About & Contact

Photo by Adam Perez, in New York

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. 

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 specialize in investigating caste in the United States and am attracted to transnational stories more broadly. I also teach audio storytelling with Uncuffed, a training program and podcast based out of California prisons, and mentor audio professionals through Soundpath, a program with the Association of Independents in Radio.

Fresh out of college, I taught English in Japan, where I won a research grant to create and produce Shizuoka Speaks, a place-based podcast about local and international students grappling with identity and searching for community. I launched my freelancing and reporting career while studying Urdu in an intensive language program in Lucknow, India; I covered politics, crime, gender and religious polarization in one of India’s poorest and most pivotal swing states, Uttar Pradesh (a state the size of Brazil).

I’ve since 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 on the board of the Bay Area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. I’m grateful to have received several grants and fellowships over the years to support my work, including from the 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. Working behind the scenes, I was the story editor for the podcast Wrongful Conviction, hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Maggie Freleng. 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. I graduated with honors from Columbia Journalism School, where I studied as an Anne O’Hare McCormick Scholar.

If you’re interested in very occasional updates, 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. 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 sonipaul@protonmail.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. 🙂



Leave a Reply

  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:

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


    • 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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