If you are interested in my novel and non-fiction essays, please watch my 2013 Cheap Beer & Prose performance at Richard Hugo House, watch me read at a 2011 Dark Coast Press launch party, or listen to these recording of my Castalia appearances in 2010 and 2012.
I am a freelancer for The New York Times, reporting from the Pacific Northwest for the National, Investigations and Sports Desks. Most recently, I helped NYT investigative reporter Michael Luo dig up some court documents for the latest installment of his excellent series on gun violence.
In 2012, I contributed a significant amount of multimedia research to a digital narrative feature story entitled Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, which was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
The NYT published “Snow Fall,” written by John Branch and viewed online by more than 3 million people, as its own special 14-page section and launched a new partnership to sell the package as an e-book.
“Snow Fall” also won a Peabody that praised the package as “spectacular example of the potential of digital-age storytelling” that “combines thorough traditional reporting of a deadly avalanche with stunning topographic video.”
The NYT made “Snow Fall” a focus of its reading club, citing media reports calling its creation “truly fantastic,” a “beautiful” integration of video, photos, and graphics “that makes multimedia feel natural and useful,” the “best designed big Web story ever” and even “the future of Web storytelling.”
KUOW-FM 94.9, a Seattle NPR station, awarded me a Program Venture Fund grant to underwrite my Addicted on the Reservation feature story and photo slideshow about tribal measures to fight Native youth substance abuse. The story aired on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and was the subject of an hour-long discussion featuring Lummi tribal leaders and yours truly on Weekday, a talk show hosted by Steve Scher.
I wrote nearly 700 news stories as a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a daily newspaper published in Seattle from 1863 to 2009. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers awarded my and others’ work with 2007 Best in Business, General Excellence award (medium circulation). In recognizing the P-I, judges highlighted my April 2007 story about an ex-port chief’s illicit retirement package, which spurred a state Supreme Court-sanctioned recall effort.
The Society of Professional Journalists’ Pacific Northwest Chapter awarded my work with 2007 Second Place for Comprehensive Coverage and, in collaboration with my colleague Ruth Teichroeb, 2006 First Place for Best Government Reporting and Best Online Business Adaptation.
Below are a few stories that won prizes or led to policy reform.
The events described in this exclusive story became the focus of a federal criminal investigation. As a result of public interest in this reporting, the Port of Seattle’s most senior commissioner was subject to a recall petition whose validity was upheld by the Washington Supreme Court. In response, the commission began taping its closed-door executive sessions to allow for judicial review.
This story, one of a long series of scoops about the corrupt internal workings of the Port of Seattle, traced the chain of responsibility for civil fraud from the middle manager blamed by the port to the executive staff the agency protected.
The Society of Professional Journalists awarded my investigation of Seattle’s cruise industry profits (part of a series co-written by Ruth Teichroeb) with 2006 First Place in government reporting in the Pacific Northwest.
- Cruising for Profits
Public outcry about this story led the Port of Seattle to send PCB-contaminated Superfund site dredge spoils to a landfill rather than dumping it into Puget Sound as planned.
I dedicated a sizable portion of my time to reporting environmental aspects of my beat, which yielded economically relevant and historically rich stories that led to policy review and revision.
It wasn’t all cronyism and bad business deals, though fraud investigations abounded. Here’s a story that shows the side of the maritime community that I came to cherish.
As a bilingual member of the metro and business desks who also moonlighted in features, I travelled around the Pacific Northwest reporting stories unique to the region and its many peoples.
Stories of loss and struggle became commonplace during the recession. Although I often met people going through hard times, the opportunity to listen to their concerns has been one of the greatest honors of my career.
A series of drownings at the docks led to increased port scrutiny of a common class of deckhands: fishing boat live-aboards, not to be confused in this article with those who live on sailboats that they operate recreationally.
Project costs often ballooned at the Port of Seattle, which implemented more controls of its procurement and other contracting policies during the time I spent reporting its doings.
I was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s retail reporter from 2004 to 2006, covering some of Seattle’s global companies while writing local economic analyses and a weekly small business column.
- Quietly, Amazon.com is hunkering down
- Starbucks adjusts its formula in China
- Liquor laws go on trial in Costco’s tangle with state
I wrote reviews because I love food, music and travel. The form of reviews encourages writerly flourishes and a personalized approach.