Articles

2014

From Billions to None (Audubon Magazine, May 2014)
On this, the centenary of the last passenger pigeon’s death, scientists reflect on what was lost, whether the species can (and should) be revived, and what other species remain are risk of joining the flock.

Nervous Energy (Sunset, April 2014)
Billions of barrels of oil lie in the Monterey Shale. The windfall from tapping into that deeply buried cache could be mind-blowing—and so could the damage. Produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network.

A Mighty Shout in North Carolina (The American Prospect, February 2014)
The Moral Monday movement entered its second year with a bang on Saturday. But can it channel that upbeat energy to reverse a conservative tide?

2013

The Gutbucket King (The New New South, December 2013)
New Orleans bluesman Little Freddie King’s epic story of migration, music, violence, race, and redemption, told in a multimedia format that includes 45 minutes of audio plus interactive maps and archival photos and documents. Features never-before-heard recordings of interviews and music. Click here for reading instructions.

The Shale Rebellion (The American Prospect, December 2013)
In Pennsylvania, a band of unlikely activists fights the fracking boom.

Guiding Light (Parade, December 2013)
A Georgia group is helping foster teens take back their lives.

The End of Moderation? (Duke Magazine, November 2013)
North Carolina’s government has lurched to the right, bucking a 50-year bipartisan consensus first articulated by Governor Terry Sanford. Also, a profile of state budget director of Art Pope, widely seen as the architect of the Republican takeover.

Women Vets: A Battle All Their Own (Parade, November 2013)
While female warriors confront the same problems as men, they also face their own distinct struggles. Meet two brave women on their emotional journey from the front lines back home.

Journey to Turkey (Audubon Magazine, September 2013)
Some of Turkey’s wildest places face threats from massive construction projects. Trying to provide a better way, one visionary biologist aims to put his country on the birding map.

The Looming Water Crisis (Saturday Evening Post, July 2013)
Despite the easy flow from our sinks and and garden hoses, in many places water is becoming dangerously scarce. We need to stop thinking of this precious substance as cheap and infinite.

Could California’s Salmon Make a Comeback? (OnEarth, Summer 2013)
After years of decline, the rich human community that depends on California’s salmon runs might at last be rebounding.

Free to Go (IndyWeek, June 2013)
Suffering from advanced-stage ovarian cancer, Sue Otterbourg declined aggressive treatment to spend her last months living fully. Why can’t more people do the same? (PDF version here.)

Follow the Money (Audubon Magazine, March 2013)
Human life would be considerably tougher without birds. Can we combine biology and economics to promote conservation?

Why the Beach Makes Us So Happy (Coastal Living, February 2013)
Scientists have explored everything from the sound of rolling waves to the molecular ions in the salty air, but is there a power even greater behind the sea’s ability to transform us? And can we harness that power to save the sea itself?

Rebel Towns (The Nation, January 2013)
Call it municipal disobedience: communities facing environmental threats are defying laws they deem illegitimate.

2012

The Tricky Academics of Eating (Duke Magazine, November 2012)
Eight conservation-minded undergraduates wrestle with the question, “Should I eat fish?” Answering it takes them into murky waters.

Long Division (IndyWeek, September 2012)
At the Republican National Convention, an intimate look at the battle between the party establishment and its dissenters.

Rebuilding America’s Schools (Parade, August 2012)
Roofs are leaking, kids are breathing toxic air, and mice are eating the wiring in our schools. But some communities are finding solutions.

Friends by the Sea (Coastal Living, July 2012)
How one moment during Carnaval in Spain turned into a lifetime of friendship.

Town and Country (The American Prospect, May 2012)
On North Carolina’s Amendment One, the fault line was not racial—it was urban-rural.

The Morning After Amendment One: Your World. And Mine. (IndyWeek, May 2012)
A meditation on community and outsiderness.

The Death and Life of Detroit (The American Prospect, May 2012)
Neighborhood groups are bringing the blighted city back, one block at a time. Will City Hall stand in their way?

