We produce “teaching” case studies in virtually any discipline. Below are abstracts for a few of the cases Kirsten Lundberg has written, edited or coordinated over 25 years. The categories are (in order): Journalism; Public Policy; Public Health & Medical; Sustainable Development; Journalism in Africa; and Public Policy (Harvard).

* The full list of cases Kirsten and her staff produced at Columbia University from 2007-2014 is here. Topics include public policy, public health, journalism, and sustainable development.

* The full list of cases Kirsten wrote at Harvard Kennedy School from 1988-2007 can be found here. In Quick Search, enter the word Lundberg. Topics include intelligence policy, terrorism, public management, the re-privatization of East European economies, and nonprofit law.


“Caricatured: Le Monde and the Mohammed Cartoons”

In early 2006, when news organizations across the world debated whether and how to republish Danish cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed, the influential French paper Le Monde found itself balancing two priorities: to respect religious beliefs and to support freedom of expression. Students can use this case to debate the role of religion in a secular society and the contribution the media can make to stoking or calming a conflict, the responsibility of news outlets to inform readers even if the information is inflammatory, the line between respect for religion and censorship, and the balance between religious beliefs and freedom of the press.   View Abstract

Topics: international; religion reporting; news graphic

“Covert Activity: the Washington Post, Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency”

This case takes a behind-the-scenes look at how a national security reporter works. In February 2013, reporter Barton Gellman first learns about a source who claims to have National Security Agency (NSA) documents. Over the next four months, he and his collaborator, Laura Poitras, try to verify whether the source is credible and the materials bona fide. The documents, if true, reveal details about an intrusive NSA program that swept up private communications on a scale unsuspected by most US citizens or Congress. Nine Internet companies gave the NSA access to the information. In late May, Gellman takes the story to the Washington Post, which agrees to work with him to publish it. View Abstract

Topics: national security reporting; investigative reporting; editorial management


“Salvation or Mirage? The New York Times Paywall”

This case looks at a question that news organizations continue to struggle with as the traditional business model crumbles: install a paywall or not? Case readers will be taken behind the scenes at the New York Times in 2009, when it was deciding whether to try again for a paywall and, if so, what kind.   View Abstract

Topics: strategic management; business of media; digital media


“Mission vs Safety: OCHA Somalia and the Baidoa Raid”

This case provides students with a window into the reality of international humanitarian work, specifically the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  In July 2009, al-Shabaab militants overran the UN Common Compound in Baidoa, Somalia, and expelled “political” agencies. Under UN rules, international humanitarian personnel were obliged to leave as well—although they did not want to. View Abstract

Topics: aid to lawless societies; humanitarian organizations; multinational organizations; public sector management.


“Community Savings, or Community Threat? California Policy for Ill and Elderly Inmates”

This case looks at the challenges that confront public health professionals who work in a corrections environment. By 2011, a court-appointed Receiver had made progress in fixing a broken system of medical care for prisoners in California. But costs spiraled ever higher for elderly and ailing inmates. Public health officials had to balance competing public priorities: save taxpayer dollars, and treat patients. A new law allowed the sickest prisoners to move to community-based care–but now public health doctors had to decide: who qualified for medical parole? Inmate Carl Wade’s case was a tough call. View Abstract

Topics: public health policy, corrections and health care, or strategic management.


“Merging Two Worlds?: Reston Dental Arts and American Dental Partners”

This case takes students into the world of medical management, the challenges of group practice and the growing prevalence of medical management firms. The case looks at the experience of a Virginia dental group, Reston Dental Arts (RDA). In 1998, the member dentists—who had formed a group in the late 1980s—had in hand an offer from American Dental Partners (ADP). The management firm would take over all front office responsibilities, allow the doctors to focus on patients, and compensate them according to an agreed-on formula. View Abstract

Topics: dentistry professional practice; medical management; mergers; acquisitions; human resources


“Swaziland, HIV and Option B+: What Can We Afford?”

This case study examines the challenges and tradeoffs for a small sub-Saharan African country with limited resources as it tries to combat one of the highest rates of HIV-AIDS infection in the world. Swaziland in 1999 declared HIV-AIDS a national disaster. However, under the direction of Dr. Velphi Okello as national antiretroviral therapy (ART) coordinator at the Ministry of Health, the country gradually began to take charge of its own treatment and prevention programs. Okello learned to leverage both internal and international resources to maintain supplies of the essential but expensive ART drugs needed to treat and prevent the further spread of HIV.  View Abstract

Topics: public health policy; HIV-AIDS; Africa, multinational aid; medical ethics; evidence-based medicine


“Fighting for Equality in Education: Student Activism in Post-apartheid South Africa”

