editor & writer

I’m a senior editor at Mother Jones, where I edit everything from cover features to
front-of-the book stories, write and report, interview interesting people, wrangle data
and make charts, put together packages and special projects, and come up with
memorable headlines and terrible puns (the two are related).
                                                                 I’ve won some awards. I tweet. And check email.

Selected writing

The Buried Gun
A murder, an illegal confession, and the secret past of the NRA’s top lawyer

Squirrels Gone Wild
The time California drafted kids to fight a war on squirrels

Stuck in the Middle
How the recession made income inequality worse

Jumping the Shank
A visit to the Mock Prison Riot

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
Animal cannibalism in the beloved books of Richard Scarry

Kooks Illustrated
A diagram of almost every Obama conspiracy theory ever

Last Splash
What really happens when you’re buried at sea

War Bucks
How the humungous Pentagon budget adds up (including toilet paper)

Dear Thought Leader
Quiz: North Korean propaganda or TED talk?

Doughnut Sal
The strange, sad tale of an old San Franciscan who lived on doughnuts and coffee

California Stormtroopers
There are historical reeenactors for everything—even World War II Nazis.

Captive Audience
Parenting tips from prison guards

Head Cases
The CIA’s psychological profiles of world leaders, from Hitler to Castro

Doc Savage
How a beatnik herbal healer became a toxic right-wing radio host

The F Word
A timeline of the San Francisco vs. “Frisco” feud

The African Dip
The mystery behind a racist façade at San Francisco’s 1915 expo

Shooting From the Hip
The vet/ex-cop/worm farmer/videographer fighting California’s gun laws

Trash Talk
The pistol-packing women of the Berkeley Garbage War

Thicker Than Water
A family connection to an iconic photo of the California drought

Before the Quake
Saloons, alleys, oyster loaf, and “gilded sin” in old San Francisco

For Informational Purposes Only
The final chapter of a publisher of “extreme self-help” books

The link between sushi and gay marriage

Jet Fighters
Bay Area residents weigh in on the 3rd semiannual unscientific Blue Angels survey


©2016 Dave Gilson

Image credits Family: Matthias Mackler/Mother Jones; pigs: Richard Scarry; Pentagon: Guyco/Mother Jones;
jail kid: Sarah Page; Blue Angels: Nick Seibert