Broken Bootstraps: building empathy with video games

Broken Bootstraps: building empathy with video games

According to a Boston Magazine article from February 2016, Boston’s cost of living is 39.7 percent above the U.S. average, with groceries and health care running 26 percent above average, while the median household income in the city remains on par with the rest of the country. Only nine percent of today’s rental housing listings are within reach of households with $50,000 annual incomes, while a tiny one percent of listings are affordable to households with $25,000 annual incomes. 

Where do you fit in? 

Click here to play Broken Bootstraps

Today was Northeastern University’s School of Journalism hackathon Urban Tensions, run by professors Matt Carroll (of Spotlight fame), John Wihbey, Dietmar Offenhuber and Aleszu Bajak. The program itself was split into two halves: three 5-minute “lightning” talks followed by about 4 hours of actual creation. The idea was to build visualizations based on data available in Boston specifically.

We had three guest speakers, and I’m going to focus solely on Christine Dixon’s talk as it was what sparked my idea. (If you want to know more about the hackathon itself, Rowan Walrath posted a Storify from the event. Check that out here.  Continue reading “Broken Bootstraps: building empathy with video games”

Undocumented immigrants do not make United States less safe

Reposting from Ruggles Media, with a big thanks to Paxtyn for all the heavy lifting in the coding this piece!

Source: Undocumented immigrants do not make United States less safe

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Donald Trump, June 2015

Despite President Trump’s xenophobic speeches, the United States is actually getting safer. Since 1990, property crime and violent crime have decreased, while more unauthorized immigrants have entered the country. Although correlation doesn’t imply causation, the American Immigration Councilanalyzed U.S. Census data and concluded that foreign-born individuals are less likely to engage in criminal activity than American-born individuals.

Read the rest at Ruggles Media!


No, #OscarsSoWhite Isn’t Over

Rowena Lindsay and I wrote this piece up for Ruggles Media, Northeastern University’s School of Journalism’s storytelling site. Check out the page, and enjoy our piece on this year’s Oscar nominations!

It’s awards season in America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has produced its least-White list of nominations. Taking a step away from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2…

Source: No, #OscarsSoWhite Isn’t Over

Pit Crew vs Cowboys: Involving Families in the Wild West of Health Care

To the Northeastern community who missed Jason Rodriquez’s talk yesterday, you missed out. Being the terrible tech-addicted millennial multimedia journalist I am, I live-tweeted the talk and put it up on Storify if anyone wants to get a idea (albeit truncated) of what it was about.

Continue reading “Pit Crew vs Cowboys: Involving Families in the Wild West of Health Care”

Protesting While Brown

Some might call this protesting, others call it rioting. We’ll be neutral and call it what it is: civil unrest.

Sierra Exif JPEG
UMN fans rio–sorry, celebrating after a 2003 championship. (Wikimedia Commons)
Meanwhile, this is a protest. See the difference? (Wikimedia Commons)

This week, we’re focusing on the disparities in the media coverage of Americans who take to the streets to voice their opinions. And I swear, this isn’t even a case of the Hostile Media Effect! Brave New Films has a quick video on it the differences between the way the media talks about protests when the protestors are White or Black, so I’ll let them get the point across. (A note about BNF, I’m personally a tad skeptical of anyone who “challenges mainstream media with the truth” but you be the judge.)

(Admittedly, the title is misleading–you don’t ever learn why the Charleston Shooter Dylann Roof isn’t called a terrorist, but that’s another post for another time.)

The Washington Post has an excellent look into this if you want more info on the Black/White Dichotomy. However, we’re focusing today on the protestors at the Dakota Pipeline, or as they’re calling themselves, Water Protectors.

If you haven’t been following the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests, then let me give you the run down: Native Americans are protesting the DAPL, a pipeline that would run from Texas to Illinois, cutting through the Dakotas and Iowa. Protestors are concerned about the environmental impact of the pipeline, and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has sued for an injunction on the pipeline, which was granted, bringing the construction of the pipeline to a halt.

As expected, not everyone is happy about this. Matt Vespa, of the conservative website, wrote that the protestors are violent agitators who deserved to be pepper sprayed and attacked by dogs. Meanwhile, the protestors themselves are saying that they aren’t protestors, they’re protectors. In this video produced by Fusion, protestor Kandi Mossett says she is “protecting the very essence of what [she] is made up of, which is mostly water.”

“It’s just so much bigger than one pipeline, it’s the fossil fuel industry as a whole. It’s ultimately going to be something that comes back on us as humanity,” said Mossett. (This ties in nicely with some more hyper-local news about climate protests happening on Northeastern’s campus!)

Of course, we know that there is always a gap between supporters and opponents of a movement, and there likely always will be. Our language is too nuanced, too rich, and too divided to bridge those differences. But the truth itself isn’t divided. The truth lies between sides, between the peaks of protestor and protector, in a place where both terms are simultaneously true. It’s not a comfortable place to sit, to hold two truths that seem intangible. But we don’t exist in a Black/White dichotomous world; we’re all more fluid than that.