Margaret Knox and Dan Baum met at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1986, married, and the next day moved to Zimbabwe, where they operated their own news bureau for three years. Living variously in Missoula, Montana; Boulder, Colorado; Cofradía de Suchitlán, Mexico; Watsonville, California; and back to Boulder, they have produced many articles for national magazines and three books: Smoke and Mirrors, Citizen Coors, and Nine Lives.


Ever since their daughter, Rosa, was born in 1993, Margaret and Dan's work has usually appeared under Dan's byline. Non-fiction frequently calls for a strong individual voice, and occasionally the use of the first person, so double bylines often aren't practical. Dan most often does the legwork of reporting the story -- the travel and the phone calls -- with Margaret acting as bureau chief: “Ask this.” “Don’t forget that.” “Go back to him tomorrow.” Dan then writes the first draft.


Writing a first draft is somewhat akin to moving a big block of marble into a sculptor’s studio. It takes some skill, and a lot of stamina, but it isn’t art. The art begins when Margaret gets her hands on the manuscript, which goes back and forth many times before completion. Editing a piece often takes longer than it took to research and write the first draft. Everything that goes out under the byline “Dan Baum” is at least half Margaret’s work.


The family pages begin here.

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