By Whose Authority? (Carolina Alumni Review, March 2018)
Politics and higher education have long been entangled. Where’s the line between setting policy and micromanaging? (Opens as a PDF.)
After the Progressive Revolution (The Nation, March 2018)
A dispatch from Durham, North Carolina: on the challenges of governing a bright-blue city in the middle of a hot-red state.
A Republican Voice of Dissent (The Nation, March 2018)
Haunted by his vote to authorize the Iraq War, North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones Jr. is standing up against U.S. military actions.
Why Southern Schools are Talking Secession (CityLab, February 2018)
Citing inefficiencies, North Carolina is considering breaking up its countywide school districts. Critics see this as opening the door to resegregation.
Inside Out (Duke Magazine, Winter 2018)
For youth with gender dysphoria, early treatment is the key to living whole lives. Here’s the story of one such teenager and the clinicians who are working with him.
When Animals Grieve (National Wildlife, February 2018)
Scientists are uncovering evidence that humans are not the only animals to mourn the dead.
How Gerrymandering Silenced North Carolina’s Cities (CityLab, January 2018)
“Packing” and “cracking” voters boosted the GOP and muted urban voices. Now federal judges have struck down the latest redistricting plan.
Shutdown (Carolina Alumni Review, January 2018)
The University of North Carolina’s Center for Civil Rights taught litigation by going after governments on behalf of people who lacked legal clout. The system’s Board of Governors had a problem with that. (Opens as a PDF.)
Law and Disorder in North Carolina (The American Prospect, December 2017)
Throttled by the courts, Republican state legislators are trying to curb judges’ powers.
Democracy on the Line (The Nation, September 2017)
How the GOP uses redistricting to maintain power in the purple state of North Carolina.
Citizens of Carolina (Carolina Alumni Review, September 2017)
As a DACA recipient training to become a social-studies teacher, José Cisneros knows that his fate is now in Congress’ hands. (Opens as a PDF.)
The Eradicator (Atlanta Magazine, August 2017)
Dr. Donald Hopkins helped wipe smallpox from the planet. He won’t rest until he’s done the same for Guinea worm disease.
Durham Residents Turn Out to Counter White Supremacists (The Nation, August 2017)
The fear was that Klansmen would come to replicate the violence that had just racked Charlottesville.
Toppled! Ridding Durham of Its Racist Monument (The American Prospect, August 2017)
The liberal city wanted it down; the GOP state legislature forbade that; activists found a way to end that impasse.
Timelessness on His Hands (Carolina Alumni Review, July 2017)
Folklorist William Ferris—who has chronicled Southern musicians, farmers, worshippers, barbers, prisoners, and writers—takes aim at threats to humanities funding. (Opens as a PDF.)
The Future of Force (Mindful, June 2017)
Can meditation and other other mindfulness practices by police cut down on violence against young African-American men?
Born Before Stonewall (Medium, June 2017)
LGBTQ Baby Boomers face isolation and discrimination. But we also bring special wisdom to the process of growing older.
Going Native (National Wildlife, March 2017)
Exotic garden plants can wreak unexpected havoc with indigenous species and ecosystems.
Reclaiming Native Ground (The Lens, January 2017)
Can Louisiana’s tribes restore their traditional diets as their land crumbles into the Gulf of Mexico? A multimedia story produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network and Southern Foodways Alliance.
Will GOP Power Seizure Become a National Model? (The American Prospect, December 2016)
The story of North Carolina’s legislative hijinks through the experience of an activist who was nursing her daughter when she was arrested for protesting. Plus this article on a stalemate over LGBTQ rights.
History Matters (The Washington Post, December 2016)
North Carolina’s strongarm rule will feel familiar to anyone who lived here in the 1980s. But then there was a bipartisan push for reform.
Counterprotests Swamp KKK Celebration (The American Prospect, December 2016)
A Ku Klux Klan gathering recalls North Carolina’s racially troubled history, and demonstrates the strength and diversity of its civil rights movement today.
A New Suppression Tactic: Voter Defamation (New Republic, December 2016)
By challenging the results of a governor’s race, North Carolina Republicans lay the groundwork for a Trump-era assault on voting rights.
Return to Nixonland (Indy Week, November 2016)
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential victory, we seem to have landed, once again, back in 1968. What can we learn from that?
N.C. Dem Make Gains Against Backdrop of Suppression (The American Prospect, November 2016)
Changing demographics, combined with a Republican effort to suppress minority and youth turnout, led to close races in a swing state. Plus an earlier preview of the governor’s race.
The Trump Show (Indy Week, July 2016)
Three North Carolina delegates—libertarian, a moderate, and a Christian conservative—try to resist the Trump juggernaut. Plus more on-the-ground reporting from Cleveland.
The 30 Years That Brought Us HB 2 (Indy Week and Triad City Beat, July 2016)
Bathroom panic was the spark. But the law that shot North Carolina to the front of the culture wars has a much deeper history. Plus this flashback to the 1990s.
The Gulf War (Food & Environment Reporting Network, June 2016)
In the Gulf of Mexico, commercial and recreational fishing interests square off over the coveted red snapper. Plus click here for the newsier Texas Monthly version.
