Kristen Lombardi

Investigative Reporter

New York City

Kristen Lombardi

I dig into and uncover environmental and social injustices.



Heat is killing workers in the U.S. — and there are no federal rules to protect them

As the temperature in Grand Island, Neb., soared to 91 degrees that July day in 2018, two dozen farmworkers tunneled for nine hours into a thicket of cornstalks, snapping off tassels while they crossed a sunbaked field that spanned 206 acres — the equivalent of 156 football fields. When they emerged at the end of the day to board a bus that would transport them to a nearby motel to sleep, one of the workers, Cruz Urias Beltran, didn't make it back.

Texas Workers Are Dying In The Summer Heat, And Companies Aren’t Being Held Accountable

Just before dawn on July 7, 2018, Karl Simmons stood outside a motel in Fort Worth, Texas, waiting for his supervisor to arrive. It was his second day of work with Austin-based Hellas Construction Inc. His wife remembers Simmons called her. “It feel good for now, but I know the heat coming” he said, according to a deposition she gave last year.

California Firefighters Keep Getting Injured During Training. Some Have Died

Over the last year and a half, almost four dozen Cal Fire firefighters have suffered from heat illness during training, and since 2003 five have died. Even as he lay dying on the side of a Southern California mountain – his lips blue, the color gone from his face – wildland firefighter Yaroslav Katkov wanted to push on.

Climate change is killing Americans. Health departments aren’t equipped to respond

Charlie Rhodes lived alone on a tree-sparse street with sunburned lawns just outside this Arizona city. At 61, the Army veteran’s main connection to the world was Facebook; often, he posted several times a day. But as a heat wave blanketed the region in June 2016 — raising temperatures among the highest ever recorded — his posts stopped.
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Disasters are driving a mental health crisis

Barbara Herndon lay in the center of her bed, muscles tensed, eyes on the television. She was waiting for the storm. The Center for Public Integrity and Columbia Journalism Investigations collaborated on this project with California Health Report, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, City Limits, InvestigateWest, IowaWatch, The Island Packet, The Lens, The Mendocino Voice, Side Effects Public Media and The State.
The Center for Public Integrity Link to Story

Deadly bacteria lurk in coastal waters. Climate change increases the risks.

In October 2018, three weeks after Hurricane Florence pummeled swaths of North Carolina, Eddie Clinton was in the kitchen of his Louisburg home. The retired schoolteacher opened a cooler full of shrimp from an acquaintance who went on a fishing expedition 130 miles south in a river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
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Tinder Lets Known Sex Offenders Use the App. It’s Not the Only One.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. This article is co-published with Columbia Journalism Investigations and BuzzFeed. Susan Deveau saw Mark Papamechail’s online dating profile on PlentyofFish in late 2016.
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Addressing Rape in Four Minutes or Less: Dating App Reps Left Unprepared to Respond to Assault Victims

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. This article is co-published with Columbia Journalism Investigations. On a sunny afternoon in the summer of 2019, Natalie Dong stood outside the glass headquarters of the popular online dating platform Tinder, in downtown Los Angeles, with a poster board draped from her neck.
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Environmental racism persists, and the EPA is one reason why

The invasion of sewer flies moved residents of University Place subdivision to turn to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for help. Darting from a neighboring sewage plant, the flies descended upon the mostly African-American neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with such regularity that one resident posted this warning sign: Beware of attack fly.
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Thirty miles from Selma, a different kind of civil rights struggle

As Esther Calhoun sees it, discrimination, rooted in the acts of many, has turned this wisp of a town into a dumping ground. A landfill owner that staked out roughly 1,000 acres for Alabama’s biggest municipal-waste site on a county road dotted by well-worn homes. A county commission that approved the landfill over objections from a largely African-American neighborhood.
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Sexual assault on campus shrouded in secrecy

Three hours into deliberations by the University of Virginia’s Sexual Assault Board, UVA junior Kathryn Russell sat with her mother in a closet-like room in sprawling Peabody Hall. Down the corridor, two professors and two students were deciding her fate. Russell was replaying in her mind, endlessly, details of her allegations of rape when, she remembers, Shamim Sisson, the board chair, stepped into the room and delivered the order: You can’t talk about the verdict to anyone.
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A lack of consequences for sexual assault

In my opinion … IU not only harbors rapists, but also completely disregards, ignores, and fails women. Indiana University freshman Margaux J. unleashed these fiery words in May 2006 after a campus judicial proceeding on her allegations of rape. It wasn’t that the two administrators running the proceeding panel didn’t believe her.
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Kristen Lombardi

Investigative reporter with more than 25 years’ experience. Covered everything from climate and environmental injustice to campus rape and clergy sexual abuse. Winner of multiple national and local journalism awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights and Social Justice Reporting, the Dart Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Trauma, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service.

Recipient of several distinguished fellowships, including a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University, in 2011-2012.

Director of the postgraduate reporting program, Columbia Journalism Investigations, and an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Investigative editor for postgraduate reporting fellows digging into critical matters of public interest and producing team-based investigations.



  • Investigative reporting
  • Computer-assisted reporting
  • Document digging
  • Research techniques
  • The art of the interview
  • Narrative writing
  • Public speaking