Fourth graders and the FBI

October 23rd, 2021

Peter Laufer edited the student-written book Classroom 15: How the Hoover FBI Censored the Dreams of Innocent Oregon Fourth Graders. The geniuses of the book and the research, reporting, editing and writing processes are detailed in this New York Times article about the book.

Californicating Oregon

October 23rd, 2021

Peter Laufer transcends the borders of his hometowns in The Oregon Way. Other The Oregon Way op-eds from Peter Laufer include this paean to “Oregon Nice“.

Lane County becomes Lane County

October 23rd, 2021

Peter Laufer suggests in the Salem (Oregon) Statesman-Jounal that the name of Lane County be change to Lane County!

Bad guy:

Good guy:


Slow News, redux

October 23rd, 2021

Peter Laufer philosophizes about the Slow News Movement with Sapienza University of Roma Professor Christian Ruggiero in the Italian journal MicroMega.






Where Classroom 15 began

May 7th, 2021

The Roseburg News-Review special Classroom 15 section.

OR Quarterly & Classroom 15

May 7th, 2021

The University of Oregon splashes Classroom 15 in its alumni magazine, Oregon Quarterly.

Gimnasium 14 students pose with Zack Demars.



The NYT & Classroom 15

May 7th, 2021

The Times showcases Classroom 15


Turtle talk at ideacity

November 5th, 2020

Peter Laufer talked turtles at Moses Zaimer’s ideacity conference in Toronto.


October 3rd, 2020

Laufer’s latest book is Up Against the Wall: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border (Anthem Press).

I love this book. Up Against the Wall is an extraordinary contribution to the Mexican immigration debate. It’s a journey to a reality that we look at every day in this country but do not see. The United States has a historic opportunity to solve this problem now, avoiding worse consequences in the future.

– Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas

This is great reporting on a complex, delicate and controversial subject. Peter Laufer knows the American side of the border and the issue, but understands the Mexican one as well. It is a case well made for a different approach to a long-standing matter of dispute between the two countries. In the current debate about immigration in the United States, this is well worth reading.”

– Jorge G. Castañeda, former foreign minister of Mexico, professor of Latin American and Caribbean studies, New York University

Donald Trump (and all of us) must read this book to understand what walls really do for us and to us. Peter Laufer s investigation of barriers is so important at a time when we urgently need unity.

–Terry Phillips, former CBS News foreign correspondent

Peter Laufer has written a clear and compelling book, for a general audience, that develops the case for opening the Mexican-American border. The case he makes elegantly weaves his deep understanding of border issues into an eloquent narrative that is based on his journeys along the Mexican-American border. Laufer embellishes the case with his strong command of history and social science on border issues. For those asking for the best book available on why the Mexican-American border should be open, Peter Laufers Up Against the Wall is their answer.
— David Frank, professor of rhetoric, University of Oregon

This book is a highly compelling and thoughtful examination of one of the most critical issues of public importance in the 21st century. Moreover, it is a topic of enduring importance that transcends both time and place. The book is very well researched and written. The storytelling is highly engaging and immersive. It takes the reader on a powerful journey into the issue of borders and border walls and immigration, advancing understanding of the complex dynamics of the U.S. and Mexico border.”

– John Pavlik, professor of journalism and media, Rutgers University

I have spent my career debating borders, 100 percent of it on the opposite side of Peter Laufer s premise in Up Against the Wall. But whether as an inspiration for those who agree or a delightful intellectual exercise for those who don’t, this book is time very well spent.

– Mark Davis, talk show host, Salem Media Group

Fearlessly, Peter Laufer steps into the middle of the debate and states his case making points that will leave people shaking their heads. A primary text.

–  Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Across the Wire and The Devil’s Highway, professor, University of Illinois-Chicago

Peter Laufer offers a vivid chronicle of his experiences and encounters spanning many years as a veteran journalist of the US-Mexico borderlands. The stories that Laufer shares provide a resounding testament to the colossal irrationality and brutality of the border.

– Nicholas De Genova, professor, comparative cultural studies, University of Houston

Immigration & WorldOregon

September 24th, 2020

Peter Laufer spoke with WorldOregon on the topic of immigration and the southern border. Watch the video of their discussion here.


News Detox & The Big Story

September 14th, 2020

Peter Laufer spoke with The Big Story on the topic of taking a news detox. Listen here.

Oregon Wildfires of 2020

September 10th, 2020

Peter Laufer wrote a guest column for the Portland Business Journal about the impact of the 2020 Oregon wildfires on Oregonians, including himself.


