Modern Journalist Toolkit 6: Yusuf Omar on Reporting with Snapchat

Modern Journalist Toolkit 6: Yusuf Omar on Reporting with Snapchat

Yusuf Omar is a cell-phone trailblazer. He finds unconventional uses for apps like Snapchat, Facebook Live, and 360 video for telling serious news stories, most of which are viewed on small screens. Omar is the new mobile editor at the Hindustan Times, one of India’s largest English newspapers, with a print circulation of more than […]

What to watch: Movies for the media

What to watch: Movies for the media

This trio of films have all found audiences with the general public, but may have particular resonance with journalists, photographers, and related members of the media. Finding Vivan Maier “Finding Vivan Maier” is both an introduction to the work of the prolific street photographer, as well as a dive into who she was and why […]

Mandela’s South Africa

Mandela’s South Africa

Even when it’s expected, death still surprises. Prior to Mandela’s death, I had numerous conversations with editors about content that they wanted to have at the ready. It’s standard practice for news organizations to prepare obituaries of well-known people on file, but the preparations for Mandela were extreme. In the hours and days after the […]

How do you answer, “Who do you write for?”

How do you answer, “Who do you write for?”

Like most questions about freelace writing and journalism, the real answer here is, “It depends.” When sending a query to a new-to-me editor, typically my bio line lists a few credits tailored to the publication. If, say, it’s a enviro/science story, I’ll mention Discover and Ensia; architecture editors find out about Dwell; education editors are […]

Robben Island

On the eve of South Africa’s 2014 elections–20 years of democracy was celebrated last week on Freedom Day–I reported from Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served the majority of his 27 years as a political prisoner. About 250 people currently live on the island, a half hour ferry ride and a world away from Cape […]

Freedom Day

I wrote this piece, “Segregation still the rule in schools,” about 10 years of democracy in South Africa 10 years ago, in 2004, back when I still had a day job as an editor, but was furiously freelancing in the evenings and weekends. I was traveling to South Africa for a visit and a wedding, and […]

The Raitt Stuff

The Raitt Stuff

Perhaps my biggest-name interview is Bonnie Raitt. (Though amongst us English major types, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka is right up there.) Hers was a hard interview to secure, but once we began, she turned out to be one of the easiest and most gracious (can I just say “best”?) interviewees I’ve ever spoken with. I […]

Mandela, from Parliament and Prison

Mandela, from Parliament and Prison

Reporting and filing two complete stories in one day is not the schedule I normally run on, but talking to people about the person who helped them clarify their purpose and vision is powerful stuff. I started out the morning visiting one of the prisons where Mandela was held–one that is still maximum security–for this […]