Wealth for Everyone (One Nation Indivisible, May 2012)
Immigrants in Durham, N.C. had become easy targets for robbers. The community’s response: start its own wildly successful credit union.

The Art of Sand Castles (Coastal Living, May 2012)
They call themselves sand sculptors—artists who build massive structures on the beach for fun and profit, only to watch their work disappear overnight.

The Organic Food Paradox (Saturday Evening Post, March 2012)
As industrial growers rise to fill the demand for organic food, will it spell the end of the family-run, lovingly tended, earth-friendly farm?

A Moveable Feast (American Way, February 2012)
America’s Creole migration brought a whole new flavor to California. Published in conjunction with the Zydeco Nation radio documentary.

2011

Moon Bears in Distress, All for the Love of Bile (OnEarth, December 2011)
Across China and Vietnam, thousands of endangered moon bears live locked up behind bars, where “farmers” regularly drain their gall bladders for a prized liquid. Here’s one woman’s effort to save them.

Facing the Future (Audubon, September 2011)
While environmental groups often work toward preserving biodiversity in ecosystems, many are now grappling with trying to figure out how to diversify their own ranks.

Lake Erie Death Watch (OnEarth, August 2011)
Brought back from the brink once before, a Great Lake again faces biological collapse.

The High Price of For-Profit Colleges (Academe, May 2011)
The media and policy makers are taking notice of the low graduation rates, high debt loads, and deceptive recruiting practices at many for-profit colleges.

Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid (American Way, April 2011)
When an American ex-diplomat decided to re-create an icon from Casablanca in Morocco, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Fork in the Road (Audubon, March 2011)
Today organic foods seem as mainstream as frozen waffles, but the United States still lags far behind Europe. It’s time for Washington to give the industry a jolt.

2010

Do-It-Yourself Genetics (Duke Magazine, November 2010)
The mapping of the human genome inspired not only a flood of research, but also a flurry of commercial genetic tests aimed at the curious consumer. The author submitted his DNA and gained access to a trove of information that purported to reveal where his ancestors lived and his risk of disease.

Losing Louisiana (OnEarth, October 2010)
An online series exploring the economic, cultural, and environmental crisis on the Gulf Coast-a crisis that began long before the BP oil spill.

The Mines that Build Empires (Archaeology, September 2010)
For 5,000 years, Spain’s mineral riches created cash economies and global pollution.

Map Quest (Duke Magazine, September 2010)
Economist Marie Lynn Miranda uses complex mapping programs to solve even more complex public-health problems.

A Human Disaster (OnEarth, Fall 2010)
Gushing pipes, surface slicks, oiled pelicansthe visible impact of the BP oil spill is apparent. But the invisible human toll may be just as pernicious. An interview with sociologist Steve Picou.

School of Hard Knocks (Good Housekeeping, June 2010)
Record numbers of women are enrolling in career colleges, hoping for better lives. Instead, many of them are ending up with useless diplomas and staggering debt.

Crude Awakening (Audubon, March 2010)
Right here in North America could lie the answer to our energy needs. But at what cost? Mining the tar sands of Alberta threatens to strip the world’s largest intact forest of its ability to hold carbon and to wipe out the breeding grounds for millions of birds.

Living on the Edge (AARP The Magazine, March 2010)
Millions of older Americans don’t have enough money to put food on the table, but the government doesn’t count them as poor. How did this happen—and what’s being done about it?

2009

Tenure Tracker (Duke Magazine, September 2009)
In the heart of a recession, with university budgets shriveling, a newly minted Ph.D. hunts for academe’s holy grail.

Work Plan (Audubon, July 2009)
Maytag’s departure left a small Iowa town’s economy reeling. Today, however, workers are building wind machines instead of washing machines, and validating studies about the potential of green-collar jobs.

Operation Rescue (O, The Oprah Magazine, June 2009)
Barbara Woodley hoarded more than 300 dogs in deplorable conditions. It took a three-year legal battle and an army of volunteers to save these broken creatures. A winner of the Humane Society’s Genesis Award, this article includes four audio slideshows about the families who rescued the Woodley dogs.

