Reporter, author and journalism instructor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University (Moderator)
Kari Lydersen is a Chicago-based reporter, author, and journalism instructor. She is a lecturer in the graduate program at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, where she leads the Social Justice & Investigative Specialization and is co-director of the Social Justice News Nexus, a fellowship program that brings together graduate students and professional reporters.
Kari is also a staff writer for Midwest Energy News and writes for publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Chicago Reader and In These Times, with a focus on environment and energy; housing; the opioid crisis; and labor.
From 2013-2014, she 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. Her work has also appeared in publications including Discover Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business, The Economist, Newsmax, People Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and High Country News.
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. She is the author of five books including Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun (City Lights, 2008), Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Window Factory Takeover and What it Says About the Economic Crisis (Melville House, 2009) and most recently Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago’s 99% (Haymarket Books, 2013).
She also has taught journalism at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and worked with youth from marginalized communities through the non-profit journalism program We the People Media. She graduated from Northwestern University with a 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 where she also leads mural tours.