City Limits has hired two experienced journalists to deepen its youth-training program and carry on the website’s comprehensive coverage of the politics and policy of land.
Jeanmarie Evelly joined the staff this spring as youth program manager/reporter. She runs CLARIFY (City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth), which provides paid internships to up to 40 high-school students who learn the basics of public-interest and investigative reporting as they research and write articles for publication. Evelly’s own reporting will supplement and extend the work that the teen reporters contribute.
Sadef Ali Kully will come on board next month as staff writer, where she will succeed Abigail Savitch-Lew. For two years, Savitch-Lew has covered the mayor’s proposed neighborhood rezonings and the policy debates around affordable housing more comprehensively than any reporter in the city. She is leaving to focus on fiction writing and other projects. Kully will anchor coverage of the remaining rezonings as well as a growing list of other land-use issues, from jail siting to homeless shelters to the evolving policies around public land.
Evelly served most recently as a reporter/producer at DNAinfo.com New York covering Astoria and Long Island City. Before that, she spent several years reporting for community newspapers in the Bronx, including the nonprofit Bronx News Network and the award-winning Norwood News. She holds a B.A. in English from SUNY New Paltz and a master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Kully is currently a Digital News Associate at NBC. Before that, she covered Southeast Queens for Times-Ledger newspapers. From late 2009 to mid-2012, she was a reporter and blogger at Dawn.com in Karachi. She’s a graduate of York College and the Columbia University School of Journalism.
CLARIFY, which is supported by the Pinkerton Foundation, was launched in 2015 and is in its eighth session. Earlier sessions have covered barriers to fitness in the Bronx, flaws in the regulation of day care, litter hot spots, the NYPD’s lagging embrace of online crime reporting, the inadequacy of bus scheduling information, the lack of attention to the out-of-state gun stores linked to local firearms smuggling rings, the 2017 elections and the obstacles faced by inmates trying to obtain case files from the Bronx district attorney. The last article was a finalist for a PASS Award.
ZoneIn, City Limits’ sub-site for land-use coverage, combines in-depth articles, features, spot news, videos, explainers, opinion pieces, original documents and other elements in its reporting on the rezonings in East New York, Far Rockaway, East Harlem and Jerome Avenue and the discussions about rezoning in Bay Street, Bushwick, Chinatown, Flushing West (since withdrawn), Gowanus, Inwood, Long Island City and Southern Boulevard. The initiative has also distributed more than 18,000 free newsletters in rezoning neighborhoods, including versions in Spanish and Chinese.
Since her first work for City Limits as a college intern in 2013, Savitch-Lew has published more than 300 stories on the site, and her housing coverage has received many honors. She claimed second place in the Social Issues category for her ongoing coverage of housing and zoning in the city in last year’s Ippie awards; in 2016, in the same contest, she won Best Social-Issues Story for her story “The Price of Housing Preservation: Linden Plaza’s Saga.” Savitch-Lew was also part of the reporting team that won a 2016 New York Press Club award for Continuing Coverage for City Limits’ reporting on housing.