Outlet: The Saratogian
Journalist: Barbara Lombardo
Tags: opinion journalism, watchdog
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The nomination summed up her commentary:
This entry comprises one column and two editorials by Managing Editor Barbara Lombardo that reveal serious shortcomings with the agency that oversees federally subsidized housing in Saratoga Springs – such as pooh-poohing a bedbug infestation and grossly overpaying its director. These opinion pieces make it clear why readers should care and recommend specific courses of action. By the way, the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority took the advice in the editorial about the rolling contract, while still defending the director.
DFMie judges explained why this entry was a winner:
What you hear in Barbara Lombardo’s editorials is the voice of accountability, but it’s talking like a real person! People with power are held to account, and the community’s expectations are upheld. That is hardly easy to maintain in coverage of housing projects and how an oversight agency seriously bungled duties. But Lombardo’s crisp prose does a powerful job both explaining the problem and convincing the reader that reform is needed. In another writer’s hands, the agency’s mishandling of a bedbugs problem could have amounted to a joke, but Lombardo invokes accessible, relevant metaphors and packs a final punch with a great kicker. In another piece she outlines precisely what needs to be done about an overpaid director’s contract — advice, that incidentally, was followed. We see why these pieces left even the targets of her campaign convinced.
Other opinion finalists were:
- Bob Moore, editor of the El Paso Times, for editorials about cheating by the El Paso Independent School District. Moore won the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership from the American Society of News Editors for his editorials.
- Vern Anderson, editorial page editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, for an editorial endorsing Barack Obama and rejecting Mormon Mitt Romney, who was popular with Utah voters. Anderson won an October DFMie for his editorial.
Lombardo joined The Saratogian as a reporter in 1977 after receiving her master’s in journalism from Ohio State University. She held various reporting and editing positions before being named managing editor of The Saratogian and its ancillary publications in 1984. She is a board member of the New York State Associated Press Association and the New York News Publishers Foundation, and a member of Soroptimist International of Saratoga County. She is also an adjunct journalism instructor at the University at Albany. Her blog is titled Fresh Ink.
She has a bachelor’s from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she majored in political science. Lombardo has a husband and two sons, “one who learned by example and the other who went into journalism.”