For me, being a journalist isn't so much a career as it is a vocation. Granted, journalism is rarely a 9 to 5 profession for any busy reporter, but I try to go even further by focusing primarily on stories that get me and my audience out in the field and into the middle of the action, from trailing the Zapatista Indians across Mexico to interviewing rioters while choking on tear gas in Quebec, waking up at 4am to speak with tourists making a sunrise pilgrimage to Cambodia's Buddhist temples or sleeping on a couch in a shelter with storm victims in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
For as long as I can remember, I've been interested in expanding my horizons and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, whether it's trying strange foods, learning new languages, or venturing to unusual places where typical travelers rarely go.
I'm not just trying to do participatory journalism for my own thrill and enjoyment, though. Rather, I've always felt a need to venture off the beaten track to seek out people and places whose stories and voices are rarely presented -- at least to American readers and listeners -- so that people can hear what they have to say.
When I first started out in radio, I learned that the best sound is that which takes listeners places and forces them to use their imagination -- conjuring up vivid mental images of the people and places they hear -- so I'm also on a constant mission to find interesting and creative ways to use audio and good writing to make my stories come more alive.
Conflict is the heart of any good story, and I don't always necessarily agree with everyone I meet on my journeys, but I revel in the challenge of putting myself in their shoes and trying to understand why they feel the way they do.
Here's a little about my background:
Before launching my podcast, Far From Home, I worked for nearly two decades as an interviewer, reporter, editor, and producer, covering everything from breaking news to features, investigations and documentaries, on topics ranging from politics to arts and culture.
Between 2012 and 2015, I reported extensively on New Jersey's long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy for both NJ Spotlight and WNYC/NJ Public Radio. Along with a series of stories from my colleagues at WNYC, my investigation into the state's misallocation of storm resiliency money was recognized with a Peabody award.
Prior to Sandy, I was a producer at The Takeaway, a national, daily radio news program co-produced by WNYC and Public Radio International, in collaboration with The New York Times and WGBH Boston.
I also spent five years as News Director at public radio station KGOU in Norman, Oklahoma, where I covered everything from the Oklahoma City bombing anniversary and political wrangling at the state capitol to tornadoes and the annual prison rodeo.
I learned much of what I know in the radio documentary program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
My reporting has taken me around the world, including to Cuba, Haiti, Iran, and Mongolia. It's aired on NPR, the BBC, and dozens of public radio programs, as well as stations around the country.
You can view my complete resume here or check out my LinkedIn profile at the link below.
Black and white banner photo courtesy of Drew Gurian