Brandon Tensley is a D.C.-based national political writer at CNN, where he covers the intersection of culture and politics. Previously, he was the associate editor at New America, a host of Slate’s Outward podcast, and a contributing writer at Pacific Standard, where he covered culture.
In 2018, Brandon was selected as a fellow for the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Taiwan-U.S. Policy Program, which brings together mid-level experts to bolster their understanding of Taiwan’s role in the world. Before moving to D.C., he was a 2015-16 Luce Scholar in Asia, ricocheting between Myanmar and Thailand. Brandon was an editor and a staff writer at The Irrawaddy, arguably the foremost independent magazine covering news, culture, and politics in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. He was among the publication’s small group of journalists who covered Myanmar’s 2015 election, which many observers billed as the former hermit state’s most credible and democratic election in more than two decades.
Prior to crisscrossing Asia, Brandon received an M.Phil. (a master’s) in politics from the University of Oxford in 2015. He was a 2012 American Fellow of Humanity in Action in Denmark, as well as a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholar in Germany. Brandon received a B.A. in German studies and political science from Furman University in 2012.
Brandon’s work has been widely published, including in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Foreign Affairs, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Pacific Standard, Slate, and The Washington Post, and has been recognized by The New York Times. He’s a member of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, an organization dedicated to increasing reporters and editors of color in investigative journalism, and GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.