Gaines Lecture Series
JOHN B. GAINES FAMILY LECTURE SERIES
Lucy Komisar (2012)
Komisar is among a new breed of journalists who work independently with organizations that have been established to finance and present efforts beyond traditional media. She is, for example, a member of 100Reporters that brings together 100 of the world's finest professional reporters with whistle-blowers and trained citizen journalists across the globe to report on corruption in all its forms using the latest advances in technology.
David Lee, dean of WKU's Potter College of Arts & Letters, said he was delighted at the announcement of Komisar's visit to WKU. "The Gaines Family Lecture – and the generosity of the Gaines family – enable our students to learn from some of the most dynamic journalists working today, and Lucy Komisar certainly fits that description," Lee said. "I'm delighted that she will be the Gaines Family Lecturer this year."
Komisar will explain how innovative news organizations, spearheaded by veteran foreign correspondents of top-tier news outlets as well as new, young, energetic reporters, aim to raise the caliber, impact and visibility of investigative journalism as a means of promoting transparency and good government.
On behalf of 100Reporters, she recently contributed to a report called "Fifty states and no winners," a joint investigation into state integrity to preserve the watchdog role of journalism in a time of diminishing coverage. Her article was about New York State, where numerous legislators have ended up in prison. This project was produced with important support from Omidyar Network and the Rita Allen Foundation, with additional support from Rockefeller Family Fund. The Wyncote Foundation has provided support for follow-up reporting on the project and its findings.
Komisar is also one of the journalists supported by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute. A recent fund-sponsored article, "How the Food Industry Eats Your Kids Lunch," was featured in The New York Times in December. It told how companies that provide lunches to school kids serve unhealthful processed foods because they get payoffs from food-processing companies.
Dr. Loup Langton, director of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at WKU, expressed his enthusiasm for Komisar as the featured speaker in the Gaines Family Lecture Series.
"We are very fortunate to be hosting Lucy Komisar, who recently completed an assignment to work on a major investigative report that involved journalists from every state," he said. "She provides a terrific role model for journalism students and professionals seeking to strike out on their own."
Komisar has written extensively about the seedy underbelly of the global financial system, including offshore banking and corporate secrecy and its links to corporate and political crime and corruption. She has also written about the empowerment of dictators and oligarchs, drug and arms trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion by corporations and the very rich. Her dozens of articles have appeared in publications as diverse as The Nation and the Wall Street Journal.
She shared recognition in 2010 with two reporters for "Keys to the Kingdom: How State Regulators Enabled a $7 Billion Ponzi Scheme" in The Miami Herald. Honors included a Gerald Loeb award from UCLA School of Management, and Sigma Delta Chi, National Press Club and National Headliner awards.
A New York City-based freelance journalist, Komisar received her degree from Queens College. She is a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She is the author of Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution (1987); The New Feminism (1971); and Down and Out in the USA: History of Social Welfare (1973).
Since 1998, she has been a member of The Drama Desk, the organization of New York Theatre critics, writers and editors, and writes extensively on current Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Her website is The Komisar Scoop.
About the Gaines Family Lecture Series: The Gaines Family Lecture Series, launched by the Gaines family of Bowling Green in 2004 in honor of the 150th anniversary of their family-owned newspaper, The Park City Daily News, has brought several award-winning international journalists and photojournalists to WKU. Previous lecture participants include newspaper journalism icon John Seigenthaler and his son, former NBC network news anchor John Seigenthaler Jr.; Emmy award-winning photojournalist Dai Sugano of the San Jose Mercury News; Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts of The Miami Herald; and Chicago Tribune photojournalist Pete Souza, official White House photographer during the Reagan administration.
For information on the Gaines Family Lecture Series, contact the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at (270) 745-4144.