“He’s taught big-city reporters a thing or two about investigative journalism.”
–Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Barry Yeoman specializes in in-depth reporting that puts a human face on complex issues. In recent years he has brought readers and listeners into:
- a seminary where Christian missionaries learn to convert Muslims;
- a lab where the fundamental assumptions of dinosaur science are being challenged;
- a remote First Nation community in Canada threatened by tar-sands operations;
- a coastline in India where industrialization threatens traditional fisherfolk;
- a training ground for private soldiers on secret missions;
- a Turkish bird paradise that could soon be under water;
- a New Hampshire town threatening secession from the United States;
- a boat operated by two shrimpers trying to cope with the BP oil spill;
- the Washington corridors where super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff rose to power before his fall;
- corner blues joints in New Orleans that struggle to keep their doors open; and
- the inside of his own DNA.
He has written about Southern chicken farmers, brain-injured athletes, women veterans, earnest Promise Keepers, an American strategist for the Iraqi resistance, controversial sex researchers, Spanish Carnival musicians, salmon fishermen, Jews for Jesus, anti-fracking rebels, and the women whose lives are caught up in the debate over “partial birth” abortion.
Barry’s work has appeared in AARP The Magazine; The American Prospect; Audubon; CityLab; Discover; Glamour; Good Housekeeping; Huffington Post; Mother Jones; The Nation; New Republic; O, The Oprah Magazine; OnEarth; Parade; The Washington Post; Popular Science; Saturday Evening Post; Sunset; Texas Monthly; Woman’s Day; and many other publications. It has been produced in collaboration with journalism non-profits like the International Consortium of Investigative Reporters, The Investigative Fund, and the Food & Environment Reporting Network. It has been translated into Russian, Portuguese, Khmer, Spanish, Flemish, and Italian.
Barry’s articles have won him a slew of accolades. Columbia Journalism Review, the nation’s premiere journalism magazine, named him one of nine investigative reporters who are “out of the spotlight but on the mark.” The Columbia University School of Journalism and Poynter Institute have described Barry’s work as “the essence of excellence.” (For a list of awards, see the righthand column of this page.)
He has made forays into documentary radio, too, covering everything from zydeco music to coastal land loss. His 2008 documentary Picking Up the Pieces, which he reported, narrated, and co-produced for Prime Time Radio, was honored by American Women in Radio & Television with a 2009 Gracie.
A 1982 graduate of New York University, Barry began his journalism career in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he developed his taste for Tabasco while writing about Cajun culture and politics for the Times of Acadiana. He also wrote the first documented newspaper article about Catholic-priest sexual abuse.
In 1985, Barry moved to his current hometown of Durham, North Carolina, to write for The Independent (now Indy Week), an award-winning newsweekly praised for its “spine of steel” and its relentless commitment to investigative journalism. There, Barry wrote about the area’s worst landlords (including Senator Jesse Helms), the politics of highway construction, and the region’s growing Hispanic immigrant community. He also covered state government with a candor unprecedented in the state’s press corps. (Immediately after Barry named Gov. Jim Martin “the official state vegetable,” the governor announced at a press conference that he was not, in fact, a vegetable.) Barry’s exposé of the poultry industry won him the National Magazine Award for Public Interest, and his “Highway Robbery” series received the Green Eyeshade Award, the South’s preeminent journalism prize.
Barry’s work has been reprinted in several books, including Best American Science and Nature Writing; The Global Investigative Journalism Casebook; Wanderlust: Real Life Tales of Adventure and Romance; Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits from Poverty; The Best Business Stories of the Year; The Dirt; and The World’s Best Sex Writing. For book ordering information, click here.
In addition to his writing, Barry has taught at Duke University. For its entire four-year run, he served as the editorial producer for Life Reimagined, a segment of the TODAY show about life reinvention hosted by Jane Pauley.