coal miner

Tenacity brings injustice to the surface

Journalist Chris Hamby is exposing the prevalence of black lung in Appalachian miners and the suspicious legal and medical practices surrounding it — leaving no stone unturned in his effort to help change legislation.

In researching an Appalachian community for a story, Hamby was struck by an unusually high number of black lung cases among its miners. He set to work compiling and poring over all of the information and data he could find, building a collection of thousands of pages of source material.

Some of my most rewarding reporting experiences have come when I pushed myself into an area of unfamiliarity.

—Chris Hamby

His tireless analysis revealed that doctors and lawyers were willfully withholding evidence of black lung and denying miners’ benefits, uncovering a pattern of questionable ethical behaviors that were leading to destructive outcomes. Hamby’s resulting series of exposés earned him the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Hamby’s reports are pressuring state governments to enact remedial legislative efforts. And though he values winning the Pulitzer Prize and subsequent J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress book award, Hamby remains focused on the fact that his work is helping to bring these wrongdoings to an end.


Chris Hamby graduated from the University of Richmond in 2008 with a degree in journalism and subsequently received a master’s degree in the same field from University of Missouri. Since then, he has worked as a reporter at numerous organizations and is currently an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News.

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