Hi...Barbara Paulsen here. I'm a dreamer, audio storyteller, science journalist, recovering botanist, and amateur historian living in Washington D.C. I spend several months a year in Portugal, where my husband is from. I’ve produced work for radio shows and magazines such as National Geographic, Outside/In, The Pulse, the New York Times, Health, Oprah, Discover, Mindful, and Texas Monthly.
I like to understand where people and things come from, geographically and psychically. I’m fascinated by the science behind everyday life and the everyday lives of scientists. I’ve reported on the brain geography of fear and the evolutionary urge to hunt for mushrooms. I’ve told the human stories behind the droughts sucking our aquifers dry and investigated why the conventional wisdom about not taking hormones after menopause is all wrong.
I’m also the host and producer of Midway, a first-person show about navigating midlife. I started the show five years ago, after I quit my job and my son was about to leave for college. It was my way of tackling the question: Now what? The first season of the show can be found here. I’m working on the second season, in fits and starts.
I worked at National Geographic Magazine for 11 years, mostly as its story development editor. I oversaw environmental, geopolitical, and culture stories. I was part of a team that produced award-winning series on the future of food and whether the planet can sustain 9 billion people by 2045. I was the lead text editor for special issues on photography and the global water crisis. I edited stories on sustainable agriculture, conflict minerals, climate change, population pressures on wildlife, child brides, and threats to indigenous people. Before that, I was the editor-in-chief of Time Inc’s Health magazine in San Francisco.
I’m new-ish to radio, a graduate of the 12-week intensive Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole on Cape Cod. While working at this apprenticeship with public radio station WCAI, I produced stories on a fado singer and on the Lizzie Borden murders of Fall River.