Mac McClelland

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Mac McClelland
Mac McClelland at the SPJ Awards Dinner, 2010
Mac McClelland at the SPJ Awards Dinner, 2010
Born Nicole McClelland
Nationality American
Alma mater The Ohio State University
University of New Orleans
Occupation Journalist
Years active 2007-present

Nicole "Mac" McClelland[1] is an award-winning American author and journalist. From 2007 to 2013 she was a staff reporter at Mother Jones, eventually in the position of human rights reporter. She has also written for The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and other publications.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

McClelland grew up in Columbus, Ohio.[3]

In 2002, McClelland received a B.A. in English and psychology from The Ohio State University. In 2006, she received an MFA from University of New Orleans in nonfiction.[3][4]


From 2007 to 2013, McClelland worked at Mother Jones, where she began as an intern, working her way up from fact checker and copy editor until she was published as a writer. From 2010 to 2013 she was a Human Rights reporter, a position that was created for McClelland.[3]

McClelland has covered both domestic and foreign stories, with international locations including Thailand, Haiti, Australia, Burma, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Bhutan. McClelland worked on extensive coverage of 2010's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[5]

She has appeared MSNBC,[6] PBS,[7][8] NPR,[9] Democracy Now!,[10] the BBC, and Al Jazeera. She has been described variously as trustworthy by Newsweek,[11] "a total bad-ass" by The American Prospect,[1][12] and "a profane young bisexual" by The Wall Street Journal.[13]

In 2010, McClelland published For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma's Never-Ending War, which was about her experience in Thailand and accounts of the refugee crisis of those fleeing nearby Burma.[14][15] She had initially gone to Thailand in 2006 to teach English and spent six weeks in the country where she learned more about the Karen refugee crisis.[16][17]

In July 2011, McClelland wrote an essay for GOOD about trying to treat her posttraumatic stress disorder with violent sex, PTSD which McClelland said was triggered by reporting the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and included first-hand recounting vis Twitter of being with a woman traumatized by rape. The writer Roxane Gay, a Haitian-American, was supportive of McClelland recounting her personal, first-hand experience in Haiti, Louisiana, and other locations McClelland lived and worked as a writer.[18] Journalist Marjorie Valbrun wrote in Slate that she found the article problematic from a journalist's perspective,[19] while writer Debra Dickerson, also writing for Slate, felt that the article was brave and fearless.[20]

Jezebel published an "open letter to the editors" of GOOD signed by 36 female journalists and researchers, condemning McClelland's lack of understanding of the context of Haiti, saying that she was perpetuating stereotypes.[21] Journalist Elspeth Reeve wrote in defense of McClelland's essay in The Atlantic, examining the motivations behind the Jezebel letter.[22] Conor Friedersdorf, another journalist at The Atlantic disputed the criticism that McClelland was operating under a "colonialist mindset," instead seeing the Jezebel letter as unjustifiably scapegoating McClelland.[23] In Essence, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat said that she met the Haitian rape victim that McClelland wrote about, and alleged that McClelland did not have permission to write about the victim.[24] Journalist Ansel Herz blogged that he felt that McClelland had breached journalistic ethics.[25] Journalists Amanda Taub and Jina Moore and others questioned the live-tweeting reportage method as well as the question of consent.[26][27][28] McClelland responded via an Ms. interview, discussing the response to her personal essay.[29]

In March 2012, McClelland's Mother Jones article on working undercover at a warehouse as a picker doing third-party logistics.[30][31]

In 2015, McClelland published her second book, Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story, which described her experience with posttraumatic stress disorder.[32][33] The book was a further examination of her personal journey with PTSD, which was initially the subject of the essay she wrote for GOOD magazine in 2011.[34][35][36]

In 2016, McClelland traveled to Cuba to document extreme birders for Audubon.[37]

In 2017, McClelland wrote a feature for Rolling Stone about exploring the use of hallucinogens to treat depression and PTSD, and the underground network used by practitioners in the United States.[38]

Since 2013, McClelland has worked as a freelance journalist.[39]

Personal life[edit]

McClelland is married to Nico Ansel. They met in 2010 when she was reporting on the earthquake in Haiti.[40] She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.[33]


