Next City Announces New Equitable Cities Fellows

Next City today announces two new journalism fellows who will cover the equitable economic development beat, Deonna Anderson and Serena Maria Daniels.

With lines blurring between the public and private sectors, an employment landscape that’s shifting and federal policies about urban investment unclear, the equitable cities fellows will report regularly on wealth and income inequality, uneven economic opportunity, and poverty — and how they affect communities of color in cities across the United States. They’ll also write about the responses taking shape within neighborhoods as well as solutions from governments and innovators across the urban sphere.

“Throughout my career, I have sought to illustrate the human consequences of inequitable policies — whether it be tied to public transportation, immigration, criminal justice or generational poverty,” Daniels says. “As an equitable cities fellow, I will be able to further examine these themes, by not just reporting about the problems but also seeking solutions.”

Daniels is based in Detroit, where she’s witnessed firsthand revival and stark disparity in the distribution of investment. She has contributed to Reuters, NPR’s The Salt and Latino USA, Extra Crispy (a Time publication), Lucky Peach, Chicago Tribune and more. She has a B.A. in journalism from California State University, Northridge.

Anderson formerly worked for the city of Los Angeles (where she grew up) and has a degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in urban reporting. She interned at The Marshall Project, covering the criminal justice system, and at She lives in Brooklyn.

“There are so many people who are using their respective spheres of influence to make a positive impact in their neighborhoods. It’s important to share their work, as they might be models for how other people, organizations and governmental agencies can improve their economic development efforts,” Anderson says. “I hope to bring historical context, in-depth analysis and human voices together to illustrate how equity — or the lack of it — have lasting effects on communities of color.”

The equitable cities fellowship program, for journalists of color, is supported by the Surdna Foundation. Both Next City and Surdna recognize that although minorities represent more than half the population of the 10 largest U.S. cities, they are vastly underrepresented in the media and in many conversations about urban trends and growth.

“Next City is thrilled to be able to bring Daniels and Anderson’s journalism experience and perspectives to our readers on such critical issues,” Tom Dallessio, Next City president, CEO and publisher, says.

“Media consumers are right to care about who’s writing and editing their news, especially when the coverage addresses issues of poverty and inequality,” says Shawn Escoffery, director of the Surdna Foundation’s Strong Local Economies program. “Next City understands that good journalism demands a diversity of perspectives in the newsroom. And when writers with a personal relationship to an issue can bring that knowledge and perspective to their reporting, we all benefit.”

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