Laid Off (AARP The Magazine, March 2009)
For factory workers in America, especially those over 45, job security has become a dying dream as the economy shrinks and jobs move offshore. Plus a profile of Hometown, Penn., after its textile mill closed.

Expletive Deleter (Duke Magazine, January 2009)
As President Obama steers the nation’s telecommunications policy in a new direction, a look back at Kevin Martin’s stormy term as Federal Communications Commission chair.

2008

Delta Blues (OnEarth, Fall 2008)
Drinking water for 23 million Californians. Lifeblood for our farm economy. Why it’s so vital to save the Sacramento Delta.

A Mean Machine (IndyWeek, September 2008)
For all its combativeness, the Republican National Convention failed the address the country’s most fundamental issues. Scenes from a week in St. Paul.

Youth and Promise at the DNC (IndyWeek, September 2008)
An N.C. delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Raleigh’s John Verdejo sees similarities between his personal history and Obama’s.

Lobsta Got to Sniff, Dinosaurs Got to Fly (Duke Magazine, September 2008)
In the field of comparative biomechanics, Mimi Koehl is an audacious pioneer whose success stems from a willingness to challenge assumptions. The Mr. Potato Head models don’t hurt either.

When Wounded Veterans Come Home (AARP The Magazine, July 2008)
As more troops are surviving fearsome war injuries, parents are being increasing thrust into the role of long-term caregivers. A multimedia special featuring a radio documentary narrated by Barry.

The Case of the Battered Pet (O, The Oprah Magazine, June 2008)
Who would suspect that a family’s animals could be pawns in domestic violence? The terrifying truth about cats and dogs.

The Redemption of Chris Rose (Columbia Journalism Review, January 2008)
A New Orleans newspaper columnist, like the daily he works for, finds a stronger voice in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

R.I.P. Off (AARP The Magazine, Jan. 2008)
Thousands of Americans have been fleeced by funeral homes that sell prepaid contracts—then fail to honor them at the time of death.

2007

Messianics Rising (JTA, November 2007)
Evangelical Christian efforts to win Jewish converts have become better funded and more sophisticated. A three-part series.

What Makes Elizabeth Run (O, The Oprah Magazine, September 2007)
Not one to walk away from a fight, Elizabeth Edwards might be the most refreshing political spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt.

Katrina: The Untold Story (AARP The Magazine, September 2007)
Two years after the hurricane, the Gulf Coast’s older residents still fight despair and search for hope. A multimedia report that includes a radio documentary produced by Rachel McCarthy and narrated by Barry.

The Wal-Mart Effect (Audubon, May 2007)
By stocking its shelves with affordable organic foods, the world’s largest retailer is about to prove that what’s good for the company is good for the planet and consumers. Or is it?

Putting Science in the Dock (The Nation, March 2007)
In an effort to exclude dubious experts, judges have assumed unprecedented power—and tilted the legal system against injured consumers.

Leap of Faith (Duke Magazine, March 2007)
Can academic rigor, firm discipline, and a daily dose of religion turn boys from poor families into scholars? An intimate look at one such attempt.

2006

When Is a Corporation Like a Freed Slave? (Mother Jones, November 2006)
In rural Pennsylvania, township supervisors battling sewage sludge and hog manure stumble up against one of the biggest mysteries in constitutional law.

Sudden Debt (AARP The Magazine, September 2006)
Overdrawn by $5? Need a loan until payday? Hidden bank fees and usurious storefront lenders plunge millions of Americans into downward financial spirals.

Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery
 (Discover, April 2006)
When this shy paleontologist found soft, fresh-looking tissue inside a T. rex femur, she erased a line between past and present. Then all hell broke loose.

Portrait of an ‘American Patriot’ (Duke Magazine, March 2006)
Democrat Francis Brooke joined GOP efforts to depose Saddam Hussein, serving as right-hand man to Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi.

When a Woman Goes Bald (Discover, February 2006)
A scientist’s painful battle with hair loss drives her to find its genetic basis.

