«Class of 2015

Zena Barakat

Zena Barakat ('15)

Designer and storyteller, IDEO (as of July 2015), San Francisco
zenab@stanford.edu, @zena_b

Zena Barakat used her fellowship to explore how to make watching videos on mobile a more delightful and engaging experience. She has spent much of her time at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school), learning how to transform organizational cultures to inspire more innovation and risk-taking. A professor of hers once declared, “dignity is the enemy of creativity.” She agrees, and it is now her mantra.

Journalism Challenge

Q: How can we make watching news videos on a cellphone be a more delightful, engaging and addictive experience?

A: The Vertical Future: It’s time for news organizations to make high quality, gorgeous vertical films that will be a better user experience for our mobile audiences.

Learn more about this Journalism Challenge »

Posts by Zena

Meeting in JSK Garage

11 ways to cure bad meetings – and be more creative and productive

When I heard a piece on NPR about how bad meetings are taking up more of our workdays, I tweeted the story and learned that I’m not the only one in our field who feels this way.

About Zena

Zena Barakat is designer and storyteller at IDEO in San Francisco. She is a former senior producer of video at The New York Times, where she was the creator and producer of the Times’ Emmy-nominated animated video series, “Modern Love,” based on the popular column. As a video journalist there, she covered politics, the arts, breaking news, and the New York region.

Barakat began her career in news and documentaries as a researcher for ABC News Nightline and This Week. She was then a producer for Bloomberg Television, National Public Radio and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). In 2010, a documentary she produced about lobbying and campaign finance, “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It later was released in theaters nationwide. 

She was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and spent her childhood in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. After living in Brooklyn for seven years, she now lives with her family in the Bay area.

Information on this page is from the fellowship year.