And welcome to my corner of the internet.
The name of this website comes from two things. 1) Once I was trying to describe my job to someone, and decided that at its essence, journalism is about explaining the lives of strangers to other strangers. 2) When you have a common name, you learn fast that every permutation of it has already been claimed on the internet.
Years ago I took an internship, on a whim, at a local weekly newspaper. My first assignment was to fact-check a story about tea parlors. “Do you serve Russian Caravan tea?” I would ask. “Does it indeed come with cream and sugar? Is it indeed $4.95?”
Within a few weeks I had a cover story – the story no one else wanted to do. Every year since the dawn of time the paper had a special summer issue dedicated to nudity. And so it was my job to find out how legal it was to be naked in our neighborhood, and I found myself calling local police stations and asking them to describe the most recent time they had arrested anyone for being naked. I discovered that approaching the world as a series of questions that needed to be answered was, in fact, the best kind of life there is. Even when people hung up the phone on me, it was exciting.
Since then I’ve studied at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, studied colony collapse disorder as a Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism, co-edited a magazine called Meatpaper, and worked as a writer and researcher for two books of maps: Infinite City and Nonstop Metropolis. I was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and wrote about tech and the environment for Grist.org.
I’m interested in how things function. I’ve reported on how cities work, how agriculture works, how our bodies work. To me, they’re all aspects of the same story – how we like to think things get done and how they actually get done.
Being a reporter means never being the expert, and always learning. I hope that my writing shares some of my delight in this work with you.
If you’d like to read a few of my favorite stories, you can find them here:
If you’d like to get in touch: hello [at] strangerworks.com