About me

I’m an editor, writer, data journalist, and San Franciscan living in self-imposed exile in the East Bay. Currently, Cover of Mother Jones magazine I edit Stanford Business magazine and oversee coverage of research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Previously, I was the deputy editor (magazine) of Mother Jones, where I held several editorial roles over more than a decade.

Some greatest hits: I edited Shane Bauer’s National Magazine Award-winning account of working in a private prison and was part of the team nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy for the accompanying multimedia package. In 2014, I wrote an investigation into a forgotten murder case involving the National Rifle Association’s top lawyer. In 2003, I wrote the first in-depth profile of shock jock Michael Savage; I later uncovered emails documenting his Cover of Mother Jones magazinebrief, chaotic stint on the board of San Francisco’s Presidio.

Several stories I’ve written, edited, or worked on have received awards and other recognition. Slate once said I wrote the “year’s best headline.”

My writing and reporting have been published by the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Atlas Obscura, Salon, Frontline/World, California, the East Bay Express, Meatpaper, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. My radio stories have aired on KQED’s The California Report, Marketplace, Bite, and the proto-podcast B-Side. Once, Photo of fake prison riot on cover of National Enquirer a photograph I took ended up on the cover of the National Enquirer. (How it got there is a glimpse at how actual fake news is made.)

I also enjoy writing about historical topics, such as California’s children’s crusade against squirrels, Jefferson Davis’ desk, Berkeley’s “garbage war” of 1908, and the CIA’s psychological profiles of dictators.

I attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where I taught a section of J200: Reporting the News in fall 2017.

In my free time, I hike, read artsy comics, bake a mean challah, stalk dead relatives, and amuse myself by making things like the quasi-annual Blue Angels survey, the bubble chart calculator, and the West Marin sheriff’s calls bot.

If you made it this far, feel free to drop me a line at dave at davegilson dot com