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© 2008-2011 Nena Baker

In the late 1980s, I found my stride as a daily journalist working as a reporter and editor on the national financial desk of United Press International. I finally did go back to Portland in 1991, joining the staff of The Oregonian. I covered Nike, a venerated hometown company. In 1992, I persuaded my editors to send me to Asia and Europe so I could tell the story of how Nike operates in the global marketplace. I was the first U.S. reporter to write about deplorable conditions at the Indonesian factories making Nike shoes. The story won national and regional awards. Better yet, it helped improve worker conditions by putting pressure on Nike to reconsider its responsibility. In 1999, I joined The Arizona Republic, where I investigated the financial dealings of sports mogul Jerry Colangelo, the plan for public financing of a new Arizona Cardinals football stadium, and the cover-up of sex abuse by Catholic priests in Arizona. I left the Republic in 2003 to concentrate on book writing. Shortly thereafter, I began working on The Body Toxic.

Through the years, I’ve freelanced for a variety of publications, including SELF, Town & Country, Mademoiselle and Seventeen. These days, I live in Portland with my partner, two dogs and three cats. I’ve reluctantly agreed to quit bringing home stray pets. So I write, practice yoga and work part-time as a licensed private investigator.

I wrote The Body Toxic after spending more than 20 years in the trenches of journalism. It’s my first book, and I'm at work on another. I got started in the business after graduating from Lewis & Clark College in 1981. I drove across the country to New York in my tiny Renault Le Car. My dad rode along. He took a look at Manhattan then suggested we turn the Le Car around and drive straight back to Portland, Oregon. I stayed in New York and sold the Le Car. GQ gave me my first job as an assistant copy editor. I moved on to TV Guide, where I wrote TV listings, and then to a jewelry trade magazine, where I won a company award for an exposé I did about the illegal disposal of toxic chemicals by retail jewelers.

Nena Baker