In our previous Reinventing the News class, we were visited by Kristen Lombardi, a former colleague of my teacher at the Boston Phoenix and current Harvard Nieman fellow.
Lombardi worked on many groundbreaking cases, and shared her experience as a journalist and fellow with our class.
She shared two of her pieces with us, both which she worked on while at The Center of Public Integrity. Lombardi particularly enjoyed working here because they were very extensive investigative cases. She was not given a deadline, and was able to approach the story with a lot of information, in-depth coverage and exclusive opportunities to get full access and coverage of all sides of the stories.
The first story she shared was her investigations on the surface impacts of longwall mining near Wind Ridge, Pennsylvania. Lombardi ended up living in the town with the residents, infiltrating their social arena and gaining the trusts of residents and officials alike. She was able to go underground with the miners and see exactly how they went about this technique, something which no one else had access to.
State officials were indifferent to the negative effects of longwall mining, which, although a notoriously cheap form of mining, had a costly effect on the residents living above the destruction, and the area around it. Environmentally, it was also severely damaging.
The second project she worked on was about rape and sexual assault on college campuses. After an initial tip, Lombardi was given 18 months to complete another lengthy story, working with a budget only a non-profit could shell out.
The series focused on how the university officials respond to claims of sexual assault and rape.
The two pieces were really interesting, and I’m a huge fan of long form investigative journalism. It is such a shame to me how much investigative journalism is losing its funding with many major media outlets, as it’s obviously a very important part of journalism. I looked at her pieces after a little bit more closely and she’s extremely talented. Seeing what she’s doing makes me definitely think about going down a similar path than her. I especially thought her coverage of rape and assault on campus was incredibly well done.