Here are some of my favorite news stories, features, and investigative pieces. All my BuzzFeed News articles can be found here.
Emails Show How An Ivy League Prof Tried To Do Damage Control For His Bogus Food Science (BuzzFeed, 2017)
Brian Wansink of Cornell University publishes headline-friendly studies about food psychology and oversees a $22 million federally funded program that uses his research to promote “smarter lunchrooms” in nearly 30,000 schools. Emails obtained by BuzzFeed News show how he scrambled to spin allegations that dozens of his studies are all just bologna.
Here’s How A Controversial Study About Kids And Cookies Turned Out To Be Wrong — And Wrong Again (BuzzFeed, 2017)
Cornell University professor Brian Wansink claimed that he’d found a way to get kids aged 8 to 11 to choose fruit over junk food. But the research was actually done on toddlers.
This Controversial Ivy League Scientist Left His Kickstarter Donors High And Dry (BuzzFeed, 2018)
Cornell University food scientist Brian Wansink, who’s embroiled in research misconduct allegations, now has another problem: Kickstarter donors who say they never got what they were promised. Wansink apologized to them after an inquiry from BuzzFeed News.
Sliced and Diced: The Inside Story Of How An Ivy League Food Scientist Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies (BuzzFeed, 2018)
Brian Wansink won fame, funding, and influence for his science-backed advice on healthy eating. Now, emails show how the Cornell professor and his colleagues have hacked and massaged low-quality data into headline-friendly studies to “go virally big time.”
These People Are Making Money Off A Bogus Cancer Cure That Doctors Say Could Poison You (BuzzFeed, 2017)
Apricot seeds can cure cancer — or so thousands of cancer patients believed in the 1970s, despite lots of evidence to the contrary. Now, in an era when natural remedies are no longer fringe and wellness is a multitrillion-dollar industry, this widely debunked theory has taken on a new life as a hydra-headed e-commerce ecosystem that regulators are virtually powerless to stop.
Here’s How Much Money B-List Celebs Made Sponsoring This Bogus Food Intolerance Test On Instagram (BuzzFeed, 2017)
How do you persuade B-list celebrities to plug your scientifically bogus food intolerance test on Instagram? Former employees at Pinnertest say it involves buying social media followers and paying stars thousands of dollars. (A follow-up to this story.)
This Biotech CEO Doesn’t Have A PhD, But He Did Leave School Under A Cloud (BuzzFeed, 2017)
Gabriel Otte has been identified on many websites, including his own company’s, as having a PhD. But he does not. The CEO of Freenome, which is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, left a PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, where a professor raised questions about some of his research, BuzzFeed News has learned. (Here's a follow-up story about the challenges of making blood tests to detect cancer early.)
Inside The Anti-Science Forces Of The Internet (BuzzFeed, 2017)
Welcome to the corner of the internet that’s hell-bent on convincing you that GMOs are poisonous, vaccines cause autism, and climate change is a government-sponsored hoax. The message is traveling far and wide.
Out Of Hand (BuzzFeed, 2016)
Being a perpetually plugged-in, emailing, texting, sexting, swiping, Snapchatting, selfie-taking human being may come at a physical price.
Game On: Can This Man Beat FanDuel And DraftKings At Their Own Game? (BuzzFeed, 2016)
Las Vegas legend Vic Salerno wants to reinvent daily fantasy sports by playing by the rules. But in a fast-changing, hard-charging, Wild West of an industry, will that be enough?
The Inside Story Of How A Food Startup Cracked (BuzzFeed, 2015)
For all of Good Eggs’ noble intentions, big money, and tech bells and whistles, reinventing the grocery store turned out to be much harder than anticipated. What does its stumble mean for the future of ordering food online?
Alt-Natural: Say Hello To The Apple That Never Browns (BuzzFeed, 2015)
On his tiny family farm, Neal Carter invented an apple he thinks can help improve global health, minimize food waste, and change the agricultural landscape forever. But will anyone actually eat it?
DNA Biohackers Are Giving The FDA A Headache With Glow-In-The-Dark Booze (BuzzFeed, 2016)
A biohacker thought he could sell something cool without consequences. The FDA thought otherwise.
A Silicon Valley Party Tries To Put Guests To Sleep (BuzzFeed, 2016)
Can the tech industry code the cure to our insomnia?
23andMe Has Abandoned The Genetic Testing Tech Its Competition Is Banking On (BuzzFeed, 2016)
Genetics startup 23andMe has let go of a team of scientists and a top executive as it has stopped pursuing one of the biggest technological advancements in DNA testing, BuzzFeed News has learned.
This Woman Says Her 2-Year-Old Died Because Of A False DNA Test (BuzzFeed, 2016)
Amy Williams believes her son didn’t have to die from a rare genetic condition. Now she’s suing one of the world’s largest laboratories.
People Are Going To Prison Thanks To DNA Software — But How It Works Is Secret (BuzzFeed, 2016)
A new breed of software claims it can find DNA matches for forensic cases with unprecedented accuracy. But if it’s sending people to prison, should its secret source code be revealed to the accused?
Outsourcing A Life (San Francisco Chronicle, 2013)
Sunday special report: A Bay Area couple hired an Indian surrogate and traveled across the world to meet her and their child. Would they finally start the family they dreamed of? Winner of Feature Storytelling award from the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California), finalist for Journalism award in the PEN Center USA Literary Awards, first-place winner for Best Special Section from the California Newspaper Publishers Association.