GoogleNewsLabEssay 4 .pdf

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By:​ ​Eva Scazzero
On the night that Donald Trump is announced 45th President-elect of The United States
of America I find a twenty-year-old student crying in fetal position in my bed. She’s
black, female, and rhetorically asking, “What am I supposed to do now?”
A few days later, the New York Police Department visits my dormitory three times over
a six hour period to investigate hate crimes on The New School university campus.
Manhattan resembles a confusion comparable to the one I experienced as a first grader
on 9/11.
After a week of this, along with anti-Trump protests outside my window, it becomes
clear to me that my skills as a designer, advocate, and creative journalist are more
important than ever.
This election was a failed experiment in an internet-dependent campaign cycle. Social
media feeds and click-bait news became tools for cementing personal biases rather
than discussing issues and policies. The trust between media outlets and consumers
has been exhausted. The Google News Lab, and Matter in particular, would be a fitting
environment for me to rethink what innovation looks like in our polarized world. The
difficult question is: What is the responsibility of media companies when the voices of
the poor and marginalized are silenced?
I fell in love with design thinking as a powerful means for activism as a student at The
New School. The partnership between the Journalism + Design program and the Knight
Foundation introduced me to design methods for understanding consumers in a
multi-device landscape. I’ve had the chance to learn from User Experience Researchers
and Graphic Editors at The New York Times. I’ve been in classes taught by the Virtual
Reality Editor at The Wall Street Journal, an Audio Editor at Buzzfeed, an Audience
Engagement Editor at The Intercept, and several other professionals who work in 21st
century storytelling.
Last March I received a grant to attend SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, immersing
myself in product-driven conversations and grasping the urgency to democratize data
into business models. Since then, I’ve been studying Interactive Design at Parsons
School of Design to compliment my Liberal Arts degree. I’ve gained fundamental skills
in front end design and development. Most recently I’ve been experimenting with Swift
to explore creating for iOS. This past semester I made a selfie filter app using mouth

detection in AVFoundation to bring awareness to The Southern Poverty Law Center’s
report on The Trump Effect on U.S schools.
Being a Google News Lab Fellow at Matter this summer is an opportunity for me to be
around like-minded people with a similar excitement to integrate the changes in
technology for the good of the world. I’m hoping for support in my effort to preserve “an
informed and connected public (as) the bedrock of democracy” as Corey Ford
emphasizes in Nieman Lab’s Predictions for 2017 Journalism.
This past election brought to the surface, in a painful way, the breadth and width of the
divide in which we find ourselves. On November 8th a sidewalk graphic of Hillary
Clinton’s face outside my apartment read #HillzforPrez. On November 10th a Hitler
mustache was drawn over her face. We have a unique opportunity, in the age of
algorithms and social media, to build bridges using any innovative tool we can find. I’m
eager to be part of such a process this summer with Matter.

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