Profile picture of Peter Laufer

Peter Laufer

Professor, James N. Wallace Chair of Journalism
Food Studies, SOJC, SOJC-Journalism, SOJC-Journalism Master's, SOJC-Media Studies Master's, SOJC-Media Studies PhD, SOJC-Multimedia Journalism
Phone: 541-346-2109
Office: 203 Allen Hall


Peter Laufer is the James Wallace Chair Professor in Journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication.

An award-winning journalist and scholar, he has studied, teaches and reports from throughout the world. Author of a couple of dozen books, Laufer’s writing focuses on borders, migration, identity, and animal rights. He chased butterflies for his book The Dangerous World of Butterflies, turtles for his book Dreaming in Turtle and his reportage on the relationships of humans with other animals includes the books Forbidden Creatures and No Anmals Were Harmed. His other works include the exposé Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling and the several documentaries he reported, wrote, and produced as an NBC News Correspondent on topics ranging from the crises facing Vietnam War veterans to illiteracy and hunger in America, and a study of Americans incarcerated overseas that won the George Polk Award. Laufer adroitly combines his scholarly and professional work; he served as editor of the University of Oregon anthology Interviewing: The Oregon Method and as author of Slow News: A Manifesto for the Critical News Consumer he is a founder of the Slow News Movement. A longtime talk radio maestro, Laufer has served as news and program director of WRC Radio in Washington, D.C., was founding program director of Newstalk 93.6 in Berlin, and has acted as management consultant to several international news broadcasting projects, including National GeographicWashington Monthly, and Mother Jones radio programs. His monograph "Thank you for taking my call" is an exploration of epistolary artifacts from talk radio. He is the founding co-Director of the University of Oregon-UNESCO Institute for Conflict-sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue..

Laufer’s writing focuses on borders, migration, identity, and animal rights. The working title of his current study of walls across time and cultures is Up Against the Wall (Expletive). 

For more, visit his website.


  • PhD, Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • MA, Communications: Journalism and Public Affairs, American University School of Communication, Washington, D.C.
  • Undergraduate English studies, University of California, Berkeley


Laufer’s research probes the intersection of borders, migration, and identity. He also studies the relationships of humans to other animals. His investigative work includes a study of the veracity of the label “organic” on food products.



Dreaming in Turtle, St. Martin’s Press, 2018

Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling, Globe Pequot Press, 2014

¡See You Later, Amigo!, Barranca Press, 2016

Slow News: A Manifesto for the Critical News Consumer, Oregon State University Press, 2014

The Elusive State of Jefferson: A Journey through the 51stState, Globe Pequot Press, 2013

No Animals Were Harmed: The Controversial Line Between Entertainment and Abuse, Globe Pequot Press, 2012

¡Calexico! Life in the California Borderlands, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2011

Neon Nevada (coauthored with Sheila Swan Laufer), Globe Pequot Press, 2011

Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets, Globe Pequot Press, 2010

The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors and Conservationists, Globe Pequot Press, 2009

Hope Is a Tattered Flag: Voices of Reason and Change for the Post-Bush Era (co-authored with Markos Kounalakis), PoliPoint Press, 2008

Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006

Wetback Nation: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border, Ivan R. Dee, 2004

Shock and Awe: Responses to War (edited and with a introduction by Peter Laufer), Creative Arts Book Company, 2003

Exodus to Berlin: The Return of the Jews to Germany, Ivan R. Dee, 2003

Made in Mexico, National Geographic, 2000

...and more


Honors and Awards

  • Jonathan Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching in Journalism and Communication by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, 2012
  • California Council for the Humanities “California Voices” radio production grant for “The Calexico Project,” 2008
  • Koerber Foundation (Hamburg) Transatlantic Idea prize in the foundation’s “Transitions in Life” competition for the book Mission Rejected, 2006
  • Gustavas Myers Book Awards honorable mention from the Gustavas Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights at Simmons College, Boston, for the book Wetback Nation, 2005
  • RIAS Berlin Commission/ Radio Television News Directors Foundation German/American Production Grant for the TV documentary: “Exodus to Berlin,” 2000, winner of the David Wolper Best Documentary Prize from the Wine Country Film Festival in California, 2001
  • National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Award for the book Made in Mexico, also cited on the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2001 list, compiled by a joint committee of the Children’s Book Council and the National Council for the Social Studies, 2001
  • ...and more

Areas of Expertise

  • Information gathering and reporting
  • Narrative journalism
  • Interviewing
  • Conflict sensitive reporting
  • Talk radio analysis
  • Borders, migration, and identity


  • Journalistic Interview
  • Cross-Cultural Interviewing and Reporting
  • Story Development
  • Conflict Sensitive Reporting