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 […]

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 […]