Recent Notepad:

Category 'Journalism'

A John McPhee Coincidence

One winter morning two years ago, I visited my favorite bookstore. It was — past tense, as it closed that spring — a cozy place that struck just the right balance between old and new, rare and common, the sort of place you visit to just be around books. Every few weeks I’d go in the hopes of finding something I’d overlooked on all my other visits … which, inevitably, was the case.

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In Defense of Objectivity

It’s become customary in some circles to dismiss the principle of journalistic objectivity. It’s considered impossible, misguided, even cowardly; at best, it’s ancillary to transparency. Continue reading

Why the WikiLeaks Address Won’t Be Found Here

In calling on citizens to Tweet the digital address of WikiLeaks, civil liberties activist John Perry Barlow was right to declare that an infowar is on, and online citizens its soldiers. But the WikiLeaks army is not one I will join. Continue reading

Bat Request

I’ve always tried to keep this site separate from my work, but there’s an exception to every rule.

Right now I’m working on a story about White Nose Syndrome, a disease that’s killing cave-dwelling American bats at a pace unprecedented in known animal history. The work will be published on Wired and is being produced through Spot.us, a service that allows citizens to directly support journalism they care about — journalism that is, sadly, dwindling in a time of free content and pageview-driven metrics and general economic catastrophe. Continue reading

Notes on Science Writing

Science writer J.R. Minkel recently asked journalists “how you handle the pressures of the job and what motivates you to get up in the morning.” Below is my response, originally posted in my outtakes catchment. Though I try to keep this blog separate from my work, I’m making an exception here, because the answer touches on issues that are deeply important to me. Continue reading

Wired Science Kudzu

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Aw, Shucks (Blushes)

Just to strut my peacock for a moment, Bruce Sterling — cyberpunk pioneer turned futurist turned viridian green turned design wonk turned every which way, and a minor personal hero to boot — gave me a shout out yesterday. A little old shout implying that he sees me as the sort of journalist from whom one expects wild and crazy technosciencethings. Which is kinda like the Pope saying you’re a stoutly devout Catholic. So, woohoo! I is truly be flattered.