Kicking the News Habit

September 4th, 2020

Peter Laufer recently wrote of his his experience with kicking the endless news habit in The Globe and Mail.


Laufer: private zoos on CNN

April 20th, 2020

Peter Laufer discusses the problem with private zoos with CNN Travel.


Media & war: Deseret News

January 10th, 2020

Peter Laufer spoke with Deseret News on the media’s role in saber-rattling rhetoric.



Hunting Neon in Nevada

April 17th, 2019

Peter Laufer and Shelia Swan Laufer spoke with KUNR on their project documenting neon displays in Nevada.

Turtles: The Register-Guard

December 2nd, 2018

Peter Laufer discusses Dreaming in Turtle with the Eugene Register-Guard.


Turtles: the New York Post

November 10th, 2018

Peter Laufer spoke with the New York Post on the international turtle trade.


Study Offshore vs. Trump Ban

September 8th, 2017

With University of Oregon Vice Provost for International Affairs Dennis Galvan Peter Laufer published this op-ed in the University’s hometown newspaper. University of Oregon students celebrate a summer term studying at their Rosario satellite campus:

State-Sanctioned Terror

September 8th, 2017

With his University of Oregon colleague Will Johnson Peter Laufer contributed this op-ed on state-sanctioned terrorism to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Mural in Argentina:


Freedom of Speech: Argentina

September 8th, 2017

With his University of Oregon colleague Will Johnson, Peter Laufer wrote this op-ed on free speech issues.

The Tiempo Argentino offices after they were attacked in the summer of 2016.

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

June 11th, 2015

Deutschland Radio reviewed the German-language edition of Peter Laufer’s book, Organic, published in Vienna by Residenz Verlag. The entertaining (and skeptical, review can be heard here.  And this is the compelling cover illustration from Bio? Die Wahrheit über unser Essen:

Sign that Post!

June 11th, 2015

There are, of course, appropriate times for anonymity, but Peter Laufer contends, in this op-ed placed in his hometown newspaper, that the commentary section of responsible news publications is not one of them. Some 250 comments followed its appearance, most of them just bolstering Laufer’s assertions.  Samples include this from someone calling him/herself Webfoot Gary: “What a snot! That does tell us a lot, doesn’t it?” And this from the self-identified ULURU, “Hey professor: ever heard of freedom of the press? Perhaps not.”  The Register-Guard adorned the op-ed with this spot-on illustration:

KGB ≠ Nostalgia

June 11th, 2015

Taking a break from the World Press Freedom Day events in Riga, Latvia, Peter Laufer visited the former KGB prison in the Baltic capital city.  The reality, of course, was stark, as he reported in this Oregonian op-ed.

Riga under a springtime moon, 2015.

Organic Gluttony

September 25th, 2014

Peter Laufer responded to a headline in his local hometown newspaper that bashed “organic” foodstuffs with this op-ed.  The Register-Guard illustrated its article with this image of the story’s protagonist:


Slow Utne Reader

September 25th, 2014

Fabled Utne Reader highlighted an excerpt from Peter Laufer’s Slow News in the magazine’s September 2014 issue, noting, “We can rationalize flicking on 24-hour news for a fix of what’s supposedly important; there may be something happening that’s important to know.”

The image the Utne Reader chose to illustrate the excerpt is potently mundane.
The Utne Reader caption: Award-winning journalist Peter Laufer brings wit and clarity to the news in his latest book, Slow News (Oregon State University Press, 2014). Laufer argues that both the field journalist and the home consumer can benefit from taking time to ruminate on the news. In this excerpt from Part Two, “Who Are the Media & What Are the Sources?” he suggests that turning off the 24-hour news altogether allows consumers to make their own decisions about what news is worth investigating.

Organic on KQED

September 10th, 2014

Peter Laufer joined Michael Krasny on his KQED “Forum” to talk organic food with the public radio audience.  A few days earlier he did the same with Geoffrey Riley on “The Jefferson Exchange” to the Jefferson Public Radio audience.

From the book Organic:

We rarely ascertain the origins of most organic foods we consume. That provenance is suspect at best and tainted at worst. It’s time to advance the debate from “Is organic better?” to “Is what’s sold as organic really organic?” We need to question the organic guarantees the marketplace promises consumers who pay premium prices for organic food, question the integrity of the organic food chain, and question the morality of sourcing high-priced organic food in locales where farm workers and food producers labor in abusive conditions. If we are what we eat, we need to know what we’re eating and how it came to our dinner plates.

