Joel Kurth

Detroit Editor Joel Kurth has spent more than two decades in journalism in Michigan. He worked 17 years as an editor and reporter at The Detroit News, the last five of which he served as editor of investigations and projects. He’s overseen projects that prompted a reassessment of property taxes in Detroit, changed laws about tax foreclosure sales and led numerous investigations into municipal corruption. Kurth also worked at The Saginaw News and in the Upper Pensinsula and has won more than 20 state journalism awards, including being co-winner of The Michigan Press Association’s “Journalist of the Year” award in 2016. You can reach Joel via email at jkurth@bridgemi.com, or call him at 313-744-3749.

Articles

Is Detroit coming back? It depends on the neighborhood.

October 17, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Bridge Magazine examines four corners of Detroit. The numbers say the city is improving. The people sometimes tell another story.

Warrendale: ‘I don’t feel like we’re part of a renaissance’

October 17, 2017 | Nancy Derringer, Joel Kurth

Cheap homes are attracting new residents. But dumping, crime and a feeling of disconnection from City Hall pervade this far-west neighborhood.

Islandview: New development, fears of displacement

October 17, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Nancy Derringer

Detroit is planning big changes to a little neighborhood near Belle Isle. Some wonder who will benefit.

Bagley: New residents, more investment, old worries

October 17, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Nancy Derringer

In one of city’s most self-reliant neighborhoods, City Hall plans improvements as old brick homes get new owners.

Q&A: Meet the man reimagining Detroit, one vacant lot at a time

October 17, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Maurice Cox’s plan for the city: Make its biggest weakness a strength.

Poor in Michigan with no ID. “I am somebody. I just can’t prove it.”

September 26, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Ted Roelofs

Laws passed to prevent terrorism and identity theft have made it harder to get the state-issued ID needed to escape poverty. A peek inside the poverty trap.  

Slideshow: Gorgeous postcards offer valentine to bygone Detroit

September 14, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Architecture buff turns postcard collection into picture book. Take a peek at the fabulous and familiar with 11 images from Detroit’s colorful past.

Are there two Detroits? A new report says yes, but...

September 12, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Downtown and Midtown Detroit get more tax breaks and investment than neighborhoods. Why? That’s where the good jobs are.

Arson finally on decline in Detroit. Now for the bad news.

August 22, 2017 | Joel Kurth

A popular rewards program is set to vanish at year’s end. Homeowners, firefighters and insurers could feel the effects statewide.

Botched elections. Missing ballots. Is this any way to run a democracy?

August 1, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s failed presidential recount last year wasn’t an aberration. It’s part of a pattern that has some concerned about the integrity of elections.

He became famous defending ‘Algiers Motel’ cops. Deal with it.

July 13, 2017 | Joel Kurth

With the release of “Detroit,” director Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the killings of three black teens during the 1967 unrest, the lawyer who successfully defended several infamous white Detroit officers looks back with indifference toward his critics.

Can Detroit find salvation through demolition?

July 6, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Mike Duggan is the latest Detroit mayor to measure success by tearing down homes. Two scholars debate whether the strategy works.

Detroit is razing thousands of homes. It won’t fix much.

July 6, 2017 | Joel Kurth

An urban planning professor argues that Detroit has knocked down more homes than any other city in past 50 years – and has little to show for it.

Bulldoze away: Some Detroit neighborhoods need thinning out

July 6, 2017 | Joel Kurth

An urban policy expert says the city needs to ask difficult questions about which areas can be saved in era of diminishing revenues.

Sorry we foreclosed your home. But thanks for fixing our budget.

June 6, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson, Laura Herberg

Counties across Michigan profit from selling foreclosed homes and charging fees on back taxes to down-and-out residents. No place does it more than Wayne County.

How to cash in on a crappy home. Step one: Find a sucker to sign a land contract.

May 18, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Left for dead in the 1970s, lending through (often predatory) land contracts is back with a vengeance in Michigan and Rust Belt cities after the mortgage meltdown.

Detroit cites progress, but water shutoffs actually rose last year

May 2, 2017 | Joel Kurth

Residential shutoffs spiked 18 percent in 2016 - countering city officials' expectations. A staggering 83,000 homes have lost water service at some point since the city launched a crackdown on delinquent accounts in 2014.

Interactive Map: Detroit water shutoffs by neighborhood

May 2, 2017 | Mike Wilkinson, Joel Kurth

Go block by block to scan the more than 27,000 homes that had water cut off in 2016.

Are Detroit water shutoffs and illnesses related?

May 2, 2017 | Joel Kurth

"A significant difference in diagnoses" of skin or gastrointestinal infection was found in residents who lived on blocks with water shutoffs. But researchers acknowledge there's not yet enough data to prove a link.

That Detroit rarity: a home mortgage

March 30, 2017 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Can you call it a comeback if mortgages are only written in a few communities? Several years into a downtown recovery, neighborhood mortgage lending remains “pathetic.”