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Next City Welcomes New Staff

Next City, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to inspiring better cities, announces Rachel Kaufman as senior editor, Melissa Simpson as audience engagement editor, and Jeff Muckensturm as development manager.

Before joining Next City full-time, Rachel Kaufman freelanced as a writer and editor for The Washington Post,, National Geographic, DCist, and other outlets. As senior editor, Kaufman is responsible for all of Next City’s daily reporting on all topics the organization covers, including economics, transportation, housing and culture.

“The most exciting and important work for a more just and sustainable world is happening in cities. I’m excited about the potential for journalism to highlight that work, and about the opportunity to help shape that journalism for our readers,” says Kaufman.

Melissa Simpson is a recent Temple University graduate with a B.A. in journalism. Her freelance journalism career started in 2012, and she has written for a host of Philadelphia-based news outlets, including XPN the Key, Philly, and Grid Magazine. As audience engagement editor, Simpson is responsible for promoting all of Next City’s reporting and events through social media, email newsletters and other communication channels.

“Starting at Next City only weeks before Vanguard Sacramento has been a whirlwind of excitement and new information. I honestly can’t imagine a better way to learn more about urbanism, our readers, and what it takes to make change happen in cities,” says Simpson.

Jeff Muckensturm has been with Next City since 2015, first as audience engagement manager and now as development manager. Before joining Next City, Muckensturm was the communications director for Healthcare-NOW!, a carpenter, and a community member of Leavenhouse (a Catholic Worker community that provides food and housing for the homeless) in Camden, New Jersey. As development manager, Muckensturm is responsible for foundation and individual donor fundraising.

“I’m excited to continue my work with Next City, this time as development manager. I’m passionate about the future of nonprofit journalism and cities, so I’m thrilled by this opportunity to continue our important work of covering solutions in cities all over the world,” says Muckensturm.

“With these changes, Next City is much better positioned to cover social, economic, and environmental justice in cities. Journalism about solutions is vital to spread ideas, and that’s why it’s so important that we’re also taking steps to ensure sustainability as a nonprofit news organization,” says Next City executive director, Lucas Grindley.

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