Laura grew up in London, in an Anglo-American family of performers and journalists, attended Barnard College, and became a journalist in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. Maybe it was the way the British called the war in Ireland euphemistically “the Troubles” that turned her into a media critic. By 1990 Laura was co-hosting CounterSpin, the weekly radio report from the media watch group FAIR and reporting from Central America, the Middle East and Europe for media outlets like In These Times, New Directions For Women, Ms., Outweek, The Nation, and Pacifica Radio.
The mega-mergers of the 1990s left the media landscape packed with ads and partisan punditry but devoid of news from most of the country or the world. Invited to host a daily call-in program, Laura launched “Your Call” on public radio station KALW in 2001 and then The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio to engage listeners in a deep dive into the issues of the day. Supported by Free Speech TV, Laura moved to television in 2008, starting GRITtv, a daily national news show that covered the Financial Crisis from the grassroots up. Laura emerged determined to introduce audiences to a wealth of people, places (and policy options) that other media ignored.
The Laura Flanders Show launched on public television stations in September 2020. The same year, Flanders received a Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation “for her tireless work as an independent journalist, interviewing activists who are creating solutions to economic injustice and catastrophic environmental destruction. Her body of work helps the American public begin to imagine alternatives.”
Says Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, who has known her for 25 years, “Flanders’ fearless and humane journalism never fails to challenge our downsized politics of excluded alternatives. But it does more — Flanders wants her reporting to shift power, seed bold ideas and offer people a way forward that is about transformative not transactional change”.
Laura lives with her partner, the MacArthur Genius award-winning choreographer and action-hero Elizabeth Streb. She is at work on a new book, The Grand Perhaps. Her previous books include Blue Grit, Making Impossible, Improbable, and Inspirational Change in America, (Penguin Press, 2008); BUSHWOMEN, Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Real Majority, Media Minority, The High Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting (Common Courage Press, 1997).