Beth Spotswood

Beth Spotswood is Alta's digital editor, podcast host, events manager, and a contributing writer. In addition to her work for Alta, Beth writes a Thursday column for the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son (who is lovingly referred to as Baby Alta by her coworkers.)

Alta Asks Live: Pandemics of California’s Past

What were the plagues and pandemics of California history and how did we survive them?Historian William Deverell joins Alta Asks Live to try and answer questions of our past, and find a little hope in our present.

Alta Asks Live: Convo with Cartoonists 

Where do cartoons come from? How are jokes developed, and where do artists mine for ideas? Why don’t we see more women cartoon artists? Two Alta contributing cartoonists join us to answer these questions — and more!

Alta Asks Live: David L. Ulin

Books Editor David L. Ulin joins Alta Asks Live to discuss the groundbreaking work of author Philip K. Dick, how the sci-fi genre is especially timely right now, and the challenges Alta writers faced while trying to report during a nationwide shelter-in-place.

Shanee Stopnitzky, founder of the Community Submersibles Project, hopes to raise awareness of the oceans.

Come Dive with Me

No scuba gear required: A Berkeley submarine collective wants to bring San Francisco Bay sea life up close and personal for the general public.

Sonnen Eco 5kWh

Power to the People

Planned outages have sparked the use of more in-home batteries and generators. Here’s how to keep the lights on.

Alta Asks Live: L.A. Historical Home Tour

Take a fascinating peek inside some of Los Angeles’s most storied homes. Architectural historian David Silverman shares true tales and rare photographs of incredible L.A. properties.

Alta Asks Live: True Crime

Writers Katherine Ellison and Zack Ruskin join Alta’s Beth Spotswood for a virtual panel discussion on true crime, trends in the genre, and the cases that haunt us.

Spring 2020 Nonfiction Picks

Complicating the ordinary, letters from home, the arrival of a meteorite, and the disappearance of a son: E.J. Koh, Dinah Lenney, Harry Dodge, and Roman Dial take us into very different, very real worlds with these nonfiction selections. 

Los Angeles civil rights leader Floyd C. Covington, 1942.

California’s Civil Rights Pioneers

In this week's newsletter, we take a look at California's unsung civil rights pioneers including Floyd C. Covington, Delilah L. Beasley, and Bayard Rustin. 

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery aims to be a shrine for coffee lovers.

What’ll It Be? Alta’s Favorite West Coast Coffee.

Michael Bauer’s edible (and drinkable) tour of Seattle inspires a caffeinated poll.

The Tomb of the Unknown “Wetback”

How does the death of an immigrant killed in the 1950's by Anaheim police and a 2019 family funeral converge into one incredible moment for Gustavo Arellano? He joins the Alta podcast to explain.   

Recorded Live: Jazz Singer Paula West Gets Personal

In this episode, recorded on November 13, 2019 at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley California, West discusses her process—and her politics— in this intimate evening of conversation and music.

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