Meet SEJ member David Taylor! As a writer who crafts character-driven narratives that explore history, science and culture, David loves collaborating with other creative partners in storytelling. His methods often combine oral history, original research and reporting. The mediums range from books, articles and short fiction to film, podcasts and events. David's writing about people, food, health and science has appeared in Smithsonian, The Washington Post, Discover, Washingtonian, Mother Jones, Science, Undark and Oxford American.
His book "Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in WWII" weaves a true story with three real-life families, gathered from in-depth interviews, personal collections and declassified government records. For Discover Magazine, David reframed a strand from the book involving environmental security during World War II and a nationwide tree-planting campaign designed in response to scarcity of a crucial natural resource – cork from the cork oak. The context of environmental and national security, public engagement and policy corresponded with the challenges facing us around climate change today. The article reached millions of readers and provided a fresh entry point for considering an issue that has been polarizing, this time as a security issue.
Another collaboration close to David's heart is a book and documentary titled "Soul of a People: The WPA Writers' Project Uncovers Depression America," about the vast cultural experiment of the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s, and the people who emerged from it. David is currently working with a team on a podcast based on "Soul of a People" called The People's Recorder, which revisits the archival material and interviews to connect audiences with the 1930s-era tumult and life lessons that still illuminate today.
When asked if he recommends SEJ membership to his colleagues, David said, "Yes. I’ve met valued contacts through SEJ, and our shared interest in environmental journalism has followed us through many different career turns. In the short term, SEJ gives you access to resources and tools for being a better reporter, but for me the real value is long term — in the relationships with like-minded people." Join David in the SEJ community today!
Check out some of David's work:
- "West African Scientists Are Leading the Science Behind a Malaria Vaccine," Smithsonian Magazine, July 13, 2021.
- "We're Facing an Uncertain Plastic Future," Discover Magazine, May 1, 2021.
- "Climate Change Lessons From an Unlikely Source," Discover Magazine, Apr 18, 2020.
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