KQED Opens Housing News Desk

L to R: Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari and Molly Solomon

THREE-PERSON TEAM WILL EXPLORE THE ROOTS AND EFFECTS OF THE HOUSING CRISIS IN THE BAY AREA THROUGH ONGOING NEWS COVERAGE ON RADIO, ONLINE, AS A PODCAST SERIES AND ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

KQED, the NPR and PBS member station serving Northern California, announced that it is creating a dedicated news desk to cover the Bay Area’s housing and affordability crisis. The desk is comprised of journalists Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari and Molly Solomon. Together the team will provide ongoing coverage of housing and affordability issues in the Bay Area for multiple KQED platforms, including radio and online, as well as develop a podcast series about the roots of the crisis.

“Everywhere you go you see the effects of the affordability crisis on the Bay Area. This desk gives us the opportunity to start conversations with our audiences about how the housing crisis is affecting them and how we come together to begin to solve these challenging issues,” says Holly Kernan, KQED’s Chief Content Officer.

Coming from KQED’s The Bay podcast, Erika Aguilar will act as senior editor and will lead and set editorial coverage plans for the housing desk. Before arriving at KQED, Erika worked for KPCC public media in Los Angeles, covering crime and public safety. She also served as the station’s Orange County bureau reporter on homelessness, policing and ethnic politics in local government.

“Housing and the rising cost of living is top of mind for everyone I meet,” says Aguilar. “It’s time to answer questions from our audience about how we got ourselves into this situation and how to navigate it. As a starting point, we’ll examine the unfair, inequitable and discriminatory practices in our state’s land-use and political history that have contributed to our affordability crisis.”

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Joining Aguilar is three-time national Edward R. Murrow Award winner Molly Solomon. She will act as housing reporter for the desk. Solomon arrives at KQED from Oregon Public Broadcasting where she was the Southwest Washington Bureau Chief. Her coverage included rural communities, environmental issues along the Columbia River and an investigation into equity and diversity struggles at a local community college.

The team is rounded out by Erin Baldassari, who most recently worked as a transportation reporter for the East Bay Times and The Mercury News with a focus on how the Bay Area’s housing shortage has changed the way people move around the region. Baldassari served on the Times’ 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Ghost Ship fire.

The housing desk is set to open in December 2019. The formation of KQED’s housing desk has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas. www.kqed.org