Creation Nation (IndyWeek, February 2006)
Ken Ham says creationism and Biblical inerrancy are the solutions to the world’s ills. Welcome to the world of Answers in Genesis.

2005

Fall of a True Believer (Mother Jones, September 2005)
How Jack Abramoff gained the whole world and lost just about everything.

Prisoners of Pain (AARP The Magazine, September 2005)
Why are millions of suffering Americans being denied the prescription drug relief they need?

Whitewash (IndyWeek, Sept. 2005)
In his new autobiography, Jesse Helms sees himself as a humanitarian—not as a racist supporter of brutal right-wing regimes.

Whose House Is It Anyway? (AARP The Magazine, May 2005)
A city’s quest for renewal sometimes means the death of an old neighborhood.

Going Home (January 2005)
The hospital couldn’t save Jack Smith’s life. But hospice gave him something to live for. Why can’t all Americans have such satisfying end-of-life care?

2004

Lights Out (Discover, December 2004)
Depression, dementia, and plummeting IQs: Contact sports extract a terrible price for the excitement they create.

Dirty Warriors (Mother Jones, November 2004)
How South African hit men, Serbian paramilitaries, and other human rights violators became guns for hire in Iraq.

Less Sleep, More Energy? (Reader’s Digest, October 2004)
New drugs promise to keep us sharp even when we need shuteye. What does this mean for our bodies—and for society?

If I Were A Rich Man (IndyWeek, September 2004)
A Tar Heel tour of the Republican National Convention: protesters, fundraisers, seared tuna, and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Forbidden Science (Discover, August 2004)
What can studies of pornography, prostitutes and seedy truck stops contribute to society? A look at the current NIH funding controversy.

Deadly Dependence (Creative Loafing, Aug. 2004)
The South’s economic reliance on military bases has left a toxic legacy throughout the region.

Need An Army? Just Pick Up The Phone (The New York Times, April 2004)
The deaths of four civilians in Falluja, Iraq, raises serious questions about the use of private military companies in war zones.

Stolen Lives (AARP The Magazine, January 2004)
Thousands of older Americans are being robbed of their freedom and life savings by a legal system created for their protection.

2003

Can We Trust Research Done With Lab Mice? (Discover, July 2003)
New studies by a soft-spoken Swiss scientist show that animals used in critical experiments may be out of their minds.

Soldiers of Good Fortune (Mother Jones, May 2003)
Profit-making private military companies are replacing U.S. soldiers in the war on terrorism.

Colleen’s Choice (AARP The Magazine, March 2003)
When her cancer became unbearable, Colleen Rice chose death. Now the law that helped end her agony is under siege.

Secondhand Diplomacy (Mother Jones, March 2003)
After meeting with cigarette manufacturers, the Bush administration is seeking to derail a global tobacco treaty.

The Scientist Who Hated Abortion (Discover, Feb. 2003)
A pro-life biochemist has launched a national crusade to link abortion and breast cancer in the public’s mind.

Unhappy Meals (Mother Jones, January 2003)
School lunches are loaded with fat—and the beef and dairy industries are making sure it stays that way.

2002

Can Turtles Live Forever? (Discover, June 2002)
A quiet study in the Michigan woods—conducted by a fascinating scientist—opens a new window on aging.

The Stealth Crusade (Mother Jones, May 2002)
Inside one Southern university, Christian missionaries are being trained to go undercover in the Muslim world.

Airline Insecurity (Mother Jones, January 2002)
When it came to airport security, the federal government repeatedly placed politics and profits above the public’s safety.

2001

Journalist, Interrupted (Journal of Michigan Fellows, Winter 2001)
Why my stutter makes me a better journalist. A window into the personal side of my work.

“I Had an Abortion When I Was Six Months Pregnant” (Glamour, October 2001)
Confronted with desperately ill unborn twins and great risks to her own health, a young woman steps into a political minefield. By Gina Gonzales as told to Barry Yeoman.

The Quiet War on Abortion (Mother Jones, September 2001)
After decades of noisy protests and violence, anti-abortion activists are relying on a new “stealth” strategy to shut down clinics.

