Reporters Jean Khut and Lynda Lopez Join Streetsblog Chicago’s Staff
Back in spring 2011, Steven Vance and I were writing separate sustainable transportation blogs, when a mutual friend suggested we join forces, and so the website Grid Chicago was born. The following year Steven approached the Streetsblog network of livable streets news and advocacy websites about launching a Chicago site with us as the editors, so that we could increase our coverage and make the project financially sustainable. We launched Streetsblog Chicago in early 2013, greatly increasing the depth and reach of our coverage.
After the network was forced to lay off us and other staffers due to a funding shortfall in early 2015, Steven was instrumental in helping to relaunch Streetsblog Chicago as an independent nonprofit a few months later. He’s been a big help in keeping the site afloat since then. And, of course, with his expertise in urban planning, technology, and statistics, as well as insightful writing on transportation and development issues, Steven has had a huge influence on the content of the site.
As you’ve probably noticed, in recent months Steven been publishing less frequently on Streetsblog Chicago. That’s part of his longtime plan to scale back his reporting responsibilities in order to spend more time building Chicago Cityscape, his website about neighborhood development. But, don’t worry, in his new role as “editor-at-large” Steven will continue to play a key role in making decisions about the content of Streetsblog by providing input on data and technology issues, and by serving as a crucial sounding board for my writing. He’ll also continue to assist with fundraising and the technical aspects of running the site, and he’ll occasionally pen articles for us. I’m grateful for Steven’s past contributions to the site, and very glad he’s still going to be involved in the future.
Meanwhile, I’m excited to announce two new additions to the Streetsblog Chicago staff who will be providing fresh perspectives on local transportation, street safety, and development topics. Jean Khut will be writing for us every week, helping to expand our coverage of South and West Side communities, and transportation issues specific to women and other marginalized populations. And Lynda Lopez will publish articles on a biweekly basis, with a focus on transportation issues in Chicago’s Latino communities, as well as transit-oriented development and affordable housing topics. Both reporters will cover other subjects as well.
A native of northern California, Jean moved to Chicago to study creative nonfiction at Columbia College. She has years of experience working with diverse communities throughout the city due to her involvement with organizations like 826CHI, the Chicago Housing Initiative, and Slow Roll Chicago. She recently worked as an advocacy coordinator for the Active Transportation Alliance, where she wrote numerous blog posts about walking, biking, and transit topics, and she’s currently the communications coordinator for Working Bikes Cooperative, based in Little Village.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Lynda wrote for the youth publications of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times during high school. She later interned for the Tribune’s RedEye publication and participated in the University of South Dakota’s American Indian Journalism Institute. While earning a B.A. in romance languages and literature at the University of Chicago, she served as the news and public affairs intern at the university’s community service center. Lynda currently works at the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council doing youth outreach, and volunteers with Grassroots Illinois Action.
I’m confident that with Steven’s ongoing contributions, and new work from Jean and Lynda, as well as articles from our roster of talented freelance writers, Streetsblog Chicago will be better than ever in 2017. Come hang out with us and discuss the future of the site at our upcoming meet-up on Wednesday, January 11, 6-8 p.m., at a venue to be announced later this afternoon.