Civil Beat Staff

Thomas Heaton

Thomas is a Li Center for Global Journalism Fellow at Honolulu Civil Beat. The position is 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

The Pandemic Is Taxing Pacific Nations’ Already Strapped Health Systems Lorrie Graham/ AusAID

The Pandemic Is Taxing Pacific Nations’ Already Strapped Health Systems

Island nations have long been hard-pressed to deal with serious medical conditions and disease. The coronavirus is not helping.

US Coast Guard Steps In To Help Samoa Enforcement Effort DVIDS/ Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Wyrick

US Coast Guard Steps In To Help Samoa Enforcement Effort

Coast Guard cutter Oliver Berry has spent September patrolling Samoan waters after the Pacific nation’s fleet was left underpowered.

Quad Leaders Meet After Pacific Concerns Voiced Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Quad Leaders Meet After Pacific Concerns Voiced

The leaders of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India have finished an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C., as China looks on.

Small Island States Call For Aid, Action YouTube/AOSIS Media

Small Island States Call For Aid, Action

Issues are being raised ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Seasonal Farm Work Has Been A Lifeline For Pacific Islanders. The Pandemic Made It Harder Courtesy: Peter Bumseng

Seasonal Farm Work Has Been A Lifeline For Pacific Islanders. The Pandemic Made It Harder

Thousands of Pacific Island workers were stranded in New Zealand and Australia when the pandemic began. Others were stuck at home.

Japan’s Plan To Discharge Nuclear Waste Into The Pacific Worries Island Nations Susanna Loof / IAEA

Japan’s Plan To Discharge Nuclear Waste Into The Pacific Worries Island Nations

The effects and memory of U.S. nuclear testing endures in the Pacific. “It is a level up from urgent for us,” one Pacific leader says.

 

American Samoa Reports First Covid-19 Case Eddy23/Wikimedia Commons

American Samoa Reports First Covid-19 Case

The U.S. territory has been closed since March last year, and opened up its Hawaiian Airlines link on Monday.

China Bids For A Place in Pacific Trade Deal Gobierno de Chile via Wikimedia Commons

China Bids For A Place in Pacific Trade Deal

Pioneered by Barack Obama, the Pacific trade pact, formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was initially seen as a means to balance China’s increasing influence.