Bio But enough about me.

• • • •
Take me back:
to the archive!
to the bio!
to the e-mail!
to the book info!
to buy the book (via Amazon/US)!
to buy the book in other countries (via Book Depository)!
to Goodreads!
to upcoming live events!
to Twitter!

Q: Hey Kara, what’s up with this “nerd for hire” thing?

A: I’m a journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I particularly like to write about science, or anything else that’s complicated and nuanced and sort of geeky or futuristic.

Q: What's new?

A: I wrote a book! It's about hacking sensory perception, and it was released on December 8, 2015 by Basic Books/Hachette. The title is We Have the Technology, and you can find it in bookstores everywhere, as well as at online retailers like:

Powell’s Books:
Barnes & Noble:
Kepler's Books:
Shopping from outside the US? Try Book Depository (based in the UK; free shipping worldwide)

Every now and then, I do a talk about my book or interview someone else about theirs; you can find a list of upcoming appearances here. Want me to visit your book store, school, library, company, lab, hackerspace or whatever? Get in touch!

Q: What if I can't make it to these events but I want to say howdy or keep up on the news?

A: Please do! Find me on Twitter @KaraPlatoni. I'll be Tweeting from the road, the lab and wherever else this mad thing takes me. The rest of the time, I am glued to my sofa, typing and covered in Dorito crumbs. But I love to share updates and links to great stories I'm reading, so please join me.

Q: Did you go to school for this journalism thing, or did you just unleash yourself on the public?

A: I graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 1999.

Q: Then what?

A: Now I teach there. I teach classes focused on narrative writing and reporting, on multi-platform story structure, and on hyperlocal East Bay coverage and innovative digital storytelling.

Between hitches at the J-Schoool, I was a staff writer for many years at the East Bay Express, an alt-weekly newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, for eight years. I covered just about everything — science and technology, medicine, crime, politics, in-depth profiles of interesting people. I like to tell people I worked the "Nancy Drew beat" — I'd pursue anything that involved a good mystery, an action adventure, and some fantastic characters. I later spent two years as the senior editor for the environmental magazine Terrain, a project of Berkeley's Ecology Center.

A few years ago, I launched a nerdly science podcast with my most excellent compatriots, Eric Simons and Casey Miner. It's called The Field Trip Podcast and it's about science in the real world, outside of the lab.We're on hiatus for other projects now, but you can still listen to the most recent episodes for free on SoundCloud. For friendly publications that would like to broadcast or share it, you can also find it on the Public Radio Exchange.

You can find Eric's awesome book about your brain on sports here: (The Secret Lives of Sports Fans.) And you can listen to Casey's new solo podcast, The Specialist, for free on SoundCloud.

Q: How can people hire you for freelance gigs? Or contact you about interviews or reviews related to your book?

A: Just e-mail me at: karaplatoni [at] gmail [dot] com.

Q: Who did that drawing of your head?

A: The fantastic Mike Smith.

Q: What do you do with yourself when you’re not writing?

A: I was a founding board member for the Office of Letters and Light, the Oakland-based arts and literacy non-profit that runs National Novel Writing Month. Every year a couple hundred thousand people from around the world attempt to write 50,000-word novels in the month of November, and thousands more attempt to write 100-page scripts in April.

Did you write one, too?

A: Yep! I wrote 10 mostly awful novels and 4 totally terrible screenplays during NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy.

What else do you do?

I play the drums. More or less.


Q: Um, one more thing …

A: Have I ever won any awards? Surprisingly, yes! Here are a few from my time in the alt-weekly world:

• AAAS Science Journalism Award, 2008, (from the American Association for the Advancement of Science).

• Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, Best Feature, 2007 for “
Dealing in Death,” an investigation of one of the most prolific sellers of crime guns in the nation.

• CASE Awards Silver Medal, “Best Articles of the Year,” 2007 for “Love at First Byte,” a profile of computer science pioneer Donald Knuth.

• Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Award, First Place, Fashion & Design, 2006 for “What A Steal,” a sneak peak into the world of counterfeit “purse parties.”

• Association for Women in Communications Clarion Awards, First Place, Newspaper Feature Story, 2005 for “The $10 Million Woman,” the strange travels of a Picasso after it was looted by the Nazis during World War II.

• Association for Women in Communications Clarion Awards, First Place, Newspaper Feature Story, 2004 for “The Making of a Martyr,” about the life and death of Holly Patterson, the first American woman to die after taking RU-486 (medical abortion), and the political uproar surrounding her death.

• Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists, 2004 for “The Making of A Martyr,” “I, Robot” and “It’s a Boy, We Made Sure of It,” articles on medical abortion, robotic exoskeletons, and gender selection for babies.

• Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, Finalist, Arts and Entertainment, 2003 for “It Was A Dark and Stormy Month…” an up-close look at the year that National Novel Writing Month broke.

• California Teachers Association, John Swett Award for Media Excellence, 2002 for “The Queen Must Go,” an investigation of a controversial school district superintendent.

• Western States Magazine Association, Finalist, Best Interview or Profile, 2002 for “2C-T-7’s Bad Trip,” a profile of pyschedelic chemist Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin.

• Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, Outstanding Young Journalist, 2002

• • • •
All content copyright Kara Platoni. Please contact for permission before reproducing.