Subsidies at Sea (Mother Jones, May 2001)
Taxpayers spent $400 million on incentives for a multinational shipbuilding company. Did Philadelphia workers benefit?

Drugs Online (Ladies’ Home Journal, May 2001)
Rogue Internet pharmacies allow anyone to buy prescription medicines without first seeing a doctor.

Wild Cats in Carolina (Discover, March 2001)
Is the Carnivore Preservation Trust saving threatened felines like ocelots and caracals? Or is it simply creating genetic junk?

Silence in the Fields (Mother Jones, January 2001)
The federal government permits agribusiness to bring Third World labor to U.S. farms, with working conditions to match.

2000

A Hideous Hate Crime (Glamour, August 2000)
In 1963, four African-American girls were murdered in Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Now the granddaughter of one of the bombers—and the sisters of a victim—confront Alabama’s racist legacy.

Generation Bush (IndyWeek, August 2000)
Republicans are counting on America’s youth for a November victory—and they found a few in North Carolina.

Dangerous Food (Redbook, August 2000)
When Nancy Donley’s son died of E. coli poisoning, she learned how poorly we are all protected from food contamination.

Steel-Town Lockdown (Mother Jones, May 2000)
How one corporation is turning the Rust Belt city of Youngstown, Ohio, into the private-prison capital of the world.

Into the Closet (Salon.com, May 2000)
An up-close and personal look at the Christian movement to turn gay people straight. Meet “ex-gay” man John Westcott.

Walking Home (IndyWeek, January 2000)
This two-part series intimately chronicles a year in the life of an immigrant Baptist church in Siler City, North Carolina.

1990s

Wrestling With Words (Psychology Today, November 1998)
For people who stutter, speaking is not just a physical handicap but also a crippling psychological problem. Now gaining popularity is a radical notion: that stutterers are better off learning to accept their impediment rather than striving to overcome it.

Burnt Twice (IndyWeek, November 1998)
Toxic fumes from Carolina Solite’s hazardous waste-burning plant are compounded by toxic neglect from state regulators.

Embraced in Spain (Salon.com, June 1998)
The author, stuttering in Spanish with a group of 20-year-old street kids. An all-time favorite. (Click here for other travel stories.)

Spiritual Union: A Case Study (The Nation, December 1997)
Guatemalan immigrants build a remarkable labor organization at a North Carolina poultry slaughterhouse.

The New Men’s Movement (New Woman, October 1997)
What happens when 50,000 evangelical men gather for a Promise Keepers convention? Check your preconceptions at the stadium gate.

Murder on the Mountain (Out, November 1996)
A love story of two women murdered in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.

No, Jesse, No (Out, May 1996)
Is Senator Helms Gay Public Enemy No. 1?

Statesmanship vs. Helmsmanship (The Nation, February 1996)
How the senior senator from North Carolina holds the world hostage to his isolationist agenda.

“The Perfect Job For You” (Southern Exposure, Fall 1993)
Banks make millions loaning students money for trade schools—when when they turn out to be scams. Plus: a related story published in Good Housekeeping in 1997.

The Marines Face a New Fight (Boston Globe, February 1993)
Meet a few good men—some of whom are gay.

Highway Robbery (IndyWeek, May 1992)
An award-winning five-part investigative series examining how campaign contributions influence North Carolina’s $1.6 billion transportation budget, harming communities and the environment in the process.

Why Helms is Still at the Helm (Washington Monthly, May 1990)
N.C. politics illustrate an important national moral: Republicans don’t have to address the social and economic concerns of ordinary people in order to win elections. Democrats do.

North Carolina Fails to Still Helms’ High Waters (In These Times, November 1990)
How Jesse Helms’ last-minute appeals to the racial fears of white voters cost Harvey Gantt the Senate race.

Don’t Count Your Chickens (Southern Exposure, Summer 1989)
Poultry companies promise farmers good money—but some growers end up with big debts and empty barns. Part of a package that won the National Magazine Award for Public Interest.