Serena Maria Daniels is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Detroit, with a focus on the intersection of identity, class, politics and entrepreneurship. She is a 2017 Equitable Cities reporting fellow with NextCity.org supported by the Surdna Foundation. She covers wealth and income inequality and its effect on communities of color in Detroit and other American cities, with an emphasis on reporting on the solutions taking shape from governments and innovators across the urban sphere.
Previously, Serena successfully oversaw the full-time implementation of the dining section for the alt-weekly Detroit Metro Times as its freelance dining editor. She’s worked as a weekly restaurant critic, trend-spotter, development reporter and daily blogger, while simultaneously maintaining multiple freelance relationships. Her authority on the subject has sparked local conversations on the roles that identity and class play in Detroit’s dining revival and her expertise has been quoted by local and global news organizations, including NPR affiliate WDET, The Detroit News, and Al Jazeera America.
She’s also reported on stories of global interest for Thomson Reuters, including coverage of the Flint water crisis, the Detroit bankruptcy, and the foreclosure epidemic. Her reporting on the impact of globalization in Mexico’s automotive industry as a 2014 Ford Fellow with the International Center for Journalism has won numerous statewide and local journalism awards.
Prior to her work as a freelance journalist, Serena worked as a staff writer at The Detroit News, Chicago Tribune and The Orange County Register, covering local politics, criminal justice, breaking news, immigration and business. Her reporting on immigration has been cited by the ACLU of Michigan and used to reverse discriminatory state policy against undocumented immigrants and led to a prestigious fellowship in 2013 through the Institute for Justice and Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @serenamaria36