William Yardley, previously a senior fellow, spent two decades writing about politics, the environment and other issues for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the Miami Herald. Before becoming a journalist, he worked in the musical history division of the Smithsonian Institution, where way back in 1993 he led the successful effort to acquire one of Prince’s “Yellow Cloud” guitars for preservation. He barely escaped the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in art history.

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