Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson


Freelance journalist Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson, a special adviser to the Pulitzer Center's AI Accountability Network, is a lecturer in the Master's in Science Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, and a former staff writer at the Miami Herald and Johns Hopkins Magazine.

Throughout her career, Cavanaugh Simpson has written from the U.S. and abroad, in China, India, Argentina, Cuba, and elsewhere.

Her journalism centers on society and the individual, delving into such topics as birth control efforts in Uttar Pradesh, India; AI challenges in the global pandemic response; and the quandary of autonomous vehicle safety; as well as human rights for transgender people; and dissident Cuban journalists in Havana.

Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Baltimore Sun, Scientific American, WYPR, and Signs of Life in the USA (Bedford/St. Martin's), among numerous other outlets.

Cavanaugh Simpson's Pulitzer Center project State of Surveillance has fostered social justice impacts on police technology use in communities of color, with recent work cited in a U.S. appeals court decision that found persistent aerial surveillance unconstitutional, grounding the "Spy Planes" over Baltimore.

Her Baltimore reporting sparked media interviews on AI in policing, including for ABC News' "The Longest Shadow": 9/11 leads to the militarization of US police departmentsHer South Florida SunSentinel series on racial biases in police facial recognition use on Black protesters and local residents prompted area police agencies to adopt policies banning facial recognition use on peaceful protesters. And her work has been cited in numerous academic reports.

Cavanaugh Simpson earned her bachelor's from the University of Maryland; her master's from Hopkins' Writing Seminars, with thesis support from Harvard University's Goldsmith Research Award; and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College, where she won the Christine White Award in literary journalism.

A Pushcart Prize nominee, she's also a recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Arts Innovation Grant, the Wesleyan Writers Conference Jon Davidoff Scholarship, and other journalism and literary awards.

Memberships include the National Association of Science Writers; Investigative Reporters & Editors; Society of Professional Journalists; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Authors Guild; and PEN America.

She is currently working on a book exploring the evolution of tech culture and counterculture.

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