Each spring when the clocks change, we check in with our network to share what we’ve been up to, and to hear more about your latest projects. Drop us a line about how you have been weathering the long winter.

As you’ll see, we’ve been busy forecasting global information futures, lobbying for inclusion in emerging platforms, translating media research to spur public discussion, and getting more than a little creeped out about AI. Want to join the fun? You’ll find several ways to get involved below.

—Jessica Clark, Director, Dot Connector Studio

Engage today with the new Knight Commission

What do the student activists from Parkland High School have in common with conspiracy theorists who spread doubt about the shooting? How do Conservative Evangelical Christians use the Bible to interpret the news? Why does misinformation spread so quickly, and why does partisanship make it so much worse?

These are some of the questions we’re exploring on the Medium site of the Knight Commission for Trust, Media and Democracy. The bi-partisan Commission is meeting this year to develop recommendations and a report on what we need to do as a society to improve trust. Nancy Watzman, Dot Connector Studio’s director of strategic initiatives, is leading the Knight Foundation’s efforts to reach out to the public for comments.

> How you can get involved: Please visit and lend us your insight.

Wikimedia’s future: See our final report!

In 2017 Dot Connector Studio worked with Lutman & Associates to investigate the future of media, technology, learning, and the open internet for the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2030 strategy process. The research culminated in this January 2018 report. Send us a note if you’d like to know more.

Making a New Reality series kicks off

Dot Connector’s Jessica Clark and Carrie McLaren are editing and producing an ambitious research projectMaking a New Reality is authored by Kamal Sinclair with funding from the Ford Foundation and supplemental support from the Sundance Institute. Monthly installments examine issues related to increasing equity and inclusion in emerging media. Here’s what she’s covered so far:

#1 The High Stakes of Limited Inclusion: Kamal sets the stage by outlining the definitionscategories, and methodologies for her research process.

#2 Challenging the Innovator Stereotype…and Other Concerns of Bias in Emerging Media: Kamal recounts attending numerous innovation conferences where executives claim that their hiring protocols are based on meritocratic values that don’t take race or gender into account. She challenges this approach, writing Often the spark of invention and innovation comes from the cross-pollination of ideas. So, diversity is actually an essential component of innovation.”

#3 The Radical Opportunity…Strategies to Mitigate Bias in Emerging Media: This month’s pieces shed light on the blindspots surrounding the practice of allyship in media production, the complexity of explicitly fostering diversity in media organizations and the importance of promoting awareness of everyone’s unconscious bias.

#4 Silos, Groupthink and Knowledge Ghettos: Organizations fall victim to groupthink and knowledge ghettos when working in a narrowly focused field. In this issue, Kamal explores ways to counter this phenomenon, noting that “two critical counters are to work with diverse groups of people and to include members outside the group in meetings and decision-making.” She also addresses biased algorithms and the need for collaborative design in confronting disruptions caused by AI.

>How you can get involved: Contribute a response via Medium.

See what’s new at Immerse

Want to join the conversation about emerging nonfiction storytelling? Dive into this publication, which Jessica launched in late 2016 with the Tribeca Film Institute, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, and the Fledgling Fund. Each month Immerse offers deep reads, upcoming events for digital storytellers, and conversations with makers and thinkers.

Highlights from the last couple of months:

Issue #13: We consider the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in storytelling in an issue edited by Immerse co-founder Sarah Wolozin. Artist Lauren McCarthy discusses the rise of AI personal assistants. Shirin Anlen, an interactive creator and a fellow at MIT’s OpenDocLab, makes the claim that since much of AI and machine learning is based on interpretation of human data, it is inevitable for AI to experience mental illness.

Issue #14: When it comes to increasingly realistic digital media, Mark Atkin asks, who owns our depictions? Also this month, don’t miss reports from Brett Gaylor of the Mozilla Foundation on Stories of Surveillance and Zeina Abi Assy on TFI’s Immigration Co/Lab. Plus, Zohar Kfir explains how VR serves as a useful medium for her interactive documentary Testimony, which allows survivors of sexual violence to tell their stories.

>How you can get involved: Subscribe to the Immerse newsletter today, or send your story ideas to editor@immerse.news

Eager to fund media? Here’s how.

Over at Media Impact Funders, Jessica helped produce the newly updated version of Journalism and Media Grantmaking: Five Things You Need to Know and Five Ways to Get Started, with support from the Wyncote Foundation.

Journalist Michele McLellan authored the original guide, produced in 2011. Now, she offers an expanded analysis of how the field has changed, informed by a distinguished group of media funders who offered hard-earned lessons from their own practice.

The updated version was launched at February’s Knight Media Forum. Check out some of our impressions from the event here.

Meet our latest associate

We’ve got some new blood at Dot Connector Studio, with the addition of John Morrison. John works with others to solve complex and ambiguous organizational problems. He’s worked across several industries since graduating with a degree in economics and theology from Boston College in 2014. In addition to his work supporting Dot Connector’s strategy and research needs, he also works full-time at a financial technology startup based in San Francisco.

We’ve also been busy:

In our off hours…

  • Jessica is continuing her long-running series of photos of public art, gobbling up Poppy Z. Brite’s books after a recent jaunt to the Crescent City, and looking forward to some time off the grid in May.
  • Katie is cheering on the Parkland, Florida, teens as they change the world, and reliving her own high school years by binging ER along with Everything Sucks!—Netflix’s series about AV and drama club high school kids, set in 1996.
  • Nancy is skiing, looking forward to seeing Hamilton with her family in Chicago, and starting to think about matzah ball production.
  • Carrie is working with the NYC Dept. of Education and community members in her school district to develop a plan to integrate their middle schools. And somehow she got roped into designing the yearbook for her kid’s school.
  • Angelica is discovering the joy of endless Battlestar Galactica episodes, screening Justice Matters films for Filmfest DC, and waiting for spring.
  • Michelle is trying to figure out how to get her rescue pup to stop eating sticks and planning a summer trip to Mexico City.

Image credit: Sprout by Agne Alesiute from the Noun Project