former deputy managing editor, editorial products and innovations, Associated Press, New York
Challenge: Develop a new award process that encourages journalists to create data visualizations that are beautiful and understandable to readers.
Shazna Nessa’s work blends leadership skills with a hands-on approach to problem-solving, right through to the nitty gritty of the actual realization of a project. This is reflected in her career as well as her time as a JSK Fellow, both through her involvement in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and time spent at engineering and computer sciences departments.
Through her fellowship work, she garnered deep insights into how strategic storytelling and design is crucial to engaging and enlightening readers in data visualization work. Working with experts — for example, from the worlds of user experience, cognitive science and human computer interaction — she has established the foundation of a new human-centered framework (“The Dazzles”) to measure what really resonates with readers.
Also at Stanford, Nessa sharpened her skills in entrepreneurship and innovation through full class participation, collaborating regularly with MBAs and engineering students. She worked in multidisciplinary teams at the d.school, which teaches creative processes for tackling big problems.
Additionally, she was a guest speaker at “The Aesthetics of Data” class at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics and frequently mentored Stanford students.
Developing techniques journalists can use to create data visualizations that are beautiful, informative and that everyone understands.
Shazna Nessa unveils her plan for motivating journalists to create data visualizations that are not just beautiful, but also easily understood.
Shazna Nessa’s interdisciplinary approach to journalism was developed early in her career as she toggled between jobs in storytelling, design and technology while pursuing a degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. During that time she taught new users about the internet at the Pompidou Center, worked in the tech department of a startup, produced multimedia content for a leading publisher and designed and programmed websites. In 2000 she became an interactive designer in the fast-paced newsroom of the Associated Press in New York. In 2007 she helped launch Condé Nast Portfolio.com as executive multimedia producer and later returned to AP to become the deputy managing editor of editorial products and innovations. That role included deeper engagement with audience and sustainability, along with oversight of a global department that designed interactive stories and data journalism tools.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.