By Camila Vallejo, UConn Journalism
October 19, 2018
Meet Kaitlyn Krasselt, a multi-talented reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media, an Idaho native and a trivia night host. Krasselt was recently promoted to cover the gubernatorial race as a political reporter after three and a half years at Hearst. Overall, Krasselt’s work revolves around holding public officials accountable.
Krasselt notably held one former Republican candidate for governor accountable when she discovered several discrepancies in what Peter Lumaj was spouting during his campaign. Her curiosity was sparked when Lumaj said he was a criminal immigration lawyer. Her research led her to discover that Lumaj had never actually tried a criminal case and was only allowed to practice a limited amount of immigration law.
Krasselt’s extensive investigation took her to the Bronx to see Lumaj’s law firm in person. Her visit included a pesky parking ticket and the discovery that his nondescript office is often closed despite his claims to having multiple employees. Lumaj tried to discredit Krasselt’s story after publication, claiming during a press conference that he was a victim of character assassination, but he had no evidence to refute her solid reporting.
Ultimately, Lumaj didn’t get enough votes to appear on the ballot and announced he would donate his $50,000 of surplus campaign funds to a group called Albanian Connect Inc. However, more reporting by Krasselt found that this so-called charity had the same address as his Bronx law firm and had been denied tax-exempt status by the IRS. According to Connecticut law, surplus campaign funds can only be donated to IRS approved or veteran charities.
“He is someone that I first saw on the debate stage and thought there was something there, something interesting,” Krasselt said. “At the time I didn’t know if it was something that was going to be really fascinating or what it turned out to be, which was a lot of what he was saying was false or exaggerated.”
Aside from exposing the truth when we need it the most, Krasselt also hosts a Pints and Politics trivia night at a local bar in Stamford, an event that began in September. The bar and Hearst Connecticut Media teamed up to engage the community and spark a get-out-the-vote initiative.
“We’ve had great turnout and it’s a blast. I personally love trivia and we draw a lot of the political questions from our daily newsletter, CTPolitics, which I write,” Krasselt said.
Krasselt states that being young woman in journalism can be challenging at times. Often she walks into a room of journalists or sources and she is the youngest reporter in the room, or the only woman. People will definitely respond to you differently, she explained, but it’s a reality you get used to. She advises aspiring journalists to get in as much reporting practice as possible, before facing the real world.
Top photo: Kaitlyn Krasselt is a Hearst Connecticut political reporter and trivia night host. Photo courtesy of Hearst CT