Telling Stories, Breaking Barriers (Mindful Magazine, June 2016)
Can the simple act of sharing personal stories bridge racial fault lines? A report from three Mississippi and Louisiana communities.
This Professor is His Own MAN (Duke Magazine, June 2016)
By challenging traditional ideas around academia, Mark Anthony Neal has broadened what it means to be a scholar.
Lifting the Emotional Embargo in Cuba (Sapiens, March 2016)
An unorthodox blend of anthropology and poetry is cultivating reunion and reconciliation among people and cultures that have been estranged for decades.
Blues Brothers (Atlanta Magazine, February 2016)
Eddie Tigner was nearing the end of his musical career when he met Daniel “Mudcat” Dudeck. Their friendship gave Dudeck a mentor and Tigner a second chance at success.
Earthquake Nation (Popular Science, January 2016)
There’s a whole lot more shaking going on lately—and humans are causing it. Can we stop the rattling? Should we?
The Inside Story of Shell’s Arctic Assault (Audubon Magazine, January 2016)
How Shell pressured the Interior Department during its gung-ho Arctic push—and got much of what it wanted (except oil).
A Watertight Argument (Duke Magazine, December 2015)
J Nichols believes we’ll better understand the value of ocean conservation if we think about our emotional connection to the sea.
The Algae That (Almost) Ate Toledo (onEarth, August 2015)
A year ago, a massive algal bloom shut down drinking water for 500,000 Midwesterners. It will happen again if we don’t take action.
Keeping the Lights On (Popular Science, June 2015)
A California entrepreneur is using the rapid advances in battery technology to create “virtual power plants” that reduce demand during peak hours.
The Uncounted (ICIJ and Huffington Post, May 2015)
On India’s coast, a coal-fired power plant backed by the World Bank Group threatens the traditional livelihoods of Muslim fishers. Part of the Evicted & Abandoned series, which includes a follow-up about a village chief facing reprisals for speaking out.
Beach Wars (Saturday Evening Post, March 2015)
Who owns America’s coastlines? How much access does the public deserve? Communities from California to Maine are struggling with these issues, which are rooted in almost 1,500 years of legal history.
Can Moral Mondays Produce Victorious Tuesdays? (The American Prospect, January 2015)
North Carolina’s protest movement has galvanized the state’s progressives, but couldn’t stop 2014’s Republican tide. Its leaders say they’re only just beginning. Part of a year-long project.
The Son God Gave Me (Woman’s Day, October 2014)
Gina Kentopp’s child’s struggle to figure out who he was called everything she believed into question. With strong faith and soul-searching, the answers became clear. Co-authored with Kentopp.
Life on the Mississippi, Now (OnEarth, June 2014)
We’ve spent billions of dollars on dikes, locks, and levees in a vain attempt to subdue what Mark Twain called “that lawless stream.” Is it time to let the river have its way? Plus a follow-up after the 2015 floods.
Brothers in Arms (Parade, May 2014)
Brendan Looney and Travis Manion were inseparable friends killed in separate wars. Now they lie side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery.
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.
Finding My Voice (Saturday Evening Post, May 2014)
“These days, I think my success is not in spite of my stutter, but rather because of it.” A window into the personal side of my work.
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.
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. Includes 45 minutes of audio (interviews and music) plus interactive maps and archival photos and documents.
The Shale Rebellion (The American Prospect, December 2013)
In Pennsylvania, a band of unlikely activists fights the fracking boom.
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. Plus, 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 (Indy Week, 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?
Rebel Towns (The Nation, January 2013)
Call it municipal disobedience: communities facing environmental threats are defying laws they deem illegitimate.
Long Division (Indy Week, 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.
The Morning After Amendment One: Your World. And Mine. (Indy Week, May 2012)
A meditation on community and outsiderness.
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 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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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. Plus, this related article from Academe.
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?
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.
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 (Indy Week, 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 (Indy Week, September 2008)
An N.C. delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Raleigh’s John Verdejo sees similarities between his personal history and Obama’s.
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.
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.
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.
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 (Indy Week, 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 (AARP The Magazine, 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?
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 (Indy Week, 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.
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 like Blackwater 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 (Indy Week, August 2000)
Republicans are counting on America’s youth for a November victory—and they found a few in North Carolina.
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 (Indy Week, January 2000)
This two-part series intimately chronicles a year in the life of an immigrant Baptist church in Siler City, North Carolina.
1990s and earlier
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.
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.
Rain of Nails (Out, June 1997)
When an anti-gay bomb shattered the peace in Atlanta, was the far Right’s new “leaderless resistance to blame?
Murder on the Mountain (Out, November 1996)
A love story of two women murdered in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.
No Ways Tired (Southern Exposure, Summer 1996)
Kmart workers in Greensboro, North Carolina, are invoking the spirit and tactics of the civil rights movement to create a new model for union organizing. (Opens as a PDF.)
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 Marines Face a New Fight (Boston Globe and Indy Week, February 1993)
Meet a few good men—some of whom are gay.
Highway Robbery (Indy Week, 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.
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. (Opens as a PDF.)
Faerie Culture (Southern Exposure, Fall 1988)
A look at the “Faerie Belt” of rural gay men’s sanctuaries that run across the 36th parallel from Virginia to New Mexico. (Opens as a PDF.)