New York


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


The American mood: Is the angst bottoming out?

Friday night in northern New Jersey, circa April 2009, offers clues to prove any theory about the American economic meltdown, depending on what you want to believe. Just like so many places these days. Craving optimism? Watch the tour bus emptying into the La Quinta lobby off Route 3, its occupants abuzz about their weekend sightseeing jaunt into Manhattan.
The Huffington Post Link to Story

Has America become numb to tragedy?

Does the name Byran Uyesugi ring a bell? Odds are not. What about Robert A. Or Mark Barton? Terry Ratzmann? Robert Stewart? Each entered the national consciousness when he picked up a gun and ended multiple lives. Uyesugi, 1999, Hawaii office building, seven dead. Hawkins, 2007, Nebraska shopping mall, nine dead.
NBC News Link to Story

VP: A second banana in a country of firsts

Beside a mighty river, tucked away in the shadow of a towering ribbon of asphalt that leads drivers into the Lincoln Tunnel and Manhattan beyond, sits a plot of land notable because of a two-century-old event that, for most Americans, is largely forgotten. Here, during an 1804 duel, Aaron Burr shot and killed the guy whose face now decorates your $10 bills _ Alexander Hamilton, the former Treasury Secretary.
The Huffington Post 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

From the economy's ills, a new round of American villains rise

"The better the villain," Alfred Hitchcock said, "the better the movie."
The Mercury Link to Story

At Kabul airport, tentative signs of life amid the desolation and danger of Afghanistan

The international terminal is a cavern of desolation, guarded by a little man with a big gun. The air traffic control center, antique even by Afghan standards, is useless without the powerful radio that someone spirited away during the U.S. bombardment. two consoles, some broken windows and a bed with a wrinkled pillow -- looks out upon still more misery a cratered runway and grass-lined perimeter, all studded with land mines from violent yesterdays.
The Standard-Times Link to Story

Shipping Boxes Part of Kabul Scene

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ He has kept shop inside its metal walls for six years now, peddling his bright bolts of cotton and nylon every day through three governments and more bullets and bloodshed than he cares to remember. There is no electricity in Shah Aga's store. But security, durability and mobility are present in abundance.
The Associated Press Link to Story

Home, and then what? Pondering the ex-president

Each dawn through the 1950s and into the 1960s, he would emerge from the house on North Delaware Street and amble through town in suit and Stetson hat, a snowy-haired Midwestern retiree on a morning constitutional to the library where he volunteered.
The Standard-Times Link to Story

Change comes as promised, but what does it mean?

Decades ago, a joke about the country's 34th president went like this: Did you hear about the new Eisenhower doll? Wind it up and it stands still for eight years. Not so Barack Obama. Today, such a joke would probably involve references to caffeine, hundred-yard dashes and the fast-forward button.
San Diego Union-Tribune Link to Story

The cult of the regular guy in America

Bowling a few frames? Absolutely. Windsurfing? Not so much. Clearing brush on your ranch with rolled-up flannel sleeves? Pitch perfect. Forgetting how much real estate you've accumulated? Hit the road, Jack. In the language of politics and the vernacular of American culture, one god towers above all others and must be forever kneeled to. via AP Link to Story

Saddam Video Said Shot When Baghdad Fell

DOHA, Qatar - Saddam Hussein resurfaced Friday in image and in voice, waving to enthusiastic crowds on a video reportedly shot as American forces overran Baghdad and addressing his people in a tape recording that crackled with quiet defiance. The twin electronic appearances deepened the mystery surrounding the fate of the elusive Iraqi president, who was believed to be either dead, in hiding or on the run.
The Associated Press Link to Story

In campaign, a battle over owning America's story

A deep obsession with the story of America _ who tells it, and who gets to write its next chapter _ was a rare piece of common ground that speakers at both the Republican and Democratic conventions managed to share.
Deseret 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.