I’m obsessed with the art and science of true storytelling — writing copy that sparks conversations, devising digital strategies that capture audiences across platforms and producing award-winning editorial. An independent writer, editor and strategist, I create multimedia work that explores the intersecting worlds of culture, travel and technology — often from the boundary-pushing perspectives of queer and non-binary/gender-fluid identities. (I use “they/them/theirs” pronouns.)
My byline appears in The Washington Post, VICE, Condé Nast’s them., Fodor’s Travel, The Atlantic CityLab, The Lily and more — syndicated stories have run in such outlets as The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Sydney Morning Herald and The New Zealand Herald.
Media companies, agencies and brands commission me to devise editorial strategies, collaborate with designers and developers, and create content for digital and print mediums — everything from cross-platform edit plans to series of videos optimized for social media. I’m currently a consulting features editor at MEDIAmerica.
I also judge the occasional drag pageant.
Based in Portland, Oregon and always on the go, I’ll travel anywhere in the world with Wi-Fi for reporting and consulting projects. Five continents down, where to next?
Previously, I worked as senior editor at one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading publishers; project manager at SPJ award-winning Oregon Business; co-founder of Limbo, a now-defunct online travel and culture magazine; design reporter at Oregon Home; and Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights.
I received my master’s in international relations from the University of Exeter in the U.K., where I researched digital media policy and received distinction for my thesis on rock star activism. (It was an epic duel between John Lennon and Bono.)
If my last name sounds familiar, you might have grown up watching broadcast pioneer Bill Shadel, my cousin, on the ABC evening news — he was the first host of CBS's "Face the Nation" and moderator of the third presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. His prolific reporting inspired me when I was a kid to pursue a career in the media.
The Appalachian Mountains will always move me. The grandchild of farmers, I spent my early years picking ears of corn, weeding a square-acre garden, canning peaches and picking up bails of hay in grassy fields. My first hourly job was siding a barn. And for a year, I worked in a cultural center dedicated to preserving traditional Appalachian art.
When I was 13, I went to career day at church school dressed as “the entertainer of the year.” Everyone laughed.