Our Story

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In February 2017, the MIT Media Lab hosted Misinfocon, a creative studio aimed at combating misinformation and promoting trust in journalism. Our team had came to Cambridge from around the country – from New York, San Francisco, Portland, Maine, and Washington, DC – and we were united by our passion for the intersection of data, journalism, and storytelling.

During the opening pitch session, Hamdan Azhar discussed his experiences growing up in a little known part of Brooklyn called Marine Park. “Why is it that everyone has heard of Williamsburg but no one has heard of Marine Park?” he wondered. Could the media be playing a role in driving this attention inequality?

Luckily, among our team, we had a strong, complementary set of skills in data munging, analysis, design, and data visualization. Over the next 36 hours, we worked together to create a proof of concept for a quantitative analysis of news inequality based on data from New York and Maine. Check out some of our findings here!

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Over the next year, we’re excited to build upon our existing work, scale out our findings to more outlets and cities, and build a tool to allow newsrooms to conduct similar analyses using their own data.