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Welcome to the final edition of Citiwire in its current format. We’re re-inventing Citiwire as a part of Citiscope, an exciting new venture from Neal Peirce, Farley Peters, Curtis Johnson and others. Why tinker? Two key factors: The end of the Peirce syndicated column, and the launch of Citiscope Global News. Citiscope will focus on notable innovations in cities around the world, with articles by local journalists. We hope you’ll visit Citiscope at The regular weekly stories will start in January. But starting this week, you’ll see there the first set of CitiSignals reports. CitiSignals includes brief, clear descriptions of city-related developments occurring worldwide, written by a skilled journalist, David Hatch, with links to full news sources if you’re interested in reading more. As a Citiwire newsletter subscriber, the latest CitiSignals report will come to you weekly – and in January, the newsletter will add links to weekly Citiscope feature stories. As always, you may unsubscribe. But we surely hope you’ll stay with us. And our sincere thanks for your readership and support of Citiwire these past five years.   -- Neal Peirce and Mary Newsom

Neal Peirce

Launching ‘Citiscope’ to Serve World Cities

For Release Sunday, October 13, 2013
© 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

For years, I’ve been writing about the mutuality of cities in America and across the world. I’ve been intrigued – not just by the sweep of challenges cities face, but by the exciting promise of sharing experience, learning from each other.

Now it’s time for me to do something about it. With this writing, I’m stopping the weekly column, syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, that I launched 38 years – some 1,900 weekly dispatches – ago. Last week’s column summarized and bid adieu to that undertaking. To all the readers who sent heartwarming messages of farewell, my deepest thanks.

But I’m going on to an exciting new chapter. With colleagues Farley Peters and Curtis Johnson and others, I’m launching a new global news service – we’re calling it Citiscope Global News – dedicated to reporting on innovations already underway, proving their mettle in cities around the world.

Why this mission? We learned about the need the hard way. The Rockefeller Foundation asked us to attend, then write the report on a month long “Global Urban Summit” it held in 2007 with attendees from across the world. Repeatedly, participants mentioned interesting new experiments in their communities. But when we checked for press reports on those efforts, we found sparse pickings. Most news media coverage of cities remained focused on political maneuvering, crime, conflict and corruption. So as we finished our book reflecting on the summit – we titled it Century of the City – we started thinking of ways to help fill the gap.

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Neal Peirce

1,900 Columns Later: Time for a Pause

For Release Sunday, October 6, 2013
© 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

Thirty-eight years ago I began a newspaper column focused on the states and cities of America.

The first of the weekly articles appeared in February 1975. Next week, close to 1,900 columns later, I’ll write the last.

A new project awaits me (more about that below). But it’s also time for a change. The journalistic world of 1975 was markedly different from today’s. Newspapers were in their heyday, featuring scores of columns on every topic from national politics to advice for the lovelorn.

But no national column had ever focused on America’s 50 states and their cities, analyzing the issues, the politics, the conditions they faced.

I decided the timing was right. I had just traveled to all 50 states, interviewing in each the governors, mayors, industrialists, labor leaders, citizen activists and more in preparation for a book series that concluded with The Book of America: Inside Fifty States Today. Everywhere I had asked: What makes this state or city distinctive? What’s the politics like, the tone and temper of public life, the economy, culture, living conditions?

But even if I was convinced the time was ripe for a column focused on state-local issues, the syndicates were skeptical. So I stepped out on the plank and took a gamble. I wrote to the editors I had met across the country, promising a column a week and asking for a check for any they printed. My kids grumbled but agreed to collate, staple, fold, stuff envelopes, attach address stickers and stamps.

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