My first story for The New York Times delved into the paper’s comment platform, where the 14-person moderating team fields about 12,000 comments a day and where readers are deeply invested in contributing to the online conversation. I really enjoyed interviewing the editors and learning how they keep the tone of the comment section civil and productive, especially when many other media companies’ s have simply eliminated their platforms because they had devolved into name-calling free-for-alls. It takes a surprising amount of work to fashion a productive online reader forum. Read the full story here!
I recently published my first online news story for Sierra, the Sierra Club magazine. I discovered a new study that found the range of the Anna’s hummingbird, a common species in the western U.S., had expanded its range north in dramatic fashion over the past 40 years. But the impetus behind the shift wasn’t warming temperatures or other factors associated with climate change. It was people putting out nectar feeders in their backyards. Anna’s hummingbirds have good memories: once they find a food source, they stick to it, even forgoing their usual winter migrations to stay near year-round feeders.
I wondered if this human activity was a bad thing–are we messing up the birds’ natural habits to their detriment? The experts I spoke to said no; in fact, the populations of Anna’s hummingbird in the study area were thriving, thanks to the additional food sources. Read the whole story here!