the Globe and Mail.
- Brian Morelli - Reporter for The Gazette.
- Jon Murray - Reporter for The Denver Post.
- Laura Nelson - Reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
- Eliot Njus - Reporter for The Oregonian.
- Dan Reed - Freelancer and blogger for Just Up the Pike.
- Eric Roper - Reporter at the Star Tribune.
- Dana Rubinstein - Senior reporter for Politico New York.
- Inga Saffron - Architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Jim Saksa - Reporter for PlanPhilly.
- Steve Scauzillo - Writer for the Southern California News Group.
- Anna Scott - Reporter for KCRW.
- Steven Sharp - Co-founder and editor of Urbanize.LA.
- Randy Simes - Owner of UrbanCincy.
- Dakota Smith - Reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
- Ben Spurr - Reporter for the Toronto Star.
- Jen St. Denis - Reporter for StarMetro Vancouver.
- Stephannie Stokes - Reporter for WABE.
- Julie Strupp - Lead editor for Greater Greater Washington.
- Andrew Theen - Reporter for The Oregonian.
- Kelsey E. Thomas - Editor at Philadelphia Magazine and Boston Magazine.
- Doug Trumm - Publication director for The Urbanist.
- Steven Vance - Advocate at Streetsblog Chicago and creator of Chicago Cityscape.
- Alissa Walker - Urbanism editor at Curbed and Curbed LA.
- Lori Wiesberg - Reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Jessica Williams - Reporter for the New Orleans Advocate.
- Robert Wilonsky - Writer for the Dallas Morning News.
- Mary Wisniewski - reporter for the Chicago Tribune.