Renowned linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky predicted the rise of a figure like Donald Trump six years ago.

Journalists and pollsters, on the other hand, famously dismissed the possibility until it became a reality two weeks ago. Given the president-elect’s proclivity to dismiss climate change as a hoax, suggest that vaccines are linked to autism, and otherwise hold — or appear to hold — unscientific views on a variety of issues, science journalists are asking themselves where they might have gone wrong. Are there ways they might have done a better job covering the candidates, analyzing the issues, and understanding the overt and covert appeal to the views and policies both Trump and Hillary Clinton were espousing?

This joint project was originally published with Iván Carrillo and Meera Subramanian with Undark Magazine.


While California's lead poisoning cases have declined, especially over the last two decades, children’s advocates say the most vulnerable children are still at risk. One father worked with Alameda County to get his poisoned son help before it was too late.

This project was originally published with KQED Public Radio.


Sheryl Glatt was 50 years old, 97 pounds, and a second-generation kidney disease patient, who like her father contracted the illness in her prime. They both suffered an inevitable health decline after extended stints on Medicare-financed dialysis. This is a video I made in 2011. Sheryl ended up dying of complications from an operation just before Christmas the year I met her. I wrote this piece after she died: To Know Sheryl Glatt and Kidney Disease.

This project was originally published with the Ventura County Star.


Joyce Plis is the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Stanislaus County. She works to educate the public on how people with mental illness can lead successful lives if given appropriate treatment. She also helps people gain access to treatment. Plis' son has schizophrenia. 

This project was originally published with the Modesto Bee.


Nurse practitioner Matt Freitas runs Aspen Family Medical Group in Modesto, California. The number of patients seeking treatment for mental illness has tripled over the past three years, he says. His own daughter, Tama Freitas, has schizophrenia. 

This project was originally published with the Modesto Bee.


Bibiana Viernes is 85-years-old and legally blind. She attends the Silver Lake Adult Day Health Care Center five days a week. A proposed state elimination of the Medi-Cal Adult Day Health Care benefit could endanger some of California's frailest individuals, people who suffer from multiple disabilities including dementia, incontinence, paralysis and traumatic brain injury.

This project was originally published with New America Media.