I engage in a variety of journalistic, professional, academic, and creative writing. My current blogging project, Across the USA on 1 Gigabyte a Day, chronicles my virtual road trip across America using Google Street View. Please visit www.mmuspratt.com/across-the-usa. A sampling of my other work includes:
- "The Great American (Street View) Road Trip" (The Boston Globe, 22 October 2017). A distillation of my Street View travel/blogging project, this essay argues that in an age of rabid news cycles and social media, the internet can still deliver nuance and perspective – if we use our digital tools slowly and in "the long form." Please see https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/10/20/what-saw-traveling-across-america-google-street-view/mFlfFf0OmQUjqLvQjyz9bL/story.html.
- "Africa's Tennis Talent, Though Obscure, Is Burgeoning" (The New York Times, 28 August 2016). My long-form essay for the Times highlights Rwanda's No. 1 ranked tennis player, Ernest Habiyambere, while exploring the state of tennis in sub-Saharan Africa and the reasons why there are rarely more than one or two black Africans ranked among the sport's best 1,000 players. Please see http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/29/sports/tennis/africas-tennis-talent-though-obscure-is-apparent.html.
- Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development (Brookings Institution Press, 2016). I am Steven R. Koltai's collaborator on a book advocating "entrepreneurship in the service of U.S. foreign policy." Peace through Entrepreneurship argues that the root cause of unrest and terror emanating from the Middle East is rampant youth unemployment. By bolstering startup activity in fragile and developing markets, Koltai explains, America can leverage its expertise in innovation to generate economic opportunity for jobless, marginalized, and frustrated young people who might otherwise turn to extremism. Please see peacethroughentrepreneurship.com; order from Amazon or Brookings.
- Ghana Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Analysis (2013). I was the head writer and project leader for a Koltai & Co. report surveying the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Ghana. This report, commissioned by the U.K.'s Department for International Development, reviewed the financial, training, and other support structures available to startup firms in Accra, Kumasi, and elsewhere in the country. Steven Koltai and Victor Mallet also consulted on the project and contributed portions of the writing. Please see http://koltai.co/notebook/ghana-report.
- The Poverty Porn Antidote: Reality TV (Wronging Rights, 2012). While living in Ghana I maintained a blog critiquing the international development industry’s posture towards Africa and Western media's depictions of Africa, Africans, and Westerners who work or volunteer on the continent. My views on these “image of Africa” questions are captured in part in a guest post for the Wronging Rights blog, where I argue that episodes of the Amazing Race reality TV program provide more thorough and complex depictions of Ghana than do international development groups. Please see http://www.wrongingrights.com/2010/12/the-poverty-porn-antidote-reality-tv.html.
- Rejecting Erasure Tropes of Africa: The Amazing Race Episodes in Ghana Counter Postcolonial Critiques (Communication, Culture & Critique, 2012). With H. Leslie Steeves of the University of Oregon, I published an academic version of the above piece in the journal Communication, Culture & Critique. The article introduces the concept of "erasure journalism," a term I use to describe Western media's tendency to deny agency to Africans by, for example, not quoting any Africans in a story about Africa and instead profiling Westerners and depicting their actions as primary. Please see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-9137.2012.01143.x/abstract.
- GlobalPost (2010). A former editor-in-chief of my college newspaper and associate editor for the website of the PBS NewsHour, I have written several articles on a freelance basis, including human interest stories for GlobalPost on a popular high school TV quiz show in Ghana and that country's Best National Aquaculture Farmer.