General-interest journalism. After J-School, in 1990, I was a dedicated beat reporter (albeit with a bent for ethnic culture). I worked as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, and the Gilroy Dispatch. I intended to move on to investigations and psychological profiles.
I soon switched to magazines, including Wired, Health, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Afar, and Honolulu. Today I write mostly profiles, especially for the Journal of Alta California, the Princeton Alumni Weekly, and Hana Hou. I walk a kind of journalistic high wire, balancing between hard news, cultural reporting, and creative nonfiction.
In 2006, I followed the fascinating case of Doe v. Kamehameha Schools, which went all the way to the Supreme Court. I wrote a small piece during the runup for Honolulu magazine, but my imagined definitive article was scotched when the parties settled.
“Lifeform,” which appeared in in Wired magazine 1996, is a Q & A—a form that demands much creativity on the part of the editor. It’s about dancer and computer programmer Thecla Schiphorst.
“How Do You Say Computer in Hawaiian?” appeared in Wired magazine in 1995. It looks at the challenges facing some school teachers as they integrated digital learning in the classroom.
Then there are the hundreds of stories I wrote for newspapers, ranging from Eldridge Cleaver’s final act as a recycler to finding skeletons next to a freeway in Gilroy to the never-ending controversy over Berkeley’s People’s Park.
Articles on Hawaiian culture. Much of my journalism has been focused on the music, dance, history, and language of the islands I call home. Some of this is travel literature, some straightforward reporting. (In the 1990s, I focused on tragedy of Queen Lili‘uokalani and the politics of the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement.) Some of this work also involves portraying people.
Shakespeare in Hawai‘i? You bet. Though even the wordmaster Mercutio would have trouble spitting out his Hawaiian name, Hoonaueueiehe. “Hawai‘i & The Bard” ran in Hana Hou! in 2018.
In “Hawaiian Language: Dead or Alive?” which ran in Honolulu magazine (November 2013) I report the dramatic rise in the number of people who speak the ancient Polynesian tongue, whether in school classrooms or McDonald's.