Love City

For every story that makes it to print, there are scads that die in the reporting trenches. This is one of those stories. In 2001, I moved to Bolivia to become a Peace Corps volunteer and fell deeply in love with the country. In 2010, I returned. I wanted to visit friends and family, but, […]

Chopper Journalism

On May 31, a flight instructor named Craig MacCallum and his 19-year-old student lost control of a single-engine plane shortly after taking off from a small airport in Linden, New Jersey. MacCallum put out a mayday call just before the plane plummeted from the sky. The student survived, but MacCallum didn’t make it. And I […]

The Last Word on The Science Writers’ Handbook

LWON is a group blog run semi-anarchically by 12 science writers. If you think that sounds like a recipe for chaos, just contemplate SciLance, an even more anarchic group of 35 science writers. Usually, SciLance is just a discussion group, so the chaos is relatively subdued. But last week, the writers of SciLance published their […]

Fast Journalism and Senseless Acts of Violence

On September 11, 2001, I was visiting a teacher in a one-room school in Kikijana, Bolivia, a tiny community nestled high in the mountains. After school let out, the teacher switched on a battery-operated radio. The broadcast was in Quechua, a language I don’t really speak, so I tuned out. But the teacher was listening. […]

Newsweek Is Dead, and Other Stuff You Already Knew

“Hey Hayden, can you say caption?” Those five words haunt me still, more than a dozen years after I first heard them. The set up: an article I’d been working on about wooly mammoths had, in the course of a week, been incrementally demoted from a full page down to – no joke – a […]

Jonah Lehrer, Scientists, and the Nature of Truth

Last week the journalism world was buzzing about — guess who? — Jonah Lehrer. Yes, again. We knew about the science writer’s self-plagiarism and Bob-Dylan-quote fabrication. Last week a New York Magazine exposé by Boris Kachka claimed that Lehrer also deliberately misrepresented other people’s ideas. Kachka’s piece led to some fascinating discussions about whether it’s possible to […]

Egg-ceptionally Bad

A few days ago, while cruising my Facebook feed, I came across link that stopped me cold. The headline was “Study: Eggs Are Nearly as Bad for Your Arteries as Cigarettes.” Bullshit, I thought. There’s no way that can be true. So I clicked on it, and ended up on the Atlantic’s Web site. But […]

Can cheaters repent?

    On Saturday, 38-year-old Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the gold medal in the men’s Olympic cycling road race. Not everyone was cheering. As one cycling fan commented on twitter, Vinokourov’s win was, “Not good for cycling, sport or “Olympism.’” The reason for this grumbling? “Vino” is a former doper, and an “unrepentant” one by […]