Change at Md. Matters: Gaines to Become Editor, Kurtz to Return to Reporting

    Josh Kurtz, Danielle E. Gaines.

    Maryland Matters is announcing that Deputy Editor Danielle E. Gaines will become editor of the website on Wednesday.

    She’ll replace Josh Kurtz, the Maryland Matters editor and co-founder who will take on the title of Founding Editor. Kurtz will become a full-time reporter for Maryland Matters and will lead a long-term project that will be announced later this month.

    Gaines, a veteran State House reporter, joined the staff in September 2018, after a short stint as a reporter at Bethesda Beat, which followed six years as a reporter and editor at the Frederick News-Post, including three years covering state and local government and politics. She became Deputy Editor at Maryland Matters last September following a maternity leave.

    “Danielle is the right person to take us to new heights,” Kurtz said. “She’s a terrific reporter, a wonderful mentor to our colleagues, a tech-savvy and forward looking editor who has taught me a ton in the three years we’ve been working together. I feel privileged to be able to hand the reins over to her.”

    Regular readers know that Gaines is an incisive and enterprising reporter. She’s provided the state’s most comprehensive coverage of education issues, especially during deliberations over the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and can decipher complex state budget jargon and tax policy into clear understandable reporting. She knows as much about the inner workings of state government as any reporter currently on the beat. Gaines’ stories can be viewed here.

    During the recent legislative session, Kurtz and Gaines worked in tandem — reporting, editing and managing coverage of police reform, health care, inequity, the budget, COVID, education, climate and more.

    “It is humbling and an honor to go from Maryland Matters reader to donor to staff member to editor,” Gaines said. “Every day I’m honored to be a part of this team and I look forward to building on the foundation created by Josh and others.”

    This is a pivotal moment for Maryland Matters, which launched in March 2017 as a blog whose content was generated by a small number of volunteers and has quickly grown into the premier source of news and information about state and local government and politics, with six full-time editorial staffers and a variety of columnists, freelancers and other contributors. Just last week, Maryland Matters won 10 awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.

    Kurtz, who started covering Maryland politics in late 1995, spent several years working with co-founders Louis Peck and the late Keith Haller, refining the idea for a nonprofit news website on Maryland, then raising money and building interest before launching. Today, Maryland Matters is read by thousands of people a day and fueled by hundreds of generous donors — both individuals and foundations.

    “Some people believe that ‘Maryland Matters’ is synonymous with ‘Josh Kurtz,'” Kurtz reflected. “That gives me far too much credit. This news site — our experiment in digital democracy — has always been a team effort, with supporters making it possible for a terrific group of journalists to report about Maryland. Rest assured, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll continue to work to do everything I can to see Maryland Matters succeed.”

    In addition to reporting for the soon-to-be-announced project, Kurtz will continue to do some political reporting, will write a political column every other week, which will appear on Tuesdays, and will continue to be involved with other operational aspects of the website. In the short term, he’ll also remain the gate-keeper for readers’ op-ed submissions.

    “Keith Haller always used to sign off his emails with the words ‘onward and upward,'” Kurtz said. “This feels like an ‘onward and upward’ moment — for Danielle, for me, and for the whole Maryland Matters family. We’re all very grateful.”