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Kari Lydersen

Kari Lydersen


Assistant Professor

Office: Medill Chicago, 303 E. Wacker, Suite 1600

Kari Lydersen, assistant professor at Medill, leads the Investigative Specialization in the graduate program and the Medill Chicago Investigative Program, which brings together graduate and undergraduate students on a two-quarter team investigation for publication with national media partners.

Lydersen was formerly co-director of the Social Justice News Nexus, a Fellowship program at Medill that brought together graduate students and professional reporters to do in-depth stories on topics including drug policy, mental health and housing. She also formerly led the Social Justice – Investigative Specialization in the graduate program.

Lydersen also works as a reporter, covering energy for Energy News Network and freelancing for other outlets. Her work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Discover Magazine, People Magazine, The Economist, The Chicago Reader, WBEZ, Chicago Magazine and In These Times Magazine.

From 2013-2014, Lydersen was a research associate at the Medill Watchdog Project at Northwestern. Through 2009 she was a staff writer in the Midwest bureau of the Washington Post; after that she wrote for the Chicago edition of the New York Times through the Chicago News Cooperative. In 2011-2012 she was a Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism fellow at the University of Colorado, studying energy and mining issues and working on an ongoing project regarding hard rock mining in the U.S. and abroad.

Lydersen is the author of five books, focused on politics, energy and immigration.
She also has taught journalism at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and worked with youth through the non-profit journalism program We the People Media.

Lydersen graduated from Northwestern University with an undergraduate journalism degree in 1997. She is a former national champion in marathon swimming (15 kilometers and 25 kilometers) and a national team member in pool swimming. Today she competes in marathons and triathlons; and lives in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.