An editor at Vanity Fair, Merrill was formerly an AP correspondent based in West Africa. He has reported from numerous African countries—including Ivory Coast, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola—as well as America and Europe. He is a cofounder of Everyday Africa, a photography project that uses cell phone images to rise above stereotypes of the continent. His writing, which covers everything from the environment to travel to culture and politics, has appeared in Vanity Fair, Wired, Departures, The New Republic, and Good, among other publications. Merrill was a Peace Corps volunteer in the mid-1990s and later earned a master's in international affairs from Columbia University. He now lives in New York.