My role at GCA is a Craig Newmark Journalist Scholar.
In 2013, I co-founded a journalism nonprofit to cover the revolution and ensuing war in Ukraine. With every trip to Ukraine, I realized how important connectivity would be to making or breaking the movement. During one trip, the regime sent intimidating text messages to protesters and tapped phones. Another trip came on the heels of a massive cyber attack on the power grid. Elections and war intel were clouded by the activity of bots and disinformation agents. To date, at least 13,000 people have died and millions have been displaced. I have seen the trauma caused by hybrid war–the sort that is wielded with weapons and information technology. The GCA and I share the belief that cyber risk mitigation is about more than preventing virtual damage. GCA can and does uniquely contribute to making a more peaceful world in a tangible way, ensuring the material well-being of all affected by the Internet.
From 2016-2019, I was a producer for a daily global-issues talk show on WBEZ, the NPR station in Chicago. Having a social justice-oriented journalistic framework, we looked to discuss stories most under-reported by American media. In a globalized world, stories like Uyghur detention in northwest China or constitutional crises in Honduras have consequences in our own lives. The clothes we buy, the food we eat, the energy we use, the ideas we share can now begin or end in almost any part of the world. I learned that parochial traditions of local news can’t effectively cover local issues without global understanding. They can’t serve people, since people don’t organize their thoughts, fears, and beliefs like a newspaper organizes sections: locally, nationally, internationally. People are whole. I learned that many of the challenges we face locally have antecedents elsewhere. That means that people in other parts of the world have experience innovating a problem, solving an issue that arose there first. This has helped me understand some of the challenges GCA hopes to address, from my personal computer, to massive server farms, to a computer across the world.
What I like best about working at GCA is how deeply knowledgeable and committed all of my GCA colleagues are to making the world a safer place. As someone who had an amateur understanding of cybersecurity before joining the GCA, it’s been helpful to understand real threats versus perceived ones. Technical literacy, like media literacy, is one of my biggest takeaways, and is something I hope to share more broadly once my one-year fellowship ends.
What is the last book you read?
I’m currently reading New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle, which has proven to be the perfect way of bridging my training in social theory to work at the GCA.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I like to play the bandura (though I don’t often share!), which is the 60-stringed hand-plucked indigenous instrument of Ukraine. I mostly like to sing, though, having belonged to a small handful of semi-professional choirs over the years.