Civil Beat Staff

Thomas Heaton

Thomas is a reporter for Civil Beat. He joined the news outlet in 2021 as a Li Center for Global Journalism Fellow at Honolulu Civil Beat, position supported by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Institute for Nonprofit News. The Li Center was established to prepare journalists to work, think and report globally.

At Civil Beat, Thomas focuses on issues in and around the Pacific.

Having recently completed a Master of Arts at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Thomas has previously worked in regional and national news organizations in New Zealand and Nepal. 

A Kiwi by birth, Thomas made his start with a regional daily newspaper in New Zealand, where he covered social issues, health, local politics and general news. He was a finalist for Regional Reporter of the Year at the national media awards for his coverage of regional flooding, and regional health care issues, in his first year of reporting.

Later working for Cuisine magazine and Stuff.co.nz as a food reporter, Thomas wrote about everything from fisheries and agriculture to Filipino pinoy and the country’s national pie awards. 

He eventually followed his stomach to the base of the Himalayas, where he worked for The Nepali Times and The Kathmandu Post. At the Post he was deputy culture and arts editor, and wrote long-form pieces about the food industry, culture, tourism, travel, and restaurant reviews. He spent a few weeks trekking too.

Thomas has a propensity for slow travel and secondary fun, and he is always planning the next meal. Despite his army brat upbringing and nomadic life, the Pacific has always been home. He is glad to be back.

Feel free to contact him with tips and ideas at theaton@civilbeat.com, or find him on Twitter and Instagram

‘Ticking Ecological Time Bombs’: Thousands Of Sunken Ships From WWII Are Rusting At The Bottom Of The Pacific Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2022

‘Ticking Ecological Time Bombs’: Thousands Of Sunken Ships From WWII Are Rusting At The Bottom Of The Pacific

Earthquakes, storm surges and other natural disasters could mean environmental catastrophe if oil and other hazardous material spill out.

Solomon Islanders Did More Than Just Save JFK During World War II Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2022

Solomon Islanders Did More Than Just Save JFK During World War II

The people of the South Pacific nation, the site of several battles, were integral to the Allied war effort, rescuing hundreds of servicemen behind enemy lines.

What’s Next For The Solomon Islands? Experts Say The UXO Problem Is Shocking Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2022

What’s Next For The Solomon Islands? Experts Say The UXO Problem Is Shocking

But not much can be done until a U.S.-funded nationwide survey documents where the unexploded bombs are located.

 

The Solomon Islands Is Doing Little To Help Its People Deal With Deadly UXO Thomas Heaton/Civil Beat/2022

The Solomon Islands Is Doing Little To Help Its People Deal With Deadly UXO

Citizens in the Pacific nation are growing frustrated with continued deaths and injuries. But government officials point to more pressing needs and political turmoil.

Other Countries Get Money To Clean Up Bombs And Mines. Why Not The Solomon Islands? Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2022

Other Countries Get Money To Clean Up Bombs And Mines. Why Not The Solomon Islands?

International treaties have directed billions of dollars to countries ravaged by war. But World War II was a long time ago in the Solomons and help has passed it by.

World War II Is Still Killing People In The Solomon Islands Thomas Heaton/Civil Beat/2022

World War II Is Still Killing People In The Solomon Islands

As China and the U.S. jockey for control of the Pacific, little attention is being paid to the bombs that litter the island nation.

How Much Should Hawaii Discount Electric Rates For High-Tech Farmers? Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

How Much Should Hawaii Discount Electric Rates For High-Tech Farmers?

A 2019 law aspired to help farmers grow large amounts of food indoors or in greenhouses by providing savings on electricity. But critics say the current proposal falls short.

Ige Intends To Veto Healthy Soils Program. Advocates Say That’s Misguided Ku‘u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2022

Ige Intends To Veto Healthy Soils Program. Advocates Say That’s Misguided

Gov. David Ige wants to nix the program because there is a soil survey in the works. But supporters say it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Farmers Want Action From Hawaii Governor Candidates, Not Lip Service Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Farmers Want Action From Hawaii Governor Candidates, Not Lip Service

Farmers and ranchers feel investing in agriculture has become more of a buzzword than an actual concern for the executive branch.