Freelance journalism

I am a full-time freelancer specializing in deeply reported articles on important issues around the world. I have reported from some thirty countries on assignments for Wired, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The Village Voice, Playboy, Mother Jones, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Vice, The New York Times and many other publications. My articles have won numerous awards, have been optioned by film and TV producers, and have been reprinted in anthologies, text books, and periodicals from Africa to Asia. I am currently at work on a book for Penguin/Random House about the world’s most important yet least appreciated commodity: sand. That project is supported in part by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Job history

June 2015-December 2016: Contributing Editor, Playboy magazine. Assigned and edited longform features, on subjects ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the ongoing environmental damage caused by the BP oil spill.

April 2014-July 2014: Founding Editor of TakePart World. Conceived, developed and launched this online news and information hub aimed at changing how Americans think about the developing world. The website was a project of Participant Media, producer of such documentaries as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman,” with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

December 2011-December 2013: Articles Editor at Pacific Standard. Part of the team that conceived and launched this award-winning bimonthly print and daily online magazine of cutting-edge research and ideas, which was nominated in its second year for a National Magazine Award. Wrote, assigned, and edited articles of every length for both platforms.

November 2005 – December 2010: Taught classes on investigative journalism and freelancing techniques for MediaBistro, a media professionals’ association.

July 2007 – January 2008: Senior Editor with the digital arm of Wired Science, a PBS television series based on Wired magazine.

November 1999 – October 2002: Senior Editor with, the online sister publication of Mother Jones magazine.Assigned, edited and wrote articles from daily briefs to in-depth features, produced special investigative projects, supervised four interns, and wrote articles for print magazine. Headed team producing award-winning Web-based investigation into the economic and social costs of prisons in all 50 states.

July 1997 – August 1998: Special Projects Writer with The Oakland Tribune, a Pulitzer Prize-winning California daily. Wrote in-depth news features on a wide range of topics, with emphasis on health, technology and criminal justice issues. My articles also appeared in the Tribune’s six sister newspapers.

September 1994 – July 1997: Senior Writer with The Jerusalem Report, Israel’s leading news magazine. Covered political, social and religious issues in New York City and nationwide, from the presidential elections to an exclusive interview with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

April 1993 – May 1994: Correspondent for Maclean’s, Canada’s national news magazine, covering the conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and other ex-Yugoslav republics. Co-authored reports on Bosnia and Croatia for Human Rights Watch.

April 1992 – April 1993: Staff Writer with The Prague Post weekly newspaper in the Czech Republic. Covered social and economic issues and eventual break-up of post-Communist Czechoslovakia.

February 1991 – April 1992: Associate Editor with Adbusters, a media analysis magazine based in Vancouver, Canada. Assigned, edited and wrote articles, from briefs to features.

March 1990 – January 1991: English Editor with Jerusalem Press Service, a news agency in Jerusalem, Israel. Wrote daily field reports from the West Bank and Gaza Strip for distribution to international media.

Awards and Honors — Individual


  • American Society of Journalists and Authors award for reporting on a significant topic (twice)
  • Media for Liberty Award, a $50,000 prize for a work of journalism “that examines the link between economic and political liberty.”
  • Society of Professional Journalists award for explanatory journalism
  • Los Angeles Press Club award for in-depth magazine feature
  • National Mental Health Association Media Award
  • National Council on Crime and Delinquency award (twice)
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving Media Award


  • National Headliner award
  • Investigative Reporters & Editors award
  • Columbia Graduate School of Journalism/Online News Association award
  • Missouri School of Journalism Lifestyle Journalism award
  • John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism
  • Los Angeles Press Club – Magazine Investigative Report award (four times)
  • Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for In-Depth News Story


  • Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
  • Kiplinger Fellowship in Public Affairs Journalism (University of Ohio)
  • Casey Journalism Center (University of Maryland)
  • Knight Digital Media Center (University of California, Berkeley)

Awards and Honors — Team Member

  • National Magazine Award for General Excellence (two wins, one nomination)
  • Emmy award (Los Angeles area)
  • Alternative Press Award winner (three times)
  • Project Censored award winner
  • Webby award finalist


  • University of California, Berkeley: Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies, completed 1989. Highest Honors (Summa Cum Laude).
  • American University in Cairo, Egypt: Academic year abroad, 1986 -1987.

Other skills

  • Conversational Spanish, French, and Arabic. Some Serbo-Croat.
  • Video and audio editing with Final Cut Pro. Familiar with WordPress, InDesign and some HTML.