Hello, and thanks for visiting my site.
I’m an independent journalist and a senior fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. I write and make radio.
My work focuses on culture, power and powerlessness, identity and media, with an emphasis on revealing injustices and challenging assumptions. I’m experienced in covering the South Asian diaspora, in particular, and am attracted to human-centered stories that link local and global consequences. From 2009 to 2011, I was based in Shizuoka, Japan, where I taught English on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), and founded and produced a podcast on racism, immigration and education in Japan. From 2013 to 2015, I was based in Lucknow, India, where I reported on the world’s largest election, politics and social issues in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, (which could be the world’s fifth biggest nation). In 2016, as a fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, I reported in Uganda ahead of its general election. I’m currently (mostly) based in Oakland, California, where I was born.
My radio stories have aired on NPR, WBUR’s Here & Now, PRI’s The World and Studio 360, and The World in Words podcast. My writing has published in WIRED, New York Times, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, VICE News, Caravan Magazine, Roads & Kingdoms, and elsewhere. My mini podcast, “Loitering,” is named after the “Why Loiter” movement fighting for women’s right to safe space. Every episode discusses the influence of space — whether it is physical, virtual or emotional (past episodes cover homelessness in the library and how to cope with hate on Twitter, for example).
My stories — particularly on the immolation of a “Facebook journalist,” India’s “sand mafia,” and a fight over the truth of history in California textbooks — are used as educational materials in journalism, criminal justice and religious studies courses. My work is also cited in books and research papers that discuss digital media in an international context, politics and economic growth, gendered violence and sexualized minorities. As a contributing editor at MediaShift, my research and reporting on press freedom and business trends in media and advertising have been cited by Nieman Lab, Mediagazer, Pew Research Center and the American Press Institute, and regularly appears on Digital Content Next, a trade publication that represents large publishers like the New York Times, Vox Media and NPR.
Some of my favorite pieces and ones most meaningful to me are on language politics, accents and voice recognition technology, a woman’s gun, SantaCon, migrant teachers, underground queer communities, sports betting, vote polarization, a strongman, politicking with Uganda’s top female politician, a day in the life of a lookalike of India’s prime minister, an Asian beauty pageant, and my friend Kim Wall.
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