About & Contact

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Photo by Adam Perez, in New York

Hello, and thanks for visiting my site. I’m a journalist, writer and producer based in Oakland, California, and the daughter of immigrants from India and the Philippines. I’m also an editor and instructor at Uncuffed, a podcast and audio journalism training program in California prisons.

My motivations lie in bringing to life gripping, thought-provoking stories that challenge and expand our perspectives on ourselves and the world and illuminate bold ideas — especially through sometimes unconventional avenues that question assumptions, reveal injustices, and link local and global consequences. 

I’m part of the 2022 class of Periplus, a mentorship collective serving BIPOC writers, and serve on the board of the Bay Area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. I also mentor early to mid-career audio professionals through Soundpath, a program through the Association of Independents in Radio. (you can book a mentorship session with me here!)

I’ve reported/produced radio stories, audio documentaries and immersive listening experiences for the BBC World Service, 70 Million, NPR, PRI and Pushkin Industries, among others. I also serve as the story editor for Wrongful Conviction With Maggie Freleng, a podcast about the stories of mostly women and members of marginalized communities who maintain they’ve been wrongfully convicted.

My reporting and writing have also been featured in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Harper’s, Politico Magazine, Pop-up Magazine, Vox, WIRED and numerous other outlets.

Over the years, I’ve gone politicking with Uganda’s top female politician, spent a day with a lookalike of India’s prime minister, immersed myself in the world of America’s longest-running Asian beauty pageant, covered how textbooks become battlegrounds for revisionist history, documented the impact of surveillance on the future of policing, profiled a celebrity guru, and followed the journey of a Dalit engineer from India to the United States. I’ve also written about my friend Kim Wall.

In 2017, I was named a “rising star” and a senior fellow with the Fund for Investigative Journalism and Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. “How Hindu Nationalism Could Shape the Election,” a story I reported about transnational politics between India and the U.S., was honored with an award by the South Asian Journalists Association Award and recognized by the Asian American Journalists Association. 

Previously, I studied Urdu in an intensive language program in Lucknow, India, where I began my freelancing career reporting from India’s most populous and pivotal swing state, Uttar Pradesh. As an English teacher in Shizuoka, Japan, I created, produced and hosted Shizuoka Speaks, a grant-funded podcast about local and international students grappling with identity and searching for community.

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’ve received reporting fellowships, recognition and support from the Religion News Foundation, Religion News Association, Association of Independents in Radio, Economic Hardship Reporting Project, South Asian Journalists Association, International Women’s Media Foundation, and Anne O’Hare McCormick Memorial Fund, among other organizations, and speak at conferences and in classrooms about writing for the ear, the particularities of covering Indian and South Asian diaspora politics, and working as a (female) freelance journalist and producer.

I 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!).

Outside of work, I’ve been spending much of 2022 learning how to dance in the air with aerial silks.


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,
  • @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. 🙂

2 Comments

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  1. You article is informative and educational. Thanks for it.
    You should know that PAC Republican Hindu Coalition’s founder Shalabh Kumar (Shali Kumar) is a fraud. He isn’t a billionaire or a tycoon. He has a small factory in Carol Stream, a western suburb of Chicago. He is living in a house worth around $450,000.
    He isn’t a megadonor, but a BS-er
    Please check this:
    https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C90016924&cycle=2016

    Also check 2018 and 2020 reporting.
    You can also check all the documents filed and notices received by Republican Hindu Coalition

    Thanks.

    • Thanks, Abdul, I appreciate your feedback. And thanks for this info about Kumar and the RHC. I have also noticed the same on Open Secrets. Let’s be in touch if that’s ok with you? Thanks again.

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