Works and publications[edit]

Selected articles


  1. ^ a b Friedman, Ann (15 December 2009). "What's in a Pen Name?". The American Prospect. 
  2. ^ Hatch, Jeremy (4 August 2010). "The Rumpus Interview with Mac McClelland: Burma, the Karen, and Genocide". The Rumpus. 
  3. ^ a b c Kraft, Nicole (30 June 2011). "Meeting Mac". Kraft of Writing. 
  4. ^ Woodward, Alex (22 July 2010). "Blackout: Mac McClelland on reporting from the Gulf". Gambit. 
  5. ^ Conan, Neal; McClelland, Mac (14 June 2010). "Op-Ed: Reporters Covering Oil Spill Stymied" (Audio interview, includes transcript). Talk of the Nation. WBUR / NPR. 
  6. ^ Olbermann, Keith; McClelland, Mac (1 July 2010). "Health Crisis in Gulf" (Video). Countdown with Keith Olbermann Countdown with Keith Olbermann. MSNBC. 
  7. ^ Brangham, William; McClelland, Mac (31 July 2010). "Gulf Update: The toll on the Grand Isle" (Video). Need to Know. PBS. 
  8. ^ Lee, Brianna (4 June 2010). "Episode five: The oil spill's effect on wildlife, being carbon neutral in Denmark". PBS. Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. 
  9. ^ McClelland, Mac (14 June 2010). "Op-Ed: Reporters Covering Oil Spill Stymied". Talk of the Nation. NPR. 
  10. ^ Goodman, Amy; McClelland, Mac; Kamat, Anjali; Nienaber, Georgianne (7 July 2010). "Media Clampdown in the Gulf Coast: Government and BP Place More Restrictions on Journalists Covering the Oil Spill" (Video interview, including transcript). Democracy Now!. 
  11. ^ Dailey, Kate (14 June 2010). "DNA Who Can You Trust? Oil Spill Edition". Newsweek. The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 16 Jan 2012. 
  12. ^ Friedman, Ann (1 March 2015). "On Being a Badass". The Cut. New York. 
  13. ^ Broughton, Philip Delves (14 May 2010). "The Long Flight From Tyranny". The Wall Street Journal.  closed access publication – behind paywall
  14. ^ McClelland, Mac (2010). For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question a Story from Burma's Never-Ending War. New York: Soft Skull Press. ISBN 978-1-593-76378-7. OCLC 693761834. 
  15. ^ Hatch, Jeremy (4 August 2010). "The Rumpus Interview with Mac McClelland: Burma, the Karen, and Genocide". The Rumpus. 
  16. ^ Whitney, Joel (15 March 2011). "Joel Whitney: Mac McClelland's Burma Refugee Diary". Guernica. 
  17. ^ Busch, Michael K.; McClelland, Mac (6 April 2011). "Burma's Refugees: An Interview with Mac McClelland". Shadowproof. 
  18. ^ Gay, Roxane (5 July 2011). "Still with the Scarlet Letters". The Rumpus. 
  19. ^ Valbrun, Marjorie (30 June 2011). "Mac McClelland: What's Happening in Haiti Is Not About You". Slate. 
  20. ^ Dickerson, Debra (1 July 2011). "Mac McClelland's Essay About Rough Sex Is Fearless, Not Offensive". Slate. 
  21. ^ Coen, Jessica (1 July 2011). "Female Journalists & Researchers Respond To Haiti PTSD Article". Jezebel. 
  22. ^ Reeve, Elspeth (2 July 2011). "Reenacting Rape Is Fine, Just Don't Call Haiti a Hellhole". The Atlantic. 
  23. ^ Friedersdorf, Conor (3 July 2011). "How to Talk About Haiti's Rape Epidemic". The Atlantic. 
  24. ^ Danticat, Edwidge (10 July 2011). "Edwidge Danticat Speaks on Mac McClelland Essay". Essence. 
  25. ^ Ansel, Author (3 July 2011). "On Journalistic Malpractice, Mac McClelland, and Haiti". 
  26. ^ Taub, Amanda (12 July 2011). "In Which I Wade Further into the McClelland Morass, Demonstrating That I Have No Sense of Self-Preservation". 
  27. ^ Moore, Jina (17 July 2010). "Should we tweet rape?". 
  28. ^ Dusenbery, Maya (12 July 2011). "Mac McClelland and ethical story-telling". Feministing. 
