NEW YORK, NY (June 1, 2022) –  THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to serving the people of New York is excited to announce new hires and promotions in the newsroom and development department. 

Harry Siegel joins THE CITY as senior editor. In the newly created role, Siegel will work closely with Editor in Chief Richard Kim and THE CITY’s deputy editors, Hasani Gittens and Alyssa Katz, to shape the independent newsroom’s overall coverage, from reporting from New York’s five boroughs to accountability journalism to explainers and other editorial products. 

Siegel joins the organization from the Daily Beast, where he was a senior editor. He’s also a columnist at the Daily News and an adjunct journalism professor at Brooklyn College. Siegel also served on the Daily News’ editorial board. 

As part of THE CITY’s growth, the nonprofit newsroom will also acquire FAQ NYC, a podcast, hosted by Siegel and political scientist Christina Greer. FAQ NYC explores the happenings of the city, how it works, and where the city is headed on a variety of issues facing New Yorkers.

THE CITY also welcomes Stephon Johnson as its new Manhattan reporter. Johnson joins the newsroom from New York Amsterdam News, where he covered politics, education, and labor issues. Johnson brings a wealth of experience and insight to the position. He’s an award-winning journalist with honors from New York Association of Black Journalists and  Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

THE CITY was also selected as a participating newsroom for Report for America and is excited to have corps member Gabriel Poblete join the organization as a reporter covering state agencies for THE CITY.

THE CITY’s Bronx reporter, Claudia Irizarry Aponte, has been promoted to senior reporter covering labor and work issues across the city. Her previous reporting for THE CITY includes the groundbreaking series The Deliveristas’ Long Journey to Justice, which followed the plight of indigenous Guatemalan and Mexican food delivery workers during the pandemic. Irizarry Aponte has been with THE CITY since 2019. Her reporting has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, City Limits and NPR’s Latino USA.

In March, Rachel Holliday Smith, previously THE CITY’s explanatory and service journalism reporter was promoted to associate editor. In her new role, Smith leads assigning and editing explanatory and service journalism across the newsroom. She also leads the production of THE CITY’s community newsletters: Rent Updates on housing and Civic Newsroom, which provides New Yorkers with voter information 

Fundraising efforts expands with new hires

In an effort to support the organization’s growth plans, THE CITY added two new roles to the development team in June. Natalie Thielen Helper will be joining THE CITY as its new associate director of development and Michaela Norman as its new development operation associate.

Helper joins THE CITY from the Signature Theater Company, where she served as their assistant director, leading its development and implementation of institutional fundraising strategy. In her new role as associate director of development, Helper will focus on foundation and corporate relations. She’ll also collaborate with the director of development, Mary Taylor, on THE CITY’s fundraising strategy. 

In March, Clifford Michel, who previously covered Staten Island and Manhattan as a reporter for THE CITY, joined the development department as its new membership manager. In his new role, Michel collaborates with THE CITY’s newsroom and product leadership teams to develop strategic plans for membership growth and retention.

“More and more New Yorkers are turning to THE CITY for powerful accountability journalism and many are supporting our work financially, too,” said Nic Dawes, executive director of THE CITY. “We are growing to meet that demand, with an expanded newsroom and business team. The new additions to THE CITY bring a wealth of experience, diversity and insight that will help us better serve the people of New York.”

Founded in 2019, THE CITY has grown from a newsroom startup to a growing publication producing journalism that creates significant impact for everyday New Yorkers. In three years, THE CITY’s reporting has received 70 local and national awards and recognitions, including honors from the Radio Television Digital News Association, New York Press Club, and Silurian Press Club. 

Siegel and Johnson begin their roles in July.


ABOUT THE CITY: THE CITY ( is a nonprofit digital news platform whose mission is to produce free-to-read, local reporting that serves the people of New York City. Launched in 2019 to fill critical local reporting gaps, THE CITY covers New York’s uncovered neighborhoods, holds the powerful to account, and helps make sense of the greatest city in the world. THE CITY Scoop, its flagship newsletter, is delivered weekdays and Sunday, while additional newsletters serve New Yorkers with news they can use on housing, jobs and civic engagement.