Behind The Lens

A year in review from Behind The Lens: ‘Very few colossal failures’

This week on Behind The Lens, we’re closing out the year with a recap of some of our best stories, how we found them, how we reported them and what happened after we published them.

Host and producer Tom Wright talks to Michael Isaac Stein about his reporting on the Entergy astroturfing scandal. We hear how he first started to suspect that something was amiss at City Council meetings on the company’s proposed power plant and how he confirmed that actors had been paid to attend the meetings and support the plant.

From there, he talks about The Lens’ work reporting on the full scope of Entergy’s influence campaign in New Orleans and the fallout from the scandal.

Reporter Marta Jewson looks back on her work on Harney charter school. It started with a little-noticed audit that highlighted a number of financial problems at the school. Marta wrote up a story, and followed up, uncovering more and more problems with the school throughout the year. Ultimately all of Marta’s findings were confirmed by the Orleans Parish school district.

Plus, Marta has an update on “Brady’s room,” the story of Brady LaFleur — a special-needs student in New Orleans — and his mother Erin LaFleur, who refused to give up when the school system struggled to accommodate him.

Finally, Tom talks to Lens co-founder Karen Gadbois and Steve Myers — who is on leave from The Lens on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University— about how The Lens fits into today’s fractured media landscape, nonprofit media sustainability and The Lens’ plans for 2019.

Behind The Lens is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.

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About Tom Wright

Tom Wright is a staff writer and producer covering the environmental beat for The Lens. He also hosts and produces The Lens' podcast Behind The Lens. His previous work includes investigative producing with local broadcaster Lee Zurik, legislative affairs reporting for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and global affairs coverage for CNN. Wright is a winner of the DuPont, Peabody and Murrow awards for his investigative production work.