I discovered how fun writing could be in journalism classes in high school, which was good because my writing pretty much sucked up until that point. Since then, my writing life has been shaped by that foundation, whether I’m writing creative nonfiction or a blog post, exploring my own life or immersing myself in the lives of others.
My writing and journalism has covered subjects including the media, technology, and popular culture, but mostly I write about television, primarily because I need a reason to justify how much TV I watch.
Below are links to some of my favorite pieces; the rest are archived by publication. Thanks for reading what I’ve written.
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Reality on the High Seas / Playboy / The environmental activist group Sea Shepherd took two boats to the Faroe Islands last summer, trying to stop whaling while crews from Animal Planet’s series Whale Wars documented their actions. The Faroese, fans of Whale Wars, were horrified that they were now its villains. This piece, reported from the Steve Irwin, tells the story of the intersection of activism, tradition, and television. / 3.12
The Curse of Reality TV / Playboy / For this feature story, I went behind the scenes of A&E’s Hoarders and spent a weekend with a former Survivor cast member to learn how the production of reality TV impacts its real-life subjects, from the mentally ill to those who just want to be liked. / 7.11
Survivor Spy Exposed / The Daily Beast / In 2009, Survivor’s producer filed a secret lawsuit to discover who had been leaking spoilers about the show. As part of this investigation, I talk to the man who was sued, who reveals that his source was one of the show’s most famous cast members. / 1.31.11
Ex-Sitcom Star Tony Danza Turns To Teaching / NPR’s All Things Considered / Having the star of Who’s the Boss teach high school for a year for a reality TV show seems like a bad joke, but for Tony Danza and his students, it was very real. / 9.29.10
Reality TV and Porn Collide / The Daily Beast / As people have become more comfortable turning their real lives into entertainment on reality TV shows, people have become more comfortable being even more intimate on camera. In this reported piece, I explored the increasing overlap between television’s newest genre and the not-so-new practice of depicting sex. / 1.27.10
‘Survivor: Samoa’ Rises To New Season Of Challenges / NPR’s Morning Edition / From Samoa, I reported for NPR News about the creation of the first challenge of Survivor’s 19th season, from conception to construction to completion. / 9.17.09
‘Survivor’ will shine spotlight on pristine Gabon / msnbc.com / In June 2008, I traveled to Africa to report on the 17th season of Survivor, and the stories I wrote included this piece, which focused on the impact the reality show would have on the country. / 9.21.08
Who’s the Mystery Man in Epcot’s Garage? Neither Woz nor Jobs / Wired / When Epcot’s Spaceship Earth attraction reopened, competing rumors suggested that a new scene featured Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak. As I found out, it’s neither. / 1.08
Home decorating and other lies / Salon / On the set of Trading Spaces, I shadowed designer Doug Wilson and his producer Aimee Kramer. Although I visited after the show had achieved cult status, I was the first writer to hang out with the cast and crew throughout an entire shoot. The result of that immersion was this exploration of how the show is constructed and what that means about the way we perceive reality. / 11.26.02
Me and E.T. / The Boston Globe / Twenty years after I was first terrorized by E.T., the film was rereleased. On that occasion, I confronted my fears and examined why I was so terrified. / 3.17.02
Don’t call it a comeback / Salon / In 1999, the NAACP reacted to the lack of black characters on prime-time TV. Two years later, I followed up with this report, examining the changes that networks had made in response to the criticism, and discussing issues related to the representation of African-Americans on television. / 5.23.01
reality blurred: the reality TV news digest / I tend to forget that most of my writing every day is on reality blurred, my reality TV-focused web site (okay, blog). The stories range from summaries of newsworthy stories to analysis of that news, commentary to satire. Read today’s stories or browse the archives.