I’m a reporter on the science desk at BuzzFeed News, based in San Francisco. My interests span biology, medicine, social sciences, and the environment from genetics and stem cells, through ecology and conservation, to psychology and psychiatry. I’m especially interested in investigative and data-driven journalism.
I also teach investigative and policy reporting and data visualization in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and data visualization and data journalism in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. And I run training workshops in data visualization for the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute.
I got my break in journalism in 1989 as a reporter for Nature in London, fresh from a PhD in animal behavior. Later I worked as European correspondent for Science, as news editor for New Scientist and chief news & features editor with Nature, before moving to California in 2005 to become New Scientist’s San Francisco bureau chief.
When the opportunity arises, I love to combine my work with travel. Over the years I’ve reported from countries including Cameroon, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam.
My articles have won awards from the Association of British Science Writers, the Association of Health Care Journalists, the UK Guild of Health Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Royal Statistical Society, and the Wistar Institute.
My maps of U.S. government surveillance flights were named data visualization of the year in the Global Editors Network’s 2016 Data Journalism Awards; that project also won gold for data journalism and the overall Most Beautiful prize in the 2016 Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards. A follow-up project, which used machine learning to identify further covert spy planes, won the JSK Fellowships award for innovation in GEN’s 2018 Data Journalism Awards. And I was a finalist in the Online category of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019 Communication Awards for my data-driven coverage of wildfires.