Challenge: How can computational journalism methods be used to transcend the fragmented California media market and create dialogue and civic engagement across this vast nation-state?
Julie Makinen explored design thinking, startup methodologies, digital advertising, media entrepreneurship, California history, computational journalism and crowdsourcing at Stanford. This coursework led her to wonder whether modern technology offers tools to allow today’s journalists to do what even legendary California media moguls such as William Randolph Hearst or Otis Chandler could not: Create a forum for news and opinion that reaches — and represents — the full expanse of the nation’s most populous state. In spring 2017 she will be conducting experiments on location-based news aggregation and creating conversations between radically different California communities.
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Julie Makinen’s eclectic journalism career has taken her around the world and through various roles, from metro reporter at The Washington Post to film editor at The Los Angeles Times to foreign correspondent and bureau chief. She’s seen bombs go off in Iraq, trained journalists in Afghanistan, investigated the demographics of Academy Awards’ judges, chronicled democracy protests in Hong Kong and the plight of earthquake victims in Nepal. But Makinen is most proud of the journalistic collaborations she’s helped create. In 2004, for instance, as a mentor with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, she was part of a team of Western journalists who hired and trained Afghans to create Pajhwok, a news agency in that country. She is on the board of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, and is chair of its Media Freedoms Committee, which tracks and publicizes Chinese government efforts to restrict coverage of certain topics by threatening, harassing and intimidating foreign journalists. Her hobbies include playing the harp and making ice cream.