BY MORGAN PHILLIPS

Hunter College journalism student Kadia Goba readily admits that she’s a political junkie. Hair neatly pinned back, press badge proudly worn around her neck, and reporter’s notebook at the ready, she looks ready to throw herself out in the field at a moment’s notice. On a recent March evening, while interning at  NY1’s Inside City Hall, she jumps up to greet the show’s guest, Congresswoman Malliotakis. “How are you?” Goba says with authentic curiosity,“How’s that budget coming along?” She and the congresswoman chat briefly about potential funding arguments over the city’s public schools and MTA improvements. Given Kadia’s knowledge on the matter, it comes as no surprise that she works as a freelance journalist, covering politics and other issues,  for five different Brooklyn-based publications, from which she has developed a strong readership base. This summer she will take her reporting skills to Sierra Leone in West Africa. With a grant Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting, she’ll investigate the aftermath of a August mudslide that killed more than 1,000 people.

 

What brought you to the Hunter College Journalism program?

 

I grew up in Brooklyn; it’s my home. I knew long before school that I wanted to pursue journalism. I had wanted to major in English, and i thought journalism was the most creative way to major in English, I never wanted to be the overly scholar type, with the dirty office and a bunch of books.

 

What publications do you contribute to now?

 

BKLYNER, King’s county politics, BK Bridge, Brooklyn Daily, and CUNY Dateline.

 

Why Brooklyn politics?

 

I live in Brooklyn. My first exposure was through Kings County Politics, a political outlet that covered specific Brooklyn politics and it was just I built my readership based on that publication and different Brooklyn outlets started contacting me as a result of that.

 

So you’re going to Sierra Leone, West Africa to report on environmental issues and to use“solutions journalism,”  which focuses less on devastation and more on how people actually solve issues.

 

I’m going as a reporter to find out what the solutions are, or how the solutions are actually impacting their environmental strategies. I’ll be focusing on anywhere from community organizations to EPA of Sierra Leone. So anywhere from government to municipal to just NGOs, and how their contributions are actually making an impact, and scrutinizing them to determine whether or not they actually are making an impact.

 

What brought you to this issue specifically?

 

My father is from Sierra Leone and oddly enough the grant asked that we cover something that was underreported in the States. In August, I got the email from PIX 11, which is a local news coverage, that said all these people died in a mudslide, but then I never heard anything about it after.  When I was applying for the Pulitzer I investigated that and other immigration issues, and I saw there really wasn’t any extensive coverage on the topic. I have to attribute a professor of mine, kind of steering me to environmental or solution journalism aspect of it, but I had an interest in going to West Africa also.

 

What do you think set your application apart?

 

Definitely the solution journalism perspective. It’s funny because as a political reporter, the first thing you want to do was uncover the controversy or report on the government or what they’re doing and when I was introduced to solution journalism, and started to research its impact on or lack of usage in journalism, I thought, “Oh, okay, this could be a unique perspective.” Many of us just report on the actual act, rather than reporting on a solution to the crisis, and I intend to bring that into politics eventually.