Researcher Policy Analyst Journalist
Three occupations, more related than they seem.
RESEARCHERS try to figure out how things work. They then write reports explaining it all. JOURNALISTS do the same but feature more quotes from colourful people.
POLICY ANALYSTS figure things out, then propose new and better ways of doing things, preferably with concrete, practical steps leading from here to there.
I do all three
I began my career as an electronics engineer but soon switched over to journalism. It seemed more exciting, which mattered back when I was 20. I won a passel of awards in my native Canada, then moved to Brazil and began covering the Amazon. This was the tail end of the golden age of long-form journalism, when magazines commissioned stories 5,000 words long and still covered expenses. Good times, over too soon.
The death of long-form magazine journalism, however, combined with my own predilection for proposing solutions lead me to switch my investigative focus to the non-profit realm.
One of my first NGO investigations, on diamons smuggling in the Amazon, lead to a major police operation that resulted in the arrest of a even dozen of the diamond dealers named in my report. My focus soon swithche to Africa and conlfict mineraals. My investigations into the DRC gold trade lead to the creation of a certification system for Central African minerals.