As editorial director of news and issues at VICE, I run a team of 15 writers and editors who cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: inequality, identity, healthcare, environment, and politics. Here’s a small selection of the stories my team has done (click the thumbnails to read):
Tonic was VICE Media’s health and wellness site, which I conceived, planned, and launched as editor-in-chief in November 2016. We were a team of five editors and writers plus a social editor and video producer who believe that traditional health coverage is predictable, often preachy, and too reliant on unrealistic interpretations of single studies. Through service-based coverage and personal, impactful storytelling, we built a health publication for the rest of us—those of us who want frank, skeptical, accurate reporting about how to be healthier, and the forces that prevent us from doing so, whether social, political, economic, or just our own selves getting in the way.
While wellness advice on Tonic takes the form of useful nutrition and fitness information, you’ll also find insightful reporting on when the trends go wrong. A recent piece I edited, about the mental health fallout some people experience from the most common type of meditation, went viral. I’ve also edited stories that turn a critical eye on “self-care” and other common wellness tropes and crazes.
The Tonic Guide to Healthcare: I formulated and top-edited this comprehensive, easy-to-follow FAQ about getting medical care, whether you have good insurance, bad insurance, or no insurance at all. We identified some of the most difficult and taboo health circumstances experienced by young people and tackled those first; this will be an ongoing series that expands over time.
I conceived and created our United States of Addiction series, which puts a young, human face on this sprawling epidemic. We traveled to three states where overdose deaths have surged—Maine, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—to look, via video documentaries and reported stories, at how young people are getting addicted, how we’re dealing with those addictions, and how we’re dying.
I cooked up and currently write Coping, Tonic’s weekly newsletter about anxiety and depression. We reach 800,000+ readers across email, Snapchat, and Instagram, and get dozens of questions every week.
Millennials and Gen Z are more anxious and depressed than any previous generation; this is likely why Tonic’s mental health coverage gets so much traction. We’ve focused on guiding readers to resources, and making them feel less isolated with honest, raw stories of people’s mental health struggles. Among the pieces I’m proud to have edited are this one, about medical privacy for college students seeking therapy, a feature about the psychological side effects of the hair-loss drug Propecia, and a reported first-person story about trying to get off the anxiety drug Ativan.
For this provocative and much-discussed ongoing series on Tonic, I’ve edited and top-edited stories that explore what it’s like to be black in the American healthcare system, how wellness trends can be exclusionary, the long-term effects of racism on a person’s health, and more.
VICE’s inaugural Sex Week featured a series I spearheaded, called Unscrewing Ourselves. Young people in the US are giving each other STDs at unprecedented rates, sex ed still focuses on abstinence in many states, and communities across the US are negatively affected by these things in radically disproportionate ways. Through videos, features, and service stories, we looked into the systemic and behavioral reasons for why this is happening—and what to do about it.
As health director from 2013-2016, I oversaw this monthly magazine’s medical, health, and mental health coverage, both in print and online.
Profile of Laura Esserman, the doctor who is trying to change how American women get mammograms, Prevention, 2016 [click the image for PDF]
Feature on the newest findings in Alzheimer’s research, Prevention, 2015 [click the image for PDF]
A report on phage therapy, a little-known alternative treatment for antibiotic-resistant infection, Prevention, 2015 [click image for PDF]
The science of reducing Alzheimer’s risk, Prevention, 2015 [click image for PDF]
Feature about a common surgery and its connection to cancer, Prevention, 2014 [click the image for PDF]
A special report about the effort to remove antibiotics from farming, Prevention, 2014 [click the image for PDF]
Judith Newman goes deep on personalized medicine, Prevention, 2014 [click image for PDF]
Lifesaving medical care sometimes comes in the form of a video call. Prevention, 2014 [click image for PDF]
Report on the promise of cancer immunotherapy treatment, Prevention, 2014 [click image for PDF]
Deep-dive on how to buy sustainable fish, Prevention, 2014 [click image for PDF]
Why do so many American women rely on antidepressants? Prevention, 2014 [click image for PDF]
As senior features editor from 2011-2013, I led the print magazine’s news coverage of nutrition, medicine, and mental health, as well as assigning, editing, and writing features.
A look at the rampant mislabeling in seafood sales, Health, 2012 [click image for PDF]
A checklist for checking up on your doctor, Health, 2012 [click image for PDF]
Report on the promise of microbiome research, Health, 2012 [click image for PDF]