Kevin Nguyen

Digital Producer • ABC Australia • Sydney, Australia
Last edited August 28, 2019

Kevin is building a virtual learning environment based on an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and digital forensics curriculum he created to teach reporters how to use technology to unearth and vet online information.

He has created 20 hours worth of workshop material covering everything from tracking conspiracy or disinformation through bot networks, unmasking “anonymous” trolls and accounts targeting women online, geo-locating the point of a barrel bomb explosion in Syria to identifying manipulated images and videos.

Kevin conducted these hands-on workshops in his own news organization and in the U.S. at Frontline, CNN and ProPublica.

He says his virtual learning environment was inspired by the format used by Codeacademy, which he uses to teach himself SQL, and would aim to similarly create modules which are interactive, but entirely self-contained.

“Journalists, for better or worse, are highly pragmatic creatures and I found they have difficulty recalling information about these techniques and tools unless they’re given a story where they replicate the processes themselves. When you’re under stress you sometimes forget what tools are tucked away in your toolbox.

“My hope is that this will eventually become a collaborative project with input from reporters and researchers from across the industry, sharing their real-world experiences.”

The MJ Bear Fellowship Selection Committee said, “The work Kevin is doing could not be more timely, more urgent or more important. We applaud his efforts to educate colleagues as the industry battles ever-increasingly sophisticated disinformation.”

Said Kevin’s recommender Mark Davies, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC Australia) New South Wales editor, “He is an enthusiastic trainer who is fully capable of carrying out his proposed project and I am personally excited to see his virtual learning modules in action.

“In the nine months he has been employed at the ABC, he has transformed the way our reporters view digital and visual investigations and has brought fresh ideas and avenues of storytelling.”

Kevin has worked as a journalist and photographer at various Australian news organisations and since