I am Senior Digital Editor for Mother Jones. I cover stories like how NYC's Freedom Tower failed to be green, how China is launching a fracking revolution that's screwing its people, and the inside scoop on how Gawker plunged itself into total chaos. Also: what's it like being in solitary confinement in the notorious Pelican Bay prison? And why did Animal Planet drug and trap animals on one of its top reality shows? Basically, my beats: the environment, social and criminal justice, and the media—with a special focus on directing breaking news ops for our bureau in New York City (my second home). I also write a lot about China (my third home), and Australia (my first home).
I produced the video portions of Mother Jones's blockbuster "47 percent" scoop during the last presidential election, and am Mother Jones's main video journalist. I specialize in solo "everything in a backpack" guerrilla videography: shooting, editing and post-producing my own reports, graphics and interactives. The aim is to record intimate encounters with interesting characters, and to do it fast, with very little overhead, while still making everything perfectly slick. I think web video should be trusted, brilliant and beautiful.
Before this current gig, I was Senior Producer for Climate Desk, a first-of-its-kind journalistic collaboration (founded by Mother Jones) across top news shops, including The Atlantic, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Slate, and Wired, with my videos and reports appearing across the mastheads. My big interest is in how to make climate change—this giant, difficult story—interesting for bigger audiences (and maybe even... fun?).
A little bit more about me:
My first book, Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008), is an intimate yet far-reaching account of modernizing China’s underground youth scene, in which I immersed myself for a year pre-Beijing Olympics. The book was published in Australia and New Zealand by Penguin, followed by US and UK. I was excited when The Canberra Times called the book "intimate, evocative and erudite writing, shimmering with honesty." Sweet.
After completing a masters in journalism on scholarship at New York University in 2007, I returned to Australia where I worked as the executive producer of triple j's award-winning national affairs program Hack. During my time at Hack, we won a Walkley—Australia’s equivalent of a Peabody—for our reporter's coverage of youth crime and recidivism. Since then, I have produced a variety of Australian television and radio programs, including the leading debate show Insight on SBS TV and a documentary series for ABC TV, Two On The Great Divide. I've been to Kyrgyzstan to cover ethnic cleansing and elections, trekked through the crumbling reaches of China's far Western province of Xinjiang, covered strip bars in Williston North Dakota's fracking boom, and I also invited myself to Thanksgiving dinner after wrongly receiving invites for years from the mysterious Tran family, from Somewhere USA.
Awards & recognition:
- 2013 National Magazine Award (Video).
Story: Mitt Romney's 47 Percent Remarks to a Private Fundraiser, by David Corn, Mother Jones, Sep. 17, 2012.
- 18th Annual Webby Awards (Nominee): 47 Percent video.
- 2015 Shorty Award: best "Green" social media presence for Climate Desk. I'd never heard of the Shorty's before, but it was a very fun event, and we beat Mark Ruffalo!
- Two 2014 Telly Awards (Internet/Online Video in both the News/News Feature and Political/Commentary categories).
Story: Letters to Newtown, Mother Jones, Feb. 7, 2013.
Role: Reporter, camera, editing
- 2013 Media for a Just Society Award
Story: Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America’s Prisons,” by Shane Bauer, Mother Jones, November/December 2012 Issue.
Role: Producer, camera, editing
- Animal Planet Canada announced that “Call of the Wildman” would be canceled in Canada, following Mother Jones reporting into the show that revealed drugging and neglect of animals. The original story was featured on Fusion’s Open Source, CNN’s New Day, and Al Jazeera America's Consider This. Federal officials launched an investigation, as did state and local officials in Kentucky and Texas.