Recent Freelance Reporting
RedTail AI and Tech Ethics Reporting
RedTail is my home base for the new beats I am building around watching the dynamics at play as corporations, governments, academia and advocates influence the AI Ethics movement.
Portland’s e-scooter pilot could set public-private data sharing precedents for mobility partnerships
I’ve begun reporting on use of emerging tech by city governments, particularly in Portland, OR, where I live. Turns out there are a lot of issues related to data ethics, privacy and equity associated with escooters.
Why Old School Government Procurement Needs a Rewrite for New AI Tech
In addition to my RedTail reporting, I write regularly for the International Association of Privacy Professionals website, focusing on regulatory and privacy issues, often as they relate to AI.
Digital Advertising Takes a Hit, for MIT Technology Review
Tech Review commissioned me to write this piece about how advertisers were questioning the efficacy and value of targeted digital advertising.
Commentary and Analysis
Degrassi, Fake News and Why We Need Media Literacy More than Ever
Yep, just like the kids of Degrassi, what we need are tools for engaging intelligently with media, deciphering its origins and processing it.
John McCain’s digital transparency bill probably would’ve gotten his 2008 campaign in trouble
McCain’s 2008 campaign went out of its way to disclose as little as possible about its web ads.
Portland’s Tony Robbins Event Uncovered an Infinity Loop of Self-Help Shlock
“In today’s world nobody pays attention to you unless you make a big promise.”
The Credentialed: A Podcast Amplifying Diverse Voices in Tech
While working as content strategy partner at consultancy SalientMG, I developed and launched The Credentialed podcast, an interview series featuring women and underrepresented minorities in tech and innovation. I booked guests, scripted and hosted this show recorded and edited by Will Romey at XRAY.fm in Portland.
Highlights from Advertising Age
I worked covering the data industry for Ad Age from 2012-2017
BuzzFeed Quizzes: What Data Set Do You Belong To?
Despite all the in-depth reporting I’m truly proud of, the time I got to go on Weekend Edition to talk to Scott Simon about Buzzfeed quizzes was a true pinnacle of my career.
The $24 Billion Data Business that Telcos Don’t Want to Talk About
To this day, there has been very little investigation of the role telcos play in distributing mobile phone user data throughout the data ecosystem. This story exposed this opaque, emerging business telcos had been operating, and introduced several startups working between telcos and data purchasers.
A Data Lab Rat in the Big City: Why Trackers Couldn’t Trap This City Dweller
This was a story I still can’t believe I made happen. Years before the New York Times investigated how the mobile location data sector operates, I was writing regularly about it for Ad Age. To pull off this investigative project, I spent months attempting to collaborate with companies in the space. I wanted them to give me my data, to show me how they were tracking me, and how they were able to match an array of personally-identifiable information about me using “data keys,” pieces of data tied to an anonymized string of location data used to discover my home address, and more. Ad Age hired a wonderful artist for custom illustration for this story, too.
Why Did This Reporter Let Companies Track All Her Data?
I appeared on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show to discuss my Data Lab Rat story, a true honor as a longtime WNYC listener.
Location Tracking and the Trouble with Opting In
The uses of consumers’ movements have already gone beyond our expectations. But not even the practitioners of the craft always know exactly where their data originates, or how. Marketers, ad exchanges, data aggregators and ad service providers are generally aware that some location data comes directly or indirectly from mobile apps, but an attempt to trace the connections back to specific apps exposes an increasing lack of control coupled with willful ignorance.
Why Obama’s Data Could Be Too Much for Many Dem Candidates
I have spent years building relationships with political campaign sources on both sides of the aisle. This story delved into the reality of the prized “Obama data” that was all the rage after his final presidential campaign.
How the Trump Camp’s Data Inexperience Helped Propel His Win
This headline may be deceiving, but the point here was that because the Trump campaign had such a late start to the data game, the RNC and several data firms stepped in to pick up the slack. While much of the Trump campaign data focus, rightfully so, has been on Cambridge Analytica, several other data operations worked behind the scenes to support his campaign. This story involved difficult investigative reporting only possible through my years of building trust with political data sources and Republican operatives.
Several more of my Ad Age articles can be found here.
Cambridge Analytica? Yep
I covered Cambridge Analytica’s role in the U.S. 2016 presidential race throughout the election cycle, long before the Facebook scandal broke. All of those stories can be found in this compendium.
Campaign ’08: A Turning Point for Digital Media
Coupling my extensive research with information gleaned from campaign insiders, this 2009 book told the story of the most advanced political digital marketing campaigns in history. Copies still sell and are available for purchase on Amazon.
The Political Ad Practice Insiders Want to Keep Secret
I was among the first reporters to cover the use of data and digital media by political campaigns since as far back as 2002. In 2009, I exposed how voter information was collected by the Republican and Democratic Parties and merged with databases run by AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft to create targeted digital advertising campaigns.
Exclusive NY Event Helped Digital Advertisers Meet Mitch McConnell
This is another example of my data-reporter approach to enterprise stories. Publicly-available information is a treasure trove.
Original Audio Programs
Are You Ready for Equitable Mobility, Portland?
The first of several planned radio segments about Portland’s implementation of emerging mobility and infrastructure tech
Does Tech Care about Portland Culture?
When I moved to Portland in 2014, I soon realized that the musicians, artists and other culture creators who had helped establish Portland as the unique destination it is today were being priced out of living here. And, speaking to friends in that community, it became clear that some believed tech industry employees earning much higher wages than others here were seen as culprits, driving up the cost of rentals, homes, and other expenses. What did tech think about it? This was my attempt to find out. I reported, scripted, narrated, produced and edited this piece – the first time I tried my hand at audio editing software.
I wrote and narrated this oral history of Dead Moon, with interviews of friends, family and fans, for XRAY.fm. Will Romey at XRAY did the editing. This was produced right after Fred Cole, a world-renowned cult legend, passed away in November 2017. You’ll find the transcript for this radio program in story form here.
I also wrote the zine-inspired program for Portland City Hall’s Dead Moon Night event in 2017 and co-wrote the official proclamation commemorating each October 17 as Dead Moon Night in Portland. You’ll find those here also.
The Punk Rock Kitchen Presents Cookie Chaos!
In 2004, I published a true labor of love (and kookiness). The Punk Rock Kitchen Presents Cookie Chaos! was my punk rock-themed cookie cook-booklet written under pseudonym Connie Sewer. This mini cookbook featured six original cookie recipes, each with a punk rock theme and suggested listening tune. It came with a copper electric guitar cookie cutter. Amazingly, people liked this ridiculous idea and over 800 were sold across the globe (with much thanks to Bitch Magazine).