ABOUT J.A. GINSBURG
As a writer and producer, I have chased after wild horses on the Wyoming / Montana border, followed Kirelian bear dogs on the trail of grizzlies in Glacier National Park, and sat in forests by the Mississippi river with biologists tracking the spread of West Nile virus in the delicate, lighter-than-air bodies of migrating birds. I have traveled to Cuba to scout a segment on Old Havana, the oldest neighborhood in the Western hemisphere; and to Krakow, Poland to film an ancient salt mine full of salt sculptures for a series on “Invisible Places” – amazing underground wonders all over the world.
But of all the stories I have covered, a special report on invasive diseases written for BusinessWeek stands out above the rest. What began a small two-column story on the exotic pet trade ballooned into a tale of emerging and re-emerging plagues, ill-equipped labs, globalization and the intricate web of human and animal health. When the article received an award from the American Society for Microbiology, my contact list of “-ologists” with stories to tell ballooned as well. I became fascinated by the connections between micro and macro and began writing about everything from links between infectious diseases and mental illnesses (New Scientist), to more speculative pieces about infections and extinctions.
I have also covered energy issues. For another BusinessWeek story on distributed generation (a paradigm for generating electricity close to where it will be used rather than in large central power plants), I interviewed Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. That led to an invitation to a conference on refugee issues hosted by Lovins and Eric Rasmussen, a Navy doctor with an interest in technology for humanitarian work. When Rasmussen became CEO of InSTEDD, the idea for Tracker began to take root.