Arabella Saunders

New York Focus

Reporter Profile

Arabella Saunders covers economic development for New York Focus. Prior to joining the newsroom, Saunders’ freelance work appeared in VICE, HuffPost,, The Assembly NC and more. Her journalism career began in high school, where she served as editor-in-chief of the school’s newsmagazine. In 2018, she was a runner up for the National High School Journalist of the Year. In college, she worked for The Daily Tar Heel and also as a freelancer. She covered topics that ranged from Snapchat porn scams to the undercounting of COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina prisons. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media as well as English and comparative literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A fun fact about her is that she has a Joan Didion-inspired tattoo.

Beat: Economic development

Economic development has become a pillar of Governor Kathy Hochul's approach to governance—but the $10 billion handed out each year in corporate subsidies receive startlingly little scrutiny. This reporter investigates these public-private deals. The position involves digging through budget documents; mapping networks of power; and traveling to communities statewide to track whether jobs and benefits promised years ago have materialized.