Hi, I’m Charley, a writer, editor, and story producer. I write features and collaborate with other creative thinkers: illustrators, animators, photographers, composers, poets, comedians, editors, and those who are sharing their stories for the first time.

These days, I often write about and for kids and elders in publications like The New York TimesNew York MagazineThe Atlantic, and The Washington Post. I’m a happy generalist: I regularly write for The New York Times Kids section; contribute to Wildsam guidebooks about California; and reported the award-winning 70 Over 70 podcast from Pineapple Street Studios. Before going freelance, I worked on-staff as a producer at Pop-Up Magazine, an editor at Texas Monthly, a writer at WIRED, and a fact-checker at McSweeney’s.

Here are some features I’ve written recently.

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“Do Not Touch Their Hair” (The New York Times for Kids)

I’m a regular contributor to NYT Kids, which is published in print every month. I cover subjects like parents losing their jobs, how to befriend a crow, and how crushes work.

I wrote this story about Black kids across the country who were sent home from school because of how they wear their hair. They’re each advocating for legislation like the CROWN Act to make sure all kids can proudly wear their hair how they want to.

magazine article against a teal background

“The Run for the Money” (The New York Times Magazine)

The pandemic created the worst educational crisis in decades. In response, the U.S. federal government poured money into education like never before.

For NYT Magazine, I wrote about how that unprecedented funding can transform public education—if we get this right—and the cultural and bureaucratic forces that stand in the way.

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“It Makes You Feel a Little Less Alone” (The Washington Post Magazine)

I wrote about how hundreds of kids across the U.S. have survived school shootings—and have built a network of support to help rebuild their lives after trauma.

Parkland survivors “helped me understand what they went through and what my sister went through,” said Jazmin Cazares, whose little sister was killed in the Uvalde shooting. “Except they were able to make it out alive, and my sister wasn’t.”

newspaper article against a blue background

“‘Grandfluencers’ Are Sharing a New Vision of Old Age” (The New York Times Styles)

I wrote a cover story about senior citizens who show a different vision for what aging can be: influencers living out their old age on their own terms, prioritizing curiosity, silliness, and care.

The New York Times selected this article as the Great Read, a designation highlighting one exceptional feature in the paper each day, and for the Weekender.

Here are some special projects I’ve made.

illustration of a worried face

“Envisioning Life After Climate Change” (The New York Times Magazine)

By 2050, we’ll likely live in a world with two degrees of warming. What will that actually look like?

I worked with illustrators, animators, photographers, and the NYT Magazine special issues team to create this speculative climate project, sharing what climate change actually means for people, animals, and the earth itself.

books against a field of orange poppies

Guidebooks to California (Wildsam)

I worked with travel guidebook publication Wildsam to develop three guides to California, which will always be home for me. I spent a week along Highway 1, hiking through poison oak to secret coves and spending afternoons with the construction workers and hippies who built Big Sur. For the Yosemite and Southern California Coast guidebooks, I interviewed farmers and astronomers, wilderness EMTs and surfers about why they’ve chosen California as their home.

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“70 Over 70” (Pineapple Street Studios)

I reported a critically acclaimed podcast series about how to age. I interviewed dozens of elders, from a nonagenarian trapeze artist to a couple who fell back in love in their sixties. I also booked well-known guests and cut tape for the non-narrated segments at the top of each episode.

We won the Ambie for best interview podcast of 2021, we got rave reviews, and millions of people listened to my dad talk about how much he loves smoking weed and eating ice cream.

woman performing a story onstage

Live shows for Pop-Up Magazine

As a story producer at Pop-Up Magazine, I brought nonfiction stories to a live audience, touring across the U.S., from Lincoln Center to my hometown favorite, the Paramount in Oakland.

I produced stories including narratives about how Dungeons & Dragons allows death row inmates to escape solitary confinement, how a Cuban Yemayá priestess who emigrated to the U.S., and how thousands of people came together in quarantine through a penpal exchange.