Patrick Arden, 2013 Award Winner
Patrick Arden is a writer whose work explores the lives of Americans in poverty and the relationship between income inequality and political power. A veteran editor, he worked as a long-time managing editor of the storied Chicago Reader alt-weekly and has been a contributing editor to City Limits magazine. His writing has been published by Salon.com, the Village Voice, and Next American City.
Arden won the New York Press Club’s 2011 political reporting prize and the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award for magazine investigative reporting. He was accepted for a residency at Yaddo and research grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute. He holds a master’s degree from the literary reportage program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
At the time he won the Margolis award, Arden was working on a book to be called Wrecking the House That Ruth Built, which tells the story of a group of South Bronx residents as they try to save two public parks from becoming the site of a new, multi-billion-dollar Yankee Stadium. The book had its origins in Arden’s work as a political reporter at the daily newspaper Metro New York, where five years’ worth of his stadium coverage won an award from the New York chapter of the American Planning Association. The state Legislature handed the parks to the Yankees without holding even one public hearing, and Arden accompanied residents as they tried to play catch-up, pleading with politicians, bureaucrats and judges to reject the stadium plan.
“The stadium had always been treated as a ‘done deal,’” Arden says. “I was constantly amazed to find myself the only reporter at stadium hearings, protests and trials. Not one newspaper bothered to send someone to court. The neighborhood people told personal stories that spoke to larger changes afoot in New York City. They deserved to be heard. They were also pointing to a deeper problem in government: Corporate welfare has real social costs.”