Hello, and thanks for visiting my site. I’m an award-winning journalist, writer, producer and story editor based in Oakland, California, and the daughter of immigrants from India and the Philippines.
I wear many hats as I report, write and make radio. My motivations lie in producing gripping, thought-provoking stories that challenge and expand our perspectives on ourselves, our communities, and the world and illuminate bold ideas — especially through sometimes unconventional avenues that question assumptions, reveal injustices, and link local and global consequences. I have over a decade of experience and am excited to collaborate on dynamic projects focused on achieving these results and more!
Currently, I teach audio journalism with Uncuffed, a training program and podcast based out of California prisons; story edit the podcast Wrongful Conviction With Maggie Freleng; and mentor early to mid-career audio professionals through Soundpath, a program with the Association of Independents in Radio. I also investigate the influence of caste in the United States, an issue I’ve been following for several years now, as well as report other stories, particularly those that are transnational.
Previously, from 2009 to 2011, I was based in Japan and created and produced Shizuoka Speaks, a place-based podcast about local and international students grappling with identity and searching for community. From 2013 to 2015, I studied Urdu in an intensive language program in Lucknow, India, and reported on the world’s largest election, crime, politics, gender and religious polarization in one of India’s poorest and most pivotal swing states, Uttar Pradesh. I’ve been an African Great Lakes reporting fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, a senior fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and the lead researcher for National Geographic’s coverage of South Asian America. Most recently, I was a 2022 fellow with Periplus, a competitive writing collective for BIPOC writers, and served as the elections engagement editor for the local public radio station KALW. I’m grateful to have received several grants and fellowships over the years to support my work, including from the IWMF, Economic Hardship Reporting Project, SAJA, AAJA, and the Religion News Foundation.
As for where you can listen to or read my work – My stories appear in WIRED, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Harper’s, Politico Magazine, Pop-up Magazine, BBC World Service, 70 Million, NPR and more. I’ve gone politicking with Uganda’s top female politician, tagged along with a lookalike of India’s prime minister, immersed myself in the world of America’s longest-running Asian beauty pageant, covered textbooks as battlegrounds for revisionist history, probed the impact of surveillance on the future of policing, investigated transnational politics between India and the US, profiled a celebrity guru, and followed the journey of a Dalit engineer from India to the United States. On a personal level, I’ve also written about my friend Kim Wall.
I love the experience of immersing myself in a good story, collaborating with good people on compelling projects, and doing what I can to make a difference in my community and industry. My work is discussed in journalism, social work, criminal justice, and religious studies courses, and referenced in books, surveys, and research papers about trends within minority communities, international digital media, politics, economic growth, and gendered violence. I serve on the board of the Bay Area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and graduated with honors from Columbia Journalism School, where I studied as an Anne O’Hare McCormick Scholar.
My personal podcast and newsletter is Loitering: The Occasional, But Lovable, Traveling Mini Pod, named after the “Why Loiter” movement fighting for women’s right to safe space (if you’re interested in updates, subscribe here!). Thanks and hope to hear from you!
This website showcases most of my work; you can click on the hashtags to see stories by that topic. Please feel free to reach out with ideas, new opportunities, constructive criticism or a hello!
- sonipaul at gmail dot com or email@example.com
- @sonipaul on most social media,
- Signal: Ask,
- or fill out the form below.
P.S. My website’s current cover photo is from a 2009 cycling trip through Japan’s Shimanami Kaido, a long expressway that connects Japan’s big island of Honshu to its smaller island of Shikoku through several small islands and bridges. This photo of the Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge — the world’s longest suspension bridge — connects Shikoku with a tiny island called Ōshima. I made the photo with a Kodak disposable film camera. 🙂