Jim BaumbachInvestigative reporterJim.Baumbach@newsday.com
I started working at Newsday at 19, answering phones hoping to find the next great story about high school sports. Then came years of covering the New York Yankees during the days of George Steinbrenner, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter.
Since then, my curiosity has led me across Long Island – evaluating the safety of helmets worn by high school football players, talking to hospital nurses about the lack of personal protective equipment early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and investigating why Long Island’s police forces have not diversified.
Over my 25 years at Newsday, my job has changed, but my mission has not: I spend each day focused on reporting the stories that matter most to the people who live here.
Born and raised on Long Island, I grew up devouring Newsday’s sports pages and dreamed of doing this job. Whereas most kids went to Shea Stadium eager to meet the Mets players, I was busy also looking for Newsday’s sportswriters. I wanted to interview them!
Sports drew me into this business, but it’s the journalism that motivates me. Reporting a story is similar to building a sandcastle on the beach. There’s always more work you can do to make the product better.
I like the tireless nature of the job. I scour public records at every level of government in the name of transparency. I scrutinize board meeting agendas and minutes for hard-to-find information. I’m politely persistent.
Being a Newsday reporter gives me a platform to connect with new people every day and hear about their experiences. It’s satisfying to be the person who answers a question, exposes an issue or helps solve a problem affecting others who live here.
It’s a daily challenge to hold those in power accountable. Long Islanders depend on us.