Sandy Tolan is a radio and print journalist who has reported from more than 30 countries over the last 28 years. He is the author of two books and has written for more than 40 newspapers and magazines, and produced hundreds of documentaries and features for NPR and Public Radio International. Since 1982 he has reported from American Indian country, along the U.S.-Mexico border, across New England and the American West, in Latin America, the Middle East, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and South and East Asia. A central focus of his work has been the intersection of land conflicts, racial and ethnic identity, natural resources, and the global economy. He is a co-founder of Homelands Productions, an independent production company focusing on documentary work for public radio. He was a lead producer for the Homelands series WORKING, monthly profiles on workers around the world broadcast on public radio's Marketplace. Currently he is senior producer for The Hunger Chronicles (in development), an international documentary collaboration with NPR and Magnum Photos.
Sandy is the author of two books: Me and Hank, A Boy and His Hero 25 Years Later, an exploration of race and sports in America; and The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle award, and which won Booklist's "Top of the List" award in nonfiction, and the Christopher Award for works "affirming the highest values of the human spirit." The book also won honorable mention for the Sophie Brody Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association.
Sandy has garnered more than 25 national and international journalism awards, mostly for his radio work, including a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton, three Robert F. Kennedy awards, a United Nations Gold Medal award, and two honors from the Overseas Press Club. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Audubon, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and dozens of other publications. He was a 1993 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
From 2000-2007, Sandy taught at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC-Berkeley, where he coordinated international reporting programs, taught radio feature and documentary classes, and served as an I.F. Stone Fellow. In 2007, the 11 reporters in his "Early Signs" climate change class, who produced an eight-part series, "Reports From a Warming Planet," for Salon.com and NPR's Living On Earth, won the prestigious George Polk award. It was the first time the award has been given to students.
In 2010, Sandy's USC graduate students produced "Hunger in the Golden State," a 22-part, multi-platform series of radio, visual, and print stories in collaboration with California Watch of the Center for Investigative Reporting. The series was broadcast and printed in news outlets statewide.