This case takes readers into the world of advocacy, and the benefits and risks of various strategies and tactics. Based in Cape Town, Equal Education started with a campaign to fix broken window in a single school and grew to encompass libraries, bathrooms, and electricity. In May 2013, it faced a dilemma. EE had sued the minister of basic education to issue basic norms and standards for school infrastructure, but she had missed yet another deadline and requested an extension. The leadership had to decide what to do. View Case

Topics: education reform; social activism; sustainable development; organizational management


“Côte Sud Initiative: Integrated Development in Haiti”

This case takes students into the world of international sustainable development. It looks at the challenges that confront a comprehensive development project (environment, education, health etc.) in the south of Haiti in 2012. The Côte Sud Initiative (CSI) is one piece of the government’s response to the devastating earthquake of January 2010 that leveled large parts of the capital and sent refugees streaming into the countryside, including the south. The project starts with data collection and is just gearing up to deliver services when, in March 2012, staff learn the chief funder is withdrawing.  View Case

Topics: Sustainable development, humanitarian aid, international affairs


“A Newsroom Divided: Kenya, the Election Crisis, and the Nation Media Group”

This case examines what happens when personal bias affects the newsroom. In mid-January 2008, post-election tribal violence in Kenya was making international headlines. The editorial director of Nation Media Group, which included the Daily Nation newspaper, had a crisis on his hands: the Daily Nation newsroom was splitting along tribal lines. He had to find a way reunite his staff.

   View Abstract

Topics: journalism ethics, editorial management, reporting conflict, ethnicity and race in journalism, or reporting elections and politics.


“Radio Buddu and the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

This case looks at the challenges of reporting on homosexuality in a society with complicated attitudes toward the issue. In September 2009, a Ugandan member of Parliament tabled a bill that called for the criminalization of homosexual acts and the death sentence for “aggravated homosexuality.” Moses Walugembe, a news anchor and talk show host in rural Uganda, wanted to host a show exploring the pros and cons of the bill.
  View Case

Topics:  journalism ethics, editorial decision making, reporting on human rights and social issues, reporting on politics.


“Seeking Partners for Press Freedom Media Council of Tanzania and DEFIR”

This case examines what means and partners are available to battle endemic corruption within the media. In 2009, the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) committed itself to the goal of enlisting media outlets, advertisers and others in adopting a code of editorial independence and responsibility.   View Abstract

Topics:  international media; ethics; media reform; or press and politics.


“Piloting a Bipartisan Ship: Strategies and Tactics of the 9/11 Commission”

The case traces the operational evolution and tactical challenges for the bipartisan, independent National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 commission. From 2002-04, co-chairs former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton led a politically daunting inquiry to determine the facts and make recommendations to forestall future terror strikes.

View PDF: 911 Commission final

Topics: leadership, political management, national security, or congressional relations.


“When Prevention Can Kill: Minnesota and the Smallpox Vaccine Program”

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 aroused worry about bioterrorism, the malicious use of infectious agents to kill on a large scale. With smallpox eradicated, Americans were not vaccinated against it; its release could cause havoc. This case describes the operational and political issues that face public health authorities in Minnesota who try to implement a new federal policy requiring that frontline health workers be vaccinated; many fear the vaccine is more dangerous than the threat.

View PDF: Smallpox case

Topics: public health, bioterrorism, leadership


“High Road or Low? Transparency International and the Corruption Perceptions Index”

Transparency International (TI) was created in 1993 to measure–in order to curtail–government corruption in business transactions. The case frames tactical decisions TI faced early, specifically whether to acknowledge as its own product a potentially controversial “index” of global corruption. The index was guaranteed to bring TI welcome global attention, but questions about its methodology could tarnish the fledgling organization.

View PDF: TI pdf

Topics: performance measurement, nonprofit advocacy organizations, management, corruption


“CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire: The Politics of ‘Getting it Right'”

The abrupt disintegration in 1991 of the Soviet Union led to accusations that US intelligence, especially the Central Intelligence Agency, had failed in its primary mission: to correctly assess the political, economic and military state of the USSR. This case, based on documents declassified specifically for the Kennedy School, traces the history of CIA intelligence estimates of the USSR from the end of the Brezhnev era to the coup attempt against Gorbachev. It highlights the tension between the intelligence community, which seeks to inform, and policymakers, who would prefer such information support US policy.

View PDF: Fall of Sov Union final

Topics: intelligence policy, Soviet Union, CIA


“The Treuhandanstalt: Taking a Nation Private”

The dramatic 1990 reunification of East and West Germany led to an historic mission for a new agency: the Treuhandanstalt was tasked with selling to private buyers the vast assets of the former East Germany. The agency unexpectedly found it had to decide whether to serve social welfare as well as privatization needs. The case frames a decision on whether the Treuhand should simply allow unprofitable businesses to fail, or heed calls to establish a new state agency offering employment to residents of the former East Germany.

View PDF: Treuhandanstalt

Topics: international economics, Germany, transition economics