It’s official — the Bay Area Monitor is 40 years old.

We reached that milestone in May. Leading up to this landmark anniversary, we’ve run a series of articles chronicling the publication’s history, starting with its launch to address issues related to the federal Clean Air Act of 1970. Series author Leslie Stewart traced the Monitor’s evolution through the decades, describing how its coverage of planning and policy developed to match the Bay Area’s own remarkable growth. Her last installment recounted events through 2005, just short of when the region began to grapple with two unprecedented challenges.

The first was climate change. With the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California committed to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Also known by its less majestic legislative title, Assembly Bill 32, this law has held widespread ramifications for stakeholders across the state. Numerous Monitor articles from the past decade have underscored the statute’s role in the fight against climate change, and countless more have touched on attendant strategies for confronting one of the most serious problems of our time.

The second challenge received much less attention within the pages of the Monitor, but behind the scenes, it has been a subject of concern. The Great Recession brought financial hardship to the Bay Area and beyond, crippling various sectors of the economy, and print media in particular.

The Monitor survived those lean times, but for it to remain viable in the uncertain future will require innovation. So, thanks to the great generosity of our donors, we have taken new strides in the past year — printing in full color, redesigning our website, doubling our online readership, launching a Facebook page, and recruiting a Water Education Initiative Reporting Fellow.

This last effort has proven so worthwhile that we have decided to expand the initiative for the coming year, assembling a team of four talented journalists, each assigned to a designated topic area (see below). Focusing on a specific reporting beat should empower them to provide more substantive, detailed coverage of the region, while also furnishing them with greater professional stability. Each team member has contributed an article to this edition, but the initiative formally starts in August with the publication of the first edition of Volume 41. We hope readers will enjoy this next step in the Monitor’s evolution.

Bay Area Monitor 2015-16 Reporting Team


Robin Meadows has written for such publications as Audubon, Bay Nature, Conservation, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, High Country News, Nature, PLOS Biology, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has won several awards for her science and environmental journalism, and is the Reporting Fellow for the Bay Area Monitor’s 2014-15 Water Education Initiative.


Cecily O’Connor’s journalism career spans more than 15 years of writing and editing for industry magazines, news websites, corporations, and nonprofits, primarily covering issues related to transportation, finance, community, and family. A former National Press Foundation Fellow, she has worked on staff at MarketWatch and Pensions & Investments.

Air & Energy

Leslie Stewart has been affiliated with the Bay Area Monitor since 1992, serving as the publication’s editor from 1996 to 2006, and as its most regular contributing writer ever since. A member of the League of Women Voters since 1981, she has held leadership positions in the organization at the local, regional, and state levels, including most recently as president of LWV Diablo Valley.

Open Space

Elizabeth Devitt’s work has appeared in Bay Nature, Ensia, Mongabay, Nature Medicine, Stanford Medicine Magazine, National Geographic News, and the San Jose Mercury News, among others. A former veterinarian, she is the author of “The Mustang Trail,” a serial reporting project about America’s wild horses, published on the crowd-funding platform Beacon Reader.