Bio But enough about me.

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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.
I am currently the science editor for WIRED.

Q: Can I read anything of yours online?

A: Sure! A few favorites are on the archive page.

Q: Can I read anything of yours that's really long?

A: I wrote a book! It's about hacking sensory perception, and it's called We Have the Technology. 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)

Q: Can I read something of yours that's really short?

A: I'm on Twitter @KaraPlatoni.

Q: How can I reach you at WIRED with pitches or press releases?

A: Email Kara_Platoni [at] wired [dot] com.

Q: How can people hire you for freelance gigs? Or contact you about interviews related to your book? Or ask you to visit a bookstore, school, library, hackerspace or whatever?

A: Email me at: karaplatoni [at] gmail [dot] com.

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: 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.

I spent another 10 years at UC Berkeley's journalism school focused on narrative writing and reporting, on multi-platform story structure, and on East Bay coverage and innovative digital storytelling. I ran our two student-powered local news sites, Oakland North and Richmond Confidential and produced our podcast, Tales of Two Cities, which covers news from Oakland and Richmond.

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

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