New York


Writing at the intersection of
culture, mass media and memoir.


What next for the once-beloved, now totally beleaguered peanut?

One Sunday afternoon this month, an unusual scene played out at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Partisans of a particular product waded into the crowd, distributing tiny sacks of snacks. By day’s end, they had handed out 64,000 bags of skinless, roasted Georgia peanuts. It was Peanut Farmer Appreciation Day.
The Bulletin Link to Story

`Steak': Whirlwind tour through the world of beef

When you're writing an entire book about steak, the opportunities for opening lines are legion.
The Huffington Post Link to Story

Authentic Chinese food reaches beyond beef and broccoli

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Just off two interstate highways north of Pittsburgh, behind the Bed Bath & Beyond and directly next door to Panera Bread, sits a nondescript storefront called the Dynasty International Buffet.
Times Herald Link to Story

Whole hog: Beef has long defined the American character, but pork is becoming king

The president of the National Pork Producers Council — the person who represents the people who represent the nation's pigs — appeared recently before Congress to talk about sales in the swine flu era. He wasn't happy. "Things look bleak going forward," Don Butler told America's lawmakers. · The usually beef-and-beany Taco Bell erected signs at the mouth of its drive-thru lanes, exhorting motorists around the republic: "TOP IT OFF WITH BACON."
The Monterey County Herald Link to Story

In China, eating chicken is a political act

There he was, the top man in China's Agriculture Ministry, fingers fiddling with a drumstick as his chopstick-wielding companion gnawed at a chicken bone. Not so odd a scene, maybe -- except that Du Qinglin's meal was splashed across front pages that reach tens of millions. "Agriculture chief eats chicken to reassure the people," the New Capital Times said yesterday. Link to Story

Sweet Past, Sour Future for China's 'Patriotic' Cabbage

To the Chinese capital, the dawn of November long meant one thing -- the invasion of winter cabbage, the government-subsidized, not-too-tasty "patriotic vegetable" that sustained the masses through the icy months. Rickety trucks from one-horse towns streamed into the city, laden with heads of da baicai -- big cabbage, known to most Americans as nappa cabbage.
The Los Angeles Times Link to Story

Prying open the history of New York

The literary genre known as microhistory can be a dicey business. By framing larger social history through one tiny item — caffeine, flattery, the pencil, the number zero — an author risks either drowning in a tar pit of obscurity or losing the narrative thread that holds the tale together. When it's done right, though, it can be a towering accomplishment that offers genuine insight into the world through an accessible doorway.
Seattle Times Link to Story

To Chinese, General Tso Was No Chicken (Dish)

"We have chickens here. We make chicken. But it's nothing special," says Zuo, sitting in the shade of his open-front house a few yards from the general's old homestead. As he speaks, a hen wanders in. "You say millions of Americans are familiar with our ancestor?" His son, Zuo Jingyou, offers this: "It's been forgotten here.
The Los Angeles Times Link to Story

Chopstick Use Linked To Arthritis

At table No. 6, a man and woman deftly snag the last kernels of corn from the plate. Nearby, a businessman lifts a clump of noodles mouthward. Niu Ming, a tiny waitress with an enormous smile, makes a rapid scissors motion with her right hand as she watches them. "Chopsticks make your hands stronger and build your muscles," says Niu, on duty at the Old Gedou Sichuan Specialties Restaurant, which serves the peppery cuisine typical of this region of western China, known to Americans as Szechwan.
CBS News Link to Story



I tell stories. Stories about you and me and us, about our country and our world and the strange and meaningful tapestry of human experience. I tell stories about things that connect with each other unexpectedly, and about how the most insignificant details in our surroundings can, when poked at, turn out to mean everything. Once I wrote an entire book about a single song.

I do other things, too. Right now I am the director of digital innovation for The Associated Press, working on all kinds of interesting new things at the intersection of storytelling and new media. As a leader in AP's news operation for 15 years and a correspondent for 10 more before that, I have tried to bring an unerring sense of storytelling — in any form, in any fashion, on any platform — into our journalism as our industry changes fundamentally and shifts onto exciting and disruptive new platforms. Along the way, I teach and train and mentor and speak about journalism and why it must remain a fundamental and relevant part of the world during an uncertain era.

I also take photographs. See some of them on Instagram by clicking the link in this section, and more of them here.