Kristina Rizga

Selected Journalism

Learning How to Garden a Forest, a Cover Story for Grist

What does it mean to be connected to nature from a place of reciprocity and responsibility? What would it take to protect California's forests from the increasing droughts and megafires? In this year-long investigative essay, I look at what works to reduce the severity of wildfires in the West, including some of the most sophisticated and complex forest "gardening" practices developed and used by Indigenous people of what is now California.

Prescribed-fire professionals ignite cultural burns. Ian Nelson

What is the Purpose of Public Education? A Conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco

Before the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Hannah-Jones rewrote American history, she changed education journalism. It was such an honor to talk to Nikole about her work, life, and schools - just a week before she won the MacArthur "genius" award.


On Teaching Project, The Atlantic

From 2017 to 2020, I was the lead writer and co-creator of The Atlantic's "On Teaching" project, the nation's first collection of oral histories centered on the wisdom and knowledge of our country's most experienced and accomplished educators. (Photo by Brian Adams.)


Children Are Born Scientists. What If Schools Encouraged That? The Atlantic

The lucky students at Blissfield Elementary in Michigan get to learn in an award-winning STEM lab with nearly 80 species of animals and more than 125 species of plants.


Illustration: Olivia Locher

What If Teachers Didn't Focus So Much on Individual Achievement? The Atlantic

Renee Moore has been working at nearly all-black high schools in the Mississippi Delta for the past two decades for a reason: to raise up the whole community.


Renee Moore / The Atlantic

What School Could Be If It Were Designed for Kids with Autism, The Atlantic

For nearly four decades, Tracy Murray has been refining her teaching of social and emotional skills while celebrating neurodiversity.


Tracy Murray / The Atlantic

How to Keep Teachers from Leaving the Profession, The Atlantic

After 38 years in education, Judith Harper thinks what teachers are missing is more time to learn from one another.


Judith Harper / The Atlantic

Heavens to Betsy, Mother Jones

For this investigative print feature, my colleagues and I dug through 4,000 donation records of education secretary, Betsy DeVos, an evangelical billionaire, to help readers understand DeVos' political track record and her ideological orientation. This story was cited during DeVos senate confirmation hearings and was a finalist for the Education Writers Association awards in 2017.


Tom Williams / Congressional Quarterly / ZUMA

Black Teachers Matter, Mother Jones

This investigation revealed that between 2000 to 2012, nearly 26,000 African American teachers disappeared from the nation's public schools — even as the overall teaching workforce increased by 134,000. This story won a 2016 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association for Black Journalists.


Lexey Swall / Grain Images

The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, co-founder and board member

In 2010, I co-founded with Inga Springe, the first-ever nonprofit investigative center in the Baltic states, ReBaltica. My story "The Invisible Side of Latvia's 'Success' Story: Life with 'God's Mercy and the Goodness of Others'" was cited by Latvia's Prime Minister, changed laws, and won the Excellence in Investigative Journalism award in 2012 from the Latvian Association of Journalists.


Kaspars Goba