John Poole

John W. Poole is a multimedia producer for NPR. He makes documentary films and multimedia presentations for the web and digital platforms, extending the reach and power of traditional photojournalism with moving pictures and sound.

In 2007, Poole came to NPR to help develop a visual media strategy, combining the organization's audio storytelling strength with still and motion photography. His work has led to two national Emmy nominations for the NPR Music series 'Project Song' and one for an investigative series on traumatic brain injury.

Over his 15-year career, Poole has covered a range of subjects, including national elections in South Africa and the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath, the effects of global climate change, and conservation issues in Peru and Namibia.

Poole was part of a small team of visual journalists who developed the documentary video department at The Washington Post in 1998. That work was recognized with the first-ever Edward R. Murrow award for multimedia journalism in 2004.His work on a feature story about violinist Joshua Bell contributed to a Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

The White House News Photographers Association has honored Poole with more than 20 awards for his work, including the 2005 Video Editor of the Year. His film, "The Sheriff of Gay Washington," produced for The Washington Post, screened in festivals across the country and was optioned by HBO Documentary Films in 2006.

The Great Wall of China. A walk on the moon. Genome sequencing. How did we humans, who share almost all of our DNA with chimpanzees, end up doing all that, while they ended up pretty much where they started?

Some scientists will tell you it was language, or tools, or brainpower.

A hunter with bow and arrow, in a steamy sub-Saharan savanna, stalks a big, exotic animal. After killing and butchering it, he and his hunt-mates bring it back to their families and celebrate.

This enduring scenario is probably what many of us have stuck in our heads about how early humans lived. It's an image with drama and danger. And it happens to coincide with Western ideas about the division of labor and the nuclear family that were prevalent in the 1960s when this so-called "Man the Hunter" theory first emerged.

Planet Earth is a vast place, with humans scattered all over it.