About

Dec 25 2009

I’m cofounder of a lit­er­ary stu­dio called Plymp­ton, which focuses on pub­lish­ing seri­al­ized fic­tion for dig­i­tal read­ing. In addi­tion I’m work­ing on a book for Simon & Schuster.

Occa­sion­ally, you might hear my com­men­taries on NPR via Marketplace.

I am a found­ing trustee of Awe­some Food, part of the Awe­some Foun­da­tion, which gives micro­grants to fur­ther awe­some­ness in the universe.

A week­end project with Eric Price and Greg Price has become NewsDiffs.org, a site which tracks changes in online arti­cles after they have been pub­lished. It was the sub­ject of a col­umn by The New York Times pub­lic editor.

Over the last few years, I’ve focused my atten­tion on the evolv­ing infra­struc­ture of jour­nal­ism. I’ve played a lead role in the Knight News Chal­lenge, a $25 mil­lion ini­tia­tive to sup­port news inno­va­tion, and was a pro­ducer in News Foo camp, a col­lab­o­ra­tion between O’Reilly Media, Google and Knight Foun­da­tion. I’ve also done my part to bring jour­nal­ism con­tent to the SXSW Inter­ac­tive and to throw the Awe­somest Jour­nal­ism Party. Ever. I’m also one of the lead orga­niz­ers of Hacks/Hackers, a rapidly expand­ing group that brings tech­nol­o­gists and jour­nal­ists together. It has more than ten thou­sand mem­bers across the globe. I also helped launch Spark­camp. I’m a Good Per­son to Know at a startup called Upwor­thy, which focuses on spread­ing viral stuff that matters.

Cur­rently, I am on the boards of The Asian Amer­i­can Writ­ers’ Work­shop, the Cen­ter for Pub­lic Integrity, the Nie­man Foun­da­tion, and the Robert F. Kennedy Courage in Jour­nal­ism awards. And I’m a mem­ber of the New York Pub­lic Library’s Young Lions Com­mit­tee. Plus I am a board mem­ber of the Insti­tute on Higher Awe­some Stud­ies, which sup­ports the Awe­some Foun­da­tion.

In the past: I was a reporter at The New York Times for nine years, where I cov­ered tech­nol­ogy, Wash­ing­ton, crime, poverty and cul­ture. I spent the last two of those years report­ing and exper­i­ment­ing on City Room, the Times’ New York City metro blog.

I wrote a book called The For­tune Cookie Chron­i­cles, on how Chi­nese food is all-American and hit #26 on the New York Times best seller list. As a result, I am on TED.com speak­ing on Gen­eral Tso’s chicken. I also sur­vived an inter­view by Stephen Col­bert, made dumplings on Martha Stew­art and on Today Show dur­ing the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics.

Related to that, I am a pro­ducer on the doc­u­men­tary, The Search for Gen­eral Tso (which might be renamed), with Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis of Wicked Del­i­cate films. We have received a devel­op­ment grant from the National Endow­ment of the Human­i­ties (yay!)

I’ve had a short film screen at the 2012 Slam­dance Film Fes­ti­val (okay it’s only a minute long, but still it was men­tioned in The Wall Street Jour­nal!)

For fun, we tried to launch Street Pac­man, a geo-enabled ver­sion of the 80s video game with real peo­ple.

NPR called me a “con­cep­tual scoop artist,” in part because of a pop­u­lar story I did on the “man date.” I was user 1324 on Face­book and have my own ver­sion of the Red­dit alien (also known as “snoo”). I was listed in the Esquire “Women We Love” issue in 2003.

I received my degree in applied math and eco­nom­ics at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity (where I was vice pres­i­dent of The Har­vard Crim­son). Then I went to Bei­jing Uni­ver­sity for a year on fel­low­ship and stud­ied inter­na­tional relations.

As a result of those col­lege com­puter sci­ence classes, I like to tin­ker with python, which is an ele­gant lan­guage. But I have long dis­cov­ered I am not a debugger.

I own a worldy well-traveled pur­ple hippo named Hubba Bubba.

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