Pacific Standard

Pacific Standard publishes stories that matter, stories that, by virtue of their ideas and craft, are capable of creating a better and more just society. With a methodology that mixes rigorous reporting and narrative journalism with peer-reviewed research, we are fiercely committed to covering social and environmental justice.

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The Social Justice Foundation

The Social Justice Foundation (formerly The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy) is a non-profit organization that strives to not just inform, but also to promote meaningful public dialogue by reporting, in clear and concise language, the latest and most relevant scientific research in the areas of economic, educational, environmental, and social justice.

Inside the Pacific Standard office.

Inside the Pacific Standard office.

Pacific Standard Staff

Nicholas Jackson, Editor-in-Chief

Nicholas Jackson is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard, where he directs editorial strategy. He previously served as the digital editorial director at Outside. Before that, he was an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he launched the magazine's health coverage online and was part of a two-person team that developed TheAtlantic.com's technology channel and video strategy. He is also an officer of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies, a multi-disciplinary learned society whose essential purpose is the encouragement and improvement of scholarly research and education in literary journalism. Twice named one of Folio: magazine's 15 under 30, spotlighting young professionals driving media's next-generation innovation, Jackson has also worked for Slate, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Texas Monthly, and other publications, both online and in print. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

Jennifer Sahn, Executive Editor

Jennifer Sahn is the executive editor of Pacific Standard, where she directs longform feature acquisition and editing and oversees the magazine's editorial advisory board. She was previously at Orion magazine, where she served as editor for 12 years and as managing editor before that. Stories she has edited have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Prize, the John Burroughs Essay Award, and have been widely reprinted in the Best American Series anthologies, The Norton Reader, and via online aggregators such as Longreads. During her tenure as editor of Orion, the magazine was twice a winner of the Utne Independent Press Award for General Excellence and twice a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She has taught and lectured at such venues as the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, the Berkeley Narrative Journalism Conference, and the National Conference for Media Reform.

Ryan Jacobs, Deputy Editor

Ryan Jacobs is the deputy editor of Pacific Standard, where he oversees investigations and helps lead overall editorial strategy. Stories he has edited have won a Mirror Award and a Folio magazine Eddie award, helped launch major books, influenced network television, received mention in the Best American Essays anthology, and received coverage in major national publications. He previously served as a senior editor and as an associate editor at Pacific Standard, focusing on digital expansion and writing. Before joining the magazine, he covered international affairs and crime for The Atlantic's global channel, reporting on the largest diamond heist in French history, international carbon market scams, and the dark side of the truffle trade, among other subjects of intrigue. He has also written and worked for Mother Jones, Sierra, Bay Citizen, the Point Reyes Light, and the Chicago Reporter. His first narrative non-fiction book, The Truffle Underground, focuses on crime in the international truffle industry and was published by Clarkson Potter/Random House in June of 2019. He graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. 

Eric Zassenhaus, Product Manager

Eric Zassenhaus is the product manager at Pacific Standard, where he helps develop and implement data-driven strategies and best practices for putting our stories in front of the right audiences and in the most effective formats. Eric has worked as an editorial and product lead at a number of outlets, including an eight-year stint at NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles, where he served as senior digital editor. During that time, the station won the Associated Press' regional APTRA award for Best News Website and Best Use of Social Media for several years, as well as Editor and Publisher's Best Mobile Website and the Society of News Design's Award for Excellence. In the past, Eric has also worked in print publishing, as art director for Tikkun and culture editor for Clamor.

Ben Rowen, National Editor

Ben Rowen is the national editor at Pacific Standard, where he oversees the magazine's enterprise and national reporting efforts. He was previously an associate editor and directed the research and fact-checking department. Before joining Pacific Standard, he was an editorial fellow at The Atlantic, where he fact-checked and wrote for the magazine.

Ted Genoways, Editor-at-Large

Ted Genoways is the editor-at-large of Pacific Standard, where he acquires and edits longform features. He was the editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review for nine years, during which time the magazine won six National Magazine Awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, and two Utne Independent Press Awards. He is the author of five books, most recently The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food (Harper, 2014), a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Writing and Literature, and This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of a Family Farm (Norton, 2017). In addition to Pacific Standard, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Mother Jones, the New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and Outside.

Jonah Newman, Senior Editor

Jonah Newman is a senior editor at Pacific Standard, where he writes investigative features and oversees the magazine's data-driven reporting efforts. Previously, he covered criminal justice at the Chicago Reporter and was a data reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education. His work has been recognized with an award for innovation in investigative reporting from Investigative Reporters and Editors and an award in data journalism from the Education Writers' Association, and he has twice been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in the local reporting category. He lives in Chicago and has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Ted Scheinman, Senior Editor

Ted Scheinman is a senior editor at Pacific Standard, where he directs special projects and packages and oversees coverage of culture and criticism. He previously served as a teaching fellow and instructor in journalism at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Before that, he was an editor at The Washington City Paper. His reporting on prisons, politics, and pop culture has appeared in the New York Times, The Oxford American, Playboy, and Slate. He is also a contributing editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books. His first collection of non-fiction will appear via Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

J. Brian Charles, Senior Staff Reporter

J. Brian Charles is a senior reporter on Pacific Standard's investigations desk, where he focuses on deeply reported narratives. He has covered education, criminal justice, housing, and race. His work has appeared in Governing, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Baltimore City Paper, and the Denver Post.

Tom Jacobs, Senior Staff Writer

Tom Jacobs is the senior staff writer of Pacific Standard, where he specializes in social science, culture, and learning. He is a veteran journalist and former staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. Through interviews, reviews, and essays, he has tracked and analyzed trends in the arts and sciences, with an emphasis on psychology, the role of culture, and the cultivation of creativity. A native of Chicago, Jacobs earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.

Francie Diep, Staff Writer

Francie Diep is a staff writer at Pacific Standard, where she specializes in health and drug policy and the intersections of culture and science. Previously, she covered science, health, and science policy for Scientific American, Popular Science, and Smithsonian.

Emily Moon, Staff Writer

Emily Moon is a staff writer at Pacific Standard, where she specializes in food insecurity and public assistance programs. Previously she worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Herald-Times in Bloomington, Indiana. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Kate Wheeling, Staff Writer

Kate Wheeling is a staff writer at Pacific Standard, where she specializes in criminal justice and the environment. She was previously an associate editor and editorial fellow at Pacific Standard. Wheeling has a bachelor's degree in behavioral neuroscience and a master's in science journalism. She has also written for Outside, Science, and Discover.

Ian Hurley, Associate Editor

Ian Hurley is an associate editor at Pacific Standard, where he oversees the artistic and creative direction of editorial projects and multimedia extensions. Previously, he directed our engagement strategies and social media accounts. He is a graduate of St. John's University and has a master's degree from the University of Southern California.

Sophie Murguia, Associate Editor

Sophie Murguia is an associate editor on the investigations desk at Pacific Standard, where she oversees research and fact-checking. Previously, she was a senior editorial fellow at Mother Jones in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Amherst College and Columbia Journalism School.

Emily Savage, Associate Editor

Emily Savage is an associate editor at Pacific Standard where she assists with social media and audience engagement, including outreach and expanding conversations around our coverage. Emily has worked as a staff writer, social media strategist, and editor for publications including the San Francisco Bay Guardian and J. The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Her work has appeared in Bust Magazine, SF Weekly, Edible Ojai, and more. 

Rebecca Worby, Associate Editor

Rebecca Worby is an associate editor at Pacific Standard, where she oversees short-form editorial strategy. She was recently an editorial fellow at High Country News in Paonia, Colorado, and her writing has appeared in Salon, Orion, Extra Crispy, Guernica, Catapult, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in creative non-fiction from Columbia University in 2014.

Isabela Dias, Editorial Fellow

Isabela Dias is an editorial fellow at Pacific Standard. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, and Slate, among other publications. She's a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Claire Hyman, Engagement Fellow

Claire Hyman is an engagement fellow at Pacific Standard. She previously studied journalism at Marquette University and was an intern at the O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism. Her reporting has appeared in the Associated Press, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, and elsewhere.

Alexa Lee, Engagement Fellow

Alexa is a freelance writer and engagement fellow at Pacific Standard. Previously, she was a student at the University of California–Los Angeles, where she studied English and cognitive science.

Ava Macha, Visuals Fellow

Maxine Speier, Editorial Fellow

Maxine Speier is an editorial fellow at Pacific Standard, where she specializes in the environment and public lands. Previously she worked at Montana Public Radio. She has a bachelor's degree in creative writing and is completing her master's in environmental science journalism. Her work has appeared on Montana Public Radio, NPR, National Native News, Jezebel, and more.

Contributing Editors

Leah Angstman, Peter C. Baker, Ewa Beaujon, James M. Gaines, Maris Kreizman, Toby Lester

Contributing Writers

Hanif Abdurraqib, Kovie Biakolo, Kelley Czajka, Jack Denton, Arvind Dilawar, Massoud Hayoun, Jack Herrera, Christopher Jones, Sophie Kasakove, Jared Keller, Katie Kilkenny, Terese Marie Mailhot, Seth Masket, James McWilliams, David M. Perry, Angela Serratore, Khushbu Shah, Rebecca Stoner, Brandon Tensley, Jimmy Tobias, Rosemary Westwood, Sophie Yeo, Sharon Zhang

Editorial Advisory Committee

Robert Bullard

Robert Bullard is distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. He is often described as the father of environmental justice. Professor Bullard received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of 18 books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.

Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is an historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher, and a mainstream writer. An award-winning scholar and writer, Dreger's latest major book is Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice, which argues that the pursuit of evidence is the most important ethical imperative of our time. Dreger earned her Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University in 1995, where her work was supported by a Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

James Fallows

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard University, and received a graduate degree in economics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as the editor of U.S. News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for non-fiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation.

Reyhan Harmanci

Reyhan Harmanci is an editor at First Look Media, and previous editor-in-chief at Atlas Obscura. She has also worked for BuzzFeed, Fast Company, and Modern Farmer.

Alana Newhouse

Alana Newhouse is the founder and editor-in-chief of Tablet. She is a graduate of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, Barnard College, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Abe Peck

Abe Peck currently serves as professor emeritus in service and director of business to business communications at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Peck is a former associate and contributing editor at Rolling Stone, a former contributing editor at Satisfaction magazine and Outside, and a former reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News.

Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. He is also an affiliate professor in the university's biological sciences collegiate division and the department of public health sciences. Pollack has published widely at the interface between poverty policy and public health. His research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Public Health, Health Services Research, Pediatrics, and Social Service Review.

Thomas Tighe

Thomas Tighe has served as president and chief executive officer of Direct Relief, a non-profit humanitarian medical organization, since October of 2000. Direct Relief, established in Santa Barbara, California, in 1948 and funded entirely with private support, provides medical material assistance to locally run health programs around the world and in the United States. Since Tighe's arrival, the organization has provided cash grants of more than $40 million and furnished more than $4 billion essential medicines, equipment, and supplies to support health services for low-income people in 88 developing countries and in all 50 U.S. states, where the organization conducts the country's largest non-profit charitable medicines program.

Lisa Wade

Lisa Wade is an associate professor of sociology at Occidental College. Her newest book, American Hookup, is about the emergence and character of the culture of sex that dominates college campuses today. Before receiving her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Lisa earned a master's in human sexuality from New York University and a bachelor's in philosophy from the University of California–Santa Barbara. Wade has authored over a dozen academic research articles and a textbook on the sociology of gender.

Charles Whitaker

Charles Whitaker is an associate dean of journalism and a Helen Gurley Brown Professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Since joining the Medill faculty in 1993, he has taught courses in news writing, magazine writing, magazine editing, and blogging. In addition to teaching in Medill's graduate and undergraduate programs, Whitaker teaches in Northwestern's School of Professional Studies and the High School Journalism Institute.

Inside the Pacific Standard office.

Inside the Pacific Standard office.

The Social Justice Foundation Staff

Geane DeLima, Executive Director

Geane DeLima is the founding executive director of The Social Justice Foundation (formerly The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy), and former director of marketing at SAGE Publishing. She has more than 30 years of experience in publishing, marketing, advertising, and non-profit management. She has worked closely with the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, Sociologists for Women in Society, the Society for Public Health Education, the Association of Black Psychologists, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.

Rachel Knotts, Business Manager


Our Founder

Sara Miller McCune, Founding Publisher

Sara Miller McCune is the founder and executive chairman of the independent academic and professional publisher SAGE and president of the McCune Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Ventura, California, which aims to be an agent of productive change by supporting the growth of social capital in communities. Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit and an unwavering dedication to academia, the then-24-year-old Sara founded SAGE in 1965 in New York City. Her goal was to start a company that would allow scholars to disseminate quality research in their own voices and break new ground in emerging fields of study. She served as the company's president for 18 years prior to becoming SAGE's chairman in 1984. SAGE moved to California in mid-1966 and set up offices in London in 1971, in India in 1981, and Singapore in 2006, and acquired CQ Press, based in Washington, D.C., in 2008. Today, Ms. McCune also serves as a director of SAGE Publications Ltd and Corwin, a SAGE company and leading publisher for educational administrators and teachers. Ms. McCune remains actively involved in the company's ongoing expansion and development.

In 2007, Ms. McCune founded The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy (now The Social Justice Foundation) in Santa Barbara, California. In 2008, she launched Miller-McCune magazine both in print and online, which was named one of Library Journal's "10 Best Magazines" of 2008.


In 2012, the magazine, which brings the "science of society" to the public, was re-titled Pacific Standard. Since then, the magazine has twice won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors and was awarded the Sidney Hillman Award, honoring socially conscious journalism for its February 2014 article, "The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet"; the Media for Liberty Award, honoring articles that explore the relationship between economic and political liberty, for its article "The Deluge" from May/June 2013; five Maggie awards from the Western Publishing Association, including Best Feature Article and Best Politics & Social Issues magazine in 2013; the American Psychoanalytic Association Award for Excellence in Journalism for the May/June 2013 article "What Does It Take for Traumatized Kids to Thrive?"; and a Folio Ozzie Award for Best Use of Illustration for the May/June 2012 issue "The Keyboard and the Damage Done," to name a few of its many honors.

Reflecting her long-standing interest in philanthropy, especially in promoting world justice, Ms. McCune and SAGE were founding supporters of The Justice Project. She is also the co-founder and president of the McCune Foundation, founded in 1990. In memory of George D. McCune, Sara's husband, first business mentor, and eventual business partner until his death in 1990, the foundation sponsors a Graduate Dissertation Fellowship at the University of California–Santa Barbara's Department of Communication. In 2002, the McCune Foundation's board of directors agreed to award grants to grassroots organizations in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties that build "social capital" with an emphasis on educational and other opportunities for the poor and underserved. This program remains a priority of the foundation, which has supported groups such as the Oaxacan farmworker community in Ventura County. Ms. McCune's philanthropic efforts extend to the local medical community; in 2007, she arranged a donation of $2.5 million to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital through SAGE. She is also a past president of the Santa Barbara Foundation Roundtable.

Ms. McCune is a passionate supporter of the arts. She was on the board of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts from 1998 through 2009 and, for much of that period, served as chief financial officer, helping the center to restore and reopen its Granada Theatre. She served on the board of directors for the Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara until 2014.

In February of 2011, Ms. McCune and SAGE donated £1 million to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London to build an indoor Jacobean theatre, which opened in January of 2014. A patron and trustee of Shakespeare Globe Centre-USA Inc., Ms. McCune supported the Broadway production of the London-based Richard III (nominated for one 2014 Tony Award) and Twelfth Night (nominated for seven 2014 Tony Awards, and winner of two).

Ms. McCune is an active supporter of academic and university initiatives. She was a long-serving member of the board of directors at the American Academy of Political and Social Science until June of 2014, and, in January 2012, she joined the board of directors of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She has served as a trustee of the Fielding Graduate University headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, and was the university's interim president in 1999–2000; in 2002, Fielding recognized her as a Lifetime Fellow.

Ms. McCune was a member of the University of California–Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees for more than two decades. Currently, she co-chairs the Council for Arts & Lectures at the University of California, Santa Barbara which has a five-year campaign goal to raise $20 million, half going to current programming and half to its first endowment fund.

Ms. McCune served for two decades as a member of the Howard Samuels State Management and Policy Center (focused on state and local government) at the CUNY Graduate Center. She recently co-chaired the effort to endow a professorship at CUNY GC to honor her mentor and lifelong friend, Marilyn Jacobs Gittell.

In June of 2005, Ms. McCune received from The Board of Directors of the Alumni Association from the University of California–Santa Barbara, a Life Membership, their highest award. In May 2012, she received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Queens College. This honor recognized Sara's distinguished service to education, her many decades of publishing and philanthropic achievements, as well as her entrepreneurial skills.

In the summer of 2014, Ms. McCune was also awarded an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University and an honorary doctor of letters from Bath University, both acknowledging her esteemed work and contribution to the field of social sciences and the global publishing industry, as well as her philanthropy.

Over the years, Ms. McCune has received a number of additional awards for her business, academic, and philanthropic achievements. In 1988, she received the American Evaluation Association's Special Award for Distinguished Contributions to the field of evaluation in recognition of the influential role SAGE played in institutionalizing evaluation. In 1993, the Knowledge Utilization Society awarded her its Outstanding International Service Award.

In 1998, Ms. McCune was recognized as the 1998 Philanthropist of the Year for Santa Barbara County by the National Society of Fundraising Executives (currently the Association of Fundraising Professionals). In 2002, Ms. McCune received the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League and Santa Barbara B'nai B'rith Lodge. In 2003, she received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Arts and Entertainment for the Greater Los Angeles area from Ernst & Young as well as the Ernst & Young Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award for "extraordinary leadership."

In 2004, Ms. McCune was honored with the Hope Award by the Channel Islands Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2006, Ms. McCune received the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Barbara News-Press based on the recommendation of previous winners of the award. In 2009, she was honored as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, and Opera Santa Barbara. In 2012, Ms. McCune received the HOPE Foundation's Courageous Leadership Award in recognition for her contributions to education, philanthropy, and business. In May of 2013, Ms. McCune was inducted into the Pacific Coast Business Times Hall of Fame and was the first woman to receive this honor.

Ms. McCune is the stepmother of four, the grandmother of four, and the great-grandmother of seven. Ms. McCune resides in Montecito, California.