  29. ^ Thompson, Christie (5 July 2011). "Mac McClelland Talks to Ms.: PTSD, Haiti and Women Writing About Sex - Ms. Magazine Blog". Ms. 
  30. ^ McClelland, Mac (March 2012). "I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave". Mother Jones. 
  31. ^ Ashbrook, Tom; McClelland, Mac; Spoer, Spencer; Korstad, Robert (28 February 2012). "The Reality Of Online Shopping" (Audio interview). On Point. WBUR-FM. 
  32. ^ McClelland, Mac (2015). Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story. New York: Flatiron Books. ISBN 978-1-250-05289-6. OCLC 938241219. 
  33. ^ a b Abraham, Laurie (24 February 2015). "Mac McClelland on Life After PTSD". ELLE. 
  34. ^ Tolentino, Jia (4 March 2015). "Secondhand Violence and PTSD: An Interview with Mac McClelland". Jezebel. 
  35. ^ Faleiro, Sonia (20 February 2015). "'Irritable Hearts,' by Mac McClelland". The New York Times. 
  36. ^ Scutts, Joanna (2 March 2015). "Mac McClelland's Irritable Hearts: 'It's insane that we can only conceive of PTSD in terms of combat'". The Guardian. 
  37. ^ Gravitz, Lauren (24 January 2017). "Mac McClelland Tails Extreme Birders through Cuba". The Open Notebook. 
  38. ^ McClelland, Mac (9 March 2017). "The Psychedelic Miracle: How some doctors are risking everything to unleash the healing power of MDMA, ayahuasca and other hallucinogens". Rolling Stone. 
  39. ^ Gordon, Ian (13 February 2015). "Love in the time of PTSD: Mac McClelland's irritable heart". Mother Jones. 
  40. ^ McClelland, Mac (13 March 2015). "Love in translation: He spoke French. I spoke English. Google to the rescue.". The Washington Post. 
  41. ^ "Mac McClelland Wins June Sidney for Mother Jones Story About the Impact of the Oil Spill on Fishermen's Wives in the Gulf". Hillman Foundation. 13 July 2010. 
  42. ^ Enochs, Liz (16 October 2010). "2010 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners Announced". SPJ NorCal. Archived from the original (Press release) on 24 October 2010. 
  43. ^ McDonnell, Jane (1 November 2010). ", NPR, ProPublica and Take Top Honors at 2010 Online Journalism Awards" (Press release). Marketwired. 
  44. ^ "Best of 2010 - Books by Bay Area authors". San Francisco Chronicle. 19 December 2010. 
  45. ^ "2011 - Mother Jones - Feature Writing". MPA – the Association of Magazine Media. 2011. 
  46. ^ "Winners: SEJ 10th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment". Society of Environmental Journalists. 1 August 2011. 
  47. ^ Kowalczyk, Patrick; Chang, Jenny (24 August 2011). "Celebrating the Power of Literature to Promote Peace, Dayton Literary Peace Prize Announces 2011 Finalists". Dayton Literary Peace Prize (Press release). 
  48. ^ SJP NorCal (2 October 2012). "Check Out This Year's Excellence In Journalism Award Winners" (Press release). SPJ NorCal. 
  49. ^ "2013 - Mother Jones - Feature Writing". MPA – the Association of Magazine Media. 2013. 
  50. ^ Holt, Sid; Dinozo, Cristina (1 April 2013). "National Magazine Awards 2013 Finalists Announced" (Press release). American Society of Magazine Editors. 
  51. ^ Liz (29 October 2013). "SPJ NorCal Honors 2013 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners" (Press release). SPJ NorCal. 
  52. ^ "2017 - Audubon - Feature Writing". MPA – the Association of Magazine Media. 2017. 
  53. ^ Holt, Sid; Russ, Susan (19 January 2017). "Ellies 2017 Finalists Announced" (Press release). American Society of Magazine Editors. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]