Jeff McMahon Career Biography

Since 2011 I have covered the environmental crises for Forbes, where I am a senior contributor. My byline has appeared in many other magazines, newspapers and online publications, including the Arizona Republic, the Chicago Tribune, New Times and Newcity. I’ve corresponded from the field covering the counter-revolutionary war in Nicaragua, the World Series earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, the climate conferences in Copenhagen and Paris. I’ve been a regular contributor on the topic of writers and writing to PEN International Magazine. I’m the founder and editor of Contrary Magazine. It all started with a review of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose in 1984 in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, where in 1986 I served as editor. I’m proudest of an article that appeared not long ago in Tricycle.

At the University of Chicago I have designed and taught courses in journalism, creative non-fiction and arts criticism in the Committee on Creative Writing. I’ve taught academic writing in the University Writing Program and scientific writing for the Division of Physical Sciences. I designed and taught the Science Writing Practicum, primarily for climate scientists, in the Data Science for Energy and Environmental Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. I’ve hosted a podcast for the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago’s vaunted Economics Department. And for 20 years I served as writing advisor for the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities.