Let’s make Baltimore Better

Introducing a new beat that needs your help

Published on: May 11, 2022 at 8:00 am EDT

Updated on: October 14, 2022 at 9:51 am EDT

Baltimore Banner reporter Hallie Miller sits in Patterson Park on one of the iconic Baltimore, "The Greatest City in America" benches. Photo by Joanna Kozlowski DuBose

Is there a massive pothole in your neighborhood that still hasn’t been fixed? Is someone you know finding creative ways to make a difference? Or maybe there’s something in your community that you want to see changed?

Whatever it is, I want to hear about it.

We’re introducing Better Baltimore, an audience-focused series to help residents harness their power and spotlight people, problems and solutions in our region. I aim to shape this initiative into a responsive, thoughtful and interactive conversation to dig deep and give voice to what might otherwise go unrecognized or underappreciated. Looking at agencies, policies and data, I plan to hold those in power accountable to the people they serve.

But first, I’ll need partners.

I want your insight: the good, the bad and the perennially mediocre about Baltimore as you know it. Tell me about your neighborhood activists and the folks who are innovating and solving problems. Let me hear about the experience you’ve had with the city agency that won’t return your phone calls or blew off your concern. Share great ideas from another city that could work in Baltimore.

Let us know here:

Here’s a little more about me and why I want to do this with you:

About me

My interest in journalism started young, after my grandmother, Gerri Kobren, retired from a 25-year career as a reporter and copy editor at The Baltimore Sun. She taught me how to read, how to tell rich, compelling stories and how to appreciate grammar as an art form. To this day, you won’t find a better copy editor in town.

Grandma begged me to pursue another career — she took a buyout in 2000, just as the newspaper industry began to shrink — but I think I made up my mind in seventh grade when my Q and A with the school principal made the front page of the school’s newsletter (please, don’t ask to read it).

I spent the first few years of my career at The Sun, where I bounced around until I landed on the business team covering health and housing. Those two beats, so central to the lives of those who work and live here in Baltimore, will continue to guide many of the stories I pursue.

I got into journalism because I wanted to spark change. I’m proud of the pieces I’ve written that have opened up state grant funding opportunities for child care providers struggling during the pandemic, prevented a West Baltimore nonprofit organization from being displaced, and helped make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible in Maryland.

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Still, there’s much more work to be done. That’s why I’m so excited about this new role at The Baltimore Banner. And that’s where you come in.

About the beat

Everything I pursue will address the following questions:

  • What about Baltimore could be made better?
  • Who in Baltimore is working to create change?
  • What resources, networks or policies exist already?
  • How can we help get the work done?

No idea is too big or small; I think the most profound stories are often found where complex, nationally felt problems intersect with our communities and neighbors.

I’m a lifelong Maryland resident here to help you solve problems, but let’s have fun, too. What are you curious about? What should I know about, taste, see or experience? Whom should I meet?

I hope to use different forms to share my work. Expect to see me trying out audio, visuals, video and more. And I won’t be hiding behind my computer screen: I’ll be out and about, walking your neighborhoods, and in your stores and shops speaking with as many of you as possible.

But at its core, this beat will focus on good, solid journalism, distilled to two words: accountability and solutions.

What am I missing?

I’m relying on readers to participate and give feedback about the beat and what you’d like to see covered. My email address is hallie.miller@thebaltimorebanner.com. I look forward to hearing from you!