I started life in Somerset, southwest England, in a village where the three school years that made up one class were called the littl’uns, the middl’uns and the big’uns. What I learned then about the outside world came more or less entirely from the news media. I felt a strong sense of responsibility to understand events as they unfolded, even though anything that counted as international news seemed poles apart from my own experiences.
In my late teens, I studied natural sciences at Cambridge University and became convinced that science really is the best way of thinking that humans have come up with. But I always seemed to adsorb greater amounts of information outside of the lab, by visiting unfamiliar places and by indulging a habit of attending lectures intended for anthropologists, geographers and students of many other disciplines.
These instincts led me into journalism. In the past decade, I've reported from the U.S., Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Norway, Senegal, Malawi and Greenland. Now I live in Oxford. Following an MPhil in comparative government and a DPhil in politics at Oxford University, I've figured out how to bring together my journalistic instincts to understand and reveal corruption with a broader and more rigorous perspective on how these efforts impact the world at large. The big aim is to work out how the world at large might make solid progress towards building trustworthy institutions that are robust against corrupting influences in the long run. When I can, I love to swim quite long distances, to surf (often in a river), and to ski (I'm an instructor).