Mike Kessler

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I’m a journalist. 

My work has twice been named as a finalist for the National Magazine Award (2008, Public Interest; 2012, Reporting) and has won or been nominated for several awards from the City and Regional Magazine Association and the Western Publishing Association. Stories I’ve written have been anthologized or listed as Notables in the Best American series, and are often picked up by longform.org and other aggregators of long-form journalism. 

My writing has appeared in or on: Backpacker, Budget Travel, The California Sunday Magazine, Details, Esquire.com, GQ, Inc., Los Angeles magazine (where I’m a contributing writer), Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Mountain magazine, New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Salon.com, Skiing, TakePart.com, The Trace, Vice, Wired, Yoga Journal, 5280 (Denver’s city magazine), and others.

People often ask me what kinds of articles I write. The answer is, “all kinds.” I’m a generalist, not a specialist. I do not have a beat. For the last eight years or so, I’ve mostly been writing deeply reported, long-form magazine articles, but I also write, or have written, the occasional essay (sometimes purely personal, sometimes topical and reported), and a lot of service pieces or packages (which I used to do more often). While many of my stories require a long “bake time” (several months, and sometimes a year or more), I also turn around quicker reads (300 to 3,000 words) that take anywhere from one day to two weeks to report and write.

I’ve written about crime & criminal justice, gun violence, health & fitness, the garment business, nuclear-weapons workers, immigration & the border, urban wildlife,  drug policy, travel, adventure sports, yoga, pot farming, and a range of people who do, or have done, interesting things.

Journalism has taken me all over the globe. For stories, I’ve bicycled through Vietnam, vacationed on a shoestring in Tokyo, attempted to backpack illegally into the US from Canada, and sampled chocolate on the cocoa farms of Costa Rica.

Here in the US, I’ve interviewed gun-violence and sex trafficking victims in San Bernardino and South L.A., tracked mountain lions in the Hollywood Hills, trekked with llamas in the Sierra Nevada mountains, listened to music in near-silence with one of the greatest record producers alive, trained in a swimming pool with federal law enforcement agents, and cruised in a red Cadillac with a special-needs peacock named Radagast.

My favorite stories to report and write usually have to do with crime, criminal justice, and other matters of public interest. Subjects tell me I’m a good listener. Editors and readers say I’m good at making complicated stuff easy to read without dumbing it down, but my work can also be as fun and funny as it is serious and important.

I live in Los Angeles.

Maybe we can work together. 



phone: 323.248.1492
© 2018 Mike Kessler

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