Joel Kurth

Managing 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, prompted reforms at the Detroit Medical Center and led numerous investigations into municipal corruption. Kurth also worked at The Saginaw News and in the Upper Pensinsula and has won more than 30 national and 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, or call him at 586-306-4708.


In a changing Detroit, footpaths are vanishing across vast, empty lands

October 4, 2019 | Joel Kurth

The University of Michigan has mapped 5,200 footpaths through Detroit. The author of the study says it’s a valuable planning tool. But one critic calls it ‘poverty porn.’

Wayne County’s tired jail deputies work double shifts at low pay. Wanna apply?

September 24, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s largest county is perpetually short of officers to guard jail inmates that critics contend shouldn’t be incarcerated in the first place. ‘It’s a screwed up system,’ a sheriff’s official admits.

Higgins Lake’s crystal waters are under threat. Blame poop (and other stuff)

September 6, 2019 | Joel Kurth

It’s not just Higgins Lake. Leaky septic systems and fertilizers are leading to a growth of algae in northern Michigan’s clear water lakes and could require big-time investments to fix.

What you need to know about Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban

September 4, 2019 | Riley Beggin, Joel Kurth

Amid a surge in teen vaping, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer orders a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Here’s a look at the legal, political and health implications of the nation’s first ban.

Detroit shut off water to 11,800 homes this year. Most are still off.

August 19, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Records show 62 percent of Detroit residential shutoffs were without service as of Aug. 1. The vast majority had gone a week or more, contradicting claims that the city restores nearly all water within 48 hours.

How to get help with Detroit water payments and avoid shutoffs

August 19, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Every year, thousands of Detroit customers are disconnected for nonpayment. Many resources exist for help. Here is what is available.

Hey, CNN: Ask Democratic candidates these 6 Michigan policy questions

July 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth

From stagnant population to Great Lakes threats and lousy sewers, Michigan has extraordinary problems that require specific solutions. This is what we want the Democratic presidential hopefuls to address.

Thanks for making Detroit cool, artists. Here’s your eviction.

June 18, 2019 | Joel Kurth

As rising rents displace artists in Detroit, an ownership change and evictions at the onetime headquarters of the Grand River Creative Corridor sparks a debate about gentrification.

Down for so long, can Detroit remember how to include neighbors in growth?

June 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Detroit’s decline stripped neighborhood groups of power. As the city ascends, city hall manages most growth, fueling debate from Corktown to the city’s impoverished east side on the value of neighborhood voices.

Sheila Cockrel on Corktown’s transformation: ‘This is capitalism, baby’

June 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Former City Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel says she can’t disparage those in her neighborhood who are cashing in on peaking property values in the rising Detroit neighborhood.

Detroit serious about boosting census participation, Mayor Mike Duggan says

May 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Detroit is raising $3 million and plans to hire hundreds of workers to boost participation in the census, which provides $1,800 per person annually in federal funds.

Michigan leads nation in PFAS. It will lead cleanups, too, U.S. reps say

May 29, 2019 | Joel Kurth

A bipartisan group from Michigan’s congressional delegation vows to protect waterways in Michigan, push for PFAS standards and explore ways to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

She was born to fight – and did for 3 years without water in Detroit

May 14, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Fayette Coleman was tough as nails and endured an epic water shutoff. Now, activists wonder if that led to her death. Despite 100,000 shutoffs, no one knows because the issue is scarcely researched.

Michigan Republicans appeal gerrymandering ruling. What you need to know.

April 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Lindsay VanHulle

Five questions and answers following Tuesday’s appeal of a bombshell federal court ruling ordering special elections in Michigan.

Michigan’s political districts illegally gerrymandered, court rules

April 25, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

A three-judge panel finds that 34 districts were drawn in 2011 to benefit Republicans and orders special elections in 2020.


It’s tax day, Michigan. Take this quiz or face an audit

April 15, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Okay, we totally lied about the audit. But it wouldn’t kill you to learn more about Michigan’s taxes and exemptions. Test your smarts with this quiz.

Detroit studies restoring passenger trains to Michigan Central Station

April 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Chastity Pratt

Report should wrap up this month to determine costs, logistics of resuming Amtrak service at the historic station that had become a symbol of Detroit’s decline.

Fiat Chrysler promises 5,000 jobs. But not all Detroiters love the plan.

March 14, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Fiat Chrysler hosts its first community meeting for a massive investment on the eastside of Detroit. It could have gone better, with several neighbors doubting whether the deal would benefit nearby residents.

One in five Detroit rentals face eviction. Time to call in the lawyers?

March 12, 2019 | Joel Kurth

A coalition of foundations and law firms is calling for low-income renters to be represented by a lawyer at eviction hearings. In New York, a similar program actually saved the city money.

Crime dips in Detroit. But ‘people do not feel safe,’ commissioner says.

March 5, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Violence remains a big impediment to Detroit’s comeback. Despite encouraging trends, there’s no ‘magic formula’ for Mayor Mike Duggan, a veteran police commissioner says.