No, Mr. Penn, That Is Not Why We Hate You

Like every foreign journalist living in Mexico, I’ve been watching the Sean-Penn-interviews-notorious-drug-lord with a mix of humor and mild disgust. It’s like some kind of adolescent game of Mad Libs. El Chapo meets Sean Penn in the mountains to talk about farts and penises. I tried to read the article but could only force myself […]

Let Us Celebrate The Lack Of Total Failure

This past Friday evening, when I heard that the 195 nations represented at the COP21 climate meeting in Paris had reached a draft agreement, I was pleasantly surprised. On Saturday morning, when I saw the stronger-than-forecast draft text, I was shocked. And on Saturday afternoon, when the final agreement was signed—signed!—I was thrilled. The Paris agreement won’t singlehandedly head off the worst […]

Redux: Freelancing Still Sucks. Still, Long Live Freelancing.

This post was a response to a column called “Freelancing Sucks,” which was published just about a year ago. Well, freelancing still sucks—and we still need freelancers. Last month, Fast Company senior editor Reyhan Harmanci published a column called “Freelancing Sucks.” She wrote: Everyone knows this: the freelancers, who are forced to beg for months-late checks; the editors, […]

Three Weird Tricks For Not Writing Ableist Garbage

I’ve fallen, relatively unexpectedly, into a beat. This is something I hear that some journalists plan, but for me it was simply a snowball effect. I did a story about prosthetics. Then I did another. Then amputees and prosthetists started calling me, and I just kept covering the field. I love covering prosthetics. I talk […]

Guest Post: Upvote This Post, Pleeease!

You won’t believe the 17 ways you’re doing online science journalism wrong! Number 25 will make you cry[1] Are you a long-time science journalist? Maybe just starting your career and seeking exposure? Maybe only have a vague idea of what science even is? In today’s online marketplace, it doesn’t matter. If you can write quickly […]

Freelancing Sucks. Long Live Freelancing.

Last month, Fast Company senior editor Reyhan Harmanci published a column called “Freelancing Sucks.” She wrote: Everyone knows this: the freelancers, who are forced to beg for months-late checks; the editors, who surf on an endless sea of referrals, looking for unicorn writers who turn in copy clean and on time; the readers, who get the […]

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 […]