The Origin of Jefferson

August 11th, 2014

Oregon Humanities magazine checks in with a feature on the origin of a few famous Oregon myths.  Of course the Elusive State of Jefferson is on the list and Peter Laufer reports on its genesis.


Meanwhile, across the state line at Humboldt State University in the fine Jefferson outpost of Arcada, the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations devoted its Issue 36 to the study of Jefferson.  Peter Laufer checked in with an article titled “All We Ask Is to Be Left Alone.”

More Organic Ink

August 11th, 2014

Earth News Journal calls Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling an “outstanding book” and journalist Jerry Kay talks with Peter Laufer about the work and what “organic” really means.  Meanwhile, in the Heartland, Michael Chevy Castranova, the Sunday editor of the Gazette in Cedar Rapids concludes after reading Organic,  “If you think ‘organic’ food from Kazakhstan will be as safe as items from, say, an Eastern Iowa grower, you’ve not been paying attention.”

NPR: Laufer “outright skeptic”

August 11th, 2014

On NPR’s “All Things Considered,” reporter Dan Charles noted how Peter Laufer’s skepticism led to the exposés in Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling.

The skeptical illustration from the NPR website about Organic:

Organic on the High Line!

July 20th, 2014

Check out the eye-catching billboard for Peter Laufer’s Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling across from New York’s High Line and looking down on Chelsea’s eateries and markets:

SLOW NEWS Provokes . . .

July 20th, 2014

Publishers Weekly calls Peter Laufer’s Slow News “a timely and provocative proposal for what journalist and broadcaster Laufer calls a slow news movement, featuring the author’s rules for a balanced and nutritious daily news diet beyond the frenetic blur of Internet headlines.”

More Organic Ink

July 20th, 2014

Salon quotes Peter Laufer calling the USDA Organic label “inappropriately seductive” in Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling.  A lovely example illustrates Lindsay Abrams’s wide-ranging interview.

Laufer’s hometown daily, The Register-Guard, calls him a “dogged truth digger” and and says his investigation “makes it clear that confusion and corruption are embedded within the $27 billion organics industry.”

Shelf Awareness awards Organic a starred review, telling its readers “Laufer shines a bright light on the lack of transparency and inconsistency in regulation and enforcement of the term [organic], the pervasive conflicts of interests (farmers and food processors must pay to be inspected and certified), and the comingling of conventional and organic products in the industry.”

Roundup Ready Milkweed

July 8th, 2014

At Moses Znaimer’s ideacity think tank in Toronto,

Peter Laufer introduced his idea for Monsanto Roundup Ready milkweed to an appreciative — if surprised — audience of Canadians understandably worried about the survival of their iconic Monarch butterfly population and its magical migration to Mexico.

Organic: Growing . . . !

July 8th, 2014

Peter Laufer’s book Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling is deemed “a lively, highly-informative exposé” by Kirkus Reviews.  The New York Post calls it a “must-read” and Publisher’s Weekly cites Laufer’s “skills as a writer and reporter” for creating “an interesting and edifying book.”  And the newspaper of record in Eugene, The Register Guard, alerts its readers in the University of Oregon hometown that “Laufer’s investigation makes it clear that confusion and corruption are embedded within the $27 billion organics industry.” Meanwhile Laufer penned this op-ed for the Washington Post regarding organic food labeling.

UNESCO Press Freedom Day

May 20th, 2014

Check out the documentary made by Peter Laufer and his University of Oregon colleagues Gabriel Martinez and Dan Morrison along with their School of Journalism and Communication students produced at UNESCO World Press Freedom Day events in San José, Costa Rica.

The iPad as Frisbee

May 20th, 2014

In an op-ed in his hometown newspaper, Peter Laufer recounts how his errant iPad is a reminder that privacy is passé.  Note the screen shot locating the iPad alongside Interstate 5 northbound, just south of the MacKenzie River crossing:

Jefferson in 1859

May 20th, 2014

As Yuba County in California considers joining the quixotic Jefferson “statehood” movement, Peter Laufer again puts the myth into persecutive in 1859 magazine.

Kirkus lauds Organic

May 20th, 2014

Peter Laufer’s book Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling is praised by Kirkus in a review that promises: “A lively, highly informative exposé capped by trips to Kazakhstan and Bolivia, where Laufer settles his questions about the walnuts and black beans he purchased.”

Organic Fraud?

March 28th, 2014

Watch the trailer for Peter Laufer’s book Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling.

Bill McKibben says about Laufer’s trek along the food chain, “Ever wonder if that ‘organic’ sticker on your produce is legit?  Peter Laufer did the work to find out, and the answers are equal parts fascinating and disturbing.”

Solar Farm = Cooked Birds?

March 28th, 2014

Peter Laufer took on mega-solar-energy farms in this op-ed for High Country News that promotes rooftop solar.  “Which should come first,” he asks, “protecting the threatened desert tortoise or creating expensive electricity for an already overpopulated California?”  In addition to the fowl (foul?), endangered Desert Tortoises are victims of the world’s largest solar plant along the Nevada-California border.

Roundup Ready Milkweed?

March 28th, 2014

Peter Laufer called on Ottawa, Washington and Mexico City to address to crises of Monarch butterfly habitat loss in this Toronto Globe and Mail op-ed.


Laufer offers paean to radio

February 28th, 2014

At UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, University of Oregon-UNESCO Institute for Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue co-Director Peter Laufer spoke about his passion for radio as a timeless communication medium.

Laufer at the Turtle Ball

February 28th, 2014


Peter Laufer gave the keynote address at the second annual Turtle Conservancy fundraiser, the Turtle Ball at the Bowery Hotel in New York.

More Jefferson

February 3rd, 2014

Peter Laufer joined the Oregon Public Broadcasting program “Think Out Loud” for an analysis of the status of the State of Jefferson broadcast live from Jacksonville, Oregon, where the precursor to Jefferson, Jackson Territory, was favored at a meeting of renegades back in 1854.

UNESCO World Radio Day

February 3rd, 2014

From UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, Peter Laufer discussed the unending potency of radio (no matter what new media innovations bring) for UNESCO World Radio Day.

Laufer & new UNESCO Institute

January 20th, 2014

UNESCO and the University of Oregon announced the new Institute for Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue, co-directed by Peter Laufer with his University colleague Steven Shankman.  The U.S. Mission to UNESCO queried Laufer about the Institute.

The State of Garbo

November 14th, 2013

Peter Laufer analyzed the secession movements in Oregon, California and Colorado in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times and High Country News.

In his book The Elusive State of Jefferson, Laufer offers an alternative to the southern Oregon and northern California secessionists:

I propose the Jeffersonians jettison Jefferson and call their place in the sun (and—maybe more often—the rain), Garbo. She is famous for wanting to be left alone. They want to be left alone, or so they say. They want to invent a new state. Greta Gustafs- son invented her name: Greta Garbo. Or director Mauritz Stiller invented it. The origin is unclear, just as is the origin of the state names Oregon and California.

Garbo. It has a nice look and ring to it. The typography is appeal- ing when it is attached to place names, as is the sound when the new state name is spoken in conjunction with its major cities. Klamath Falls, Garbo. Yreka, Garbo. Port Orford, Garbo. Add the zip code and it looks official: Ashland, Garbo 97520. Eureka, Garbo!

Garbo: enigmatic and private with a wry nod to celebrity. For a place where history —in fact and fancy—was created by the deft use of publicity, the name change to Garbo would put the former Jeffer- son (look how bland Jefferson already looks compared with Garbo!) in headlines around the world.

Garbo, an ideal name for a place that claims it just wants to be left alone.

Another Big Cat Kills

November 14th, 2013

At a wild cat sanctuary near Portland, Oregon, a cougar runs amok and kills a keeper.  Peter Laufer weighs in on the case and its ramifications with this op-ed in the Oregonian.


Elusive State of Jefferson

September 15th, 2013

Peter Laufer advocates changing the name of the elusive State of Jefferson to Garbo (after Greta) on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and in the Eugene (OR) Register-Guard and the Eureka (CA) Times-Standard.  Laufer’s book, The Elusive State of Jefferson is published by Globe Pequot Press.  The Medford (OR) Mail Tribune says Laufer finds the State of Jefferson “a pipe dream worth writing about.”

A fascinating account,” says Steve Bass at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Lively, vivid and compelling,” says University of Oregon Professor Steven Shankman, who adds, “Laufer reveals how the way we report on events has a profound effect on the events themselves and may, in some cases, create them.”

Keith Scribner, author of The Oregon Experiment, says, “With uncanny skill and a sharp eye,” Laufer “reveals conflicts that resonate with all of us.”