Reporter Dana Priest has won several Pulitzer Prizes for The Washington Post and she will be on Miami University’s campus to tell all about it Monday, Feb. 9.
During the lecture, “Adventures in Journalism,” Priest will discuss her career as she enters her 23rd year as a reporter for The Washington Post.
Priest received a Pulitzer in 2006 for her series exposing secret CIA prisons around the world. In 2007, Priest co-authored a series revealing inadequate care and living conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, for which she received another Pulitzer. Her most recent series of articles call attention to the poor medical care of illegal immigrants in the United States while being detained.
Journalism program lecturer Patricia Gallagher Newberry said Priest has produced work that addresses real problems.
“Miami students will get to see someone at the top of their game who is making work that matters by bringing situations to light and affecting policy change,” Newberry said.
Priest said she is excited about visiting Miami.
“I love to be around students that are full of energy and eager to learn,” Priest said. “Students aren’t cynical and they are fun to talk to.”
Priest, who did not get her start in journalism until the age of 26, has never actually taken a journalism course. Priest said she started out studying political science, which sparked her interest in government and investigative reporting.
Priest had a number of internships across the country from Los Angeles to Chicago and it was when she interned at the Post during graduate school that she found her niche at the foreign desk.
Priest has also worked at the metro desk at the Post’s newspapers, reporting on schools and police in the D.C. area and the national desk reporting on federal bureaucracy, health care reform, and Congress.
In 1991, Priest had the opportunity to travel to Iraq just before the Gulf War began while she was five months pregnant. Overall, Priest has traveled to 25 countries during her career reporting on the military.
Priest said she encourages young journalists to embed themselves in the community they are writing about, which makes for more colorful descriptions in writing.
“It is important to observe and hone your listening skills, sometimes you don’t even have to ask anything, just listen,” Priest said.
Newberry wanted to bring Priest to campus for the variety of her influences and her “crusading style” of journalism.
Newberry said she hopes Priest’s talk will inspire students to think about investigative reporting.
Priest said that because the government has a lot of power to spend our money she wants to make sure they are keeping their promises.
“The accountability role that journalism plays is the most difficult and most rewarding,” Priest said.
Newberry agreed and said with the media being quick to get information out to the public, there is a real need for deep investigative work.
The field of investigative reporting has diminished recently, Newberry said, but it is still important because it reminds the audience of journalism’s role in society.
“Journalism matters and it can help to fix problems,” Newberry said.
Miami’s journalism program is hosting the Priest event in support with the department of communication, honors and scholars program, and the Miami chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The free lecture will be at 4 p.m. Feb. 9 in Hall Auditorium.