Journalist Peter Moskowitz urges investigations into the causes of gentrification

By Jon Funabiki

If you attended Renaissance Journalism’s launch event for its Bay Area Media Collaborative on Sept. 14, you heard journalist and author Peter Moskowitz warn that cities across the country are being battered by the forces of gentrification, and he pinned the blame on “disaster capitalism.”

The author of “How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood” urged reporters in Renaissance Journalism’s latest initiative to put more effort into investigating the causes—rather than just the effects—of gentrification so that residents can better understand and respond to the changes that are sweeping the region.

The journalists meeting in Oakland’s colorful E14 Gallery also brainstormed how they might collaborate to report on our crisis in housing, gentrification and displacement. They capped the day with sangria and empanadas during a networking reception.

If you were among the 50 journalists who attended the event, we hope you enjoyed the thought-provoking discussions. There’s much more to come in this three-year initiative:

* Renaissance Journalism will soon announce details of our mini-grant program to support collaborative reporting projects undertaken by two or more news organizations. We have money to give away.

* Spaceship Media is organizing Bay Area-wide conversations on Facebook to help journalists and community residents exchange their views about the region’s housing crisis. You will receive an invitation to participate soon.

* Two more authors are waiting in the wings to speak on this important issue. Juan González, author of “Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities,” will speak Oct. 5 at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” will speak Oct. 20 at the Northern California Grantmakers in SF.

* We also are inviting journalists to take part in the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s On the Table conversations on Nov. 15, a day devoted to community building through discussions with residents about housing challenges.

All these activities and more are designed to help journalists and residents deepen their understanding of the many facets of the current housing crisis. Watch for our email announcements and check our website for details and for more information about the Bay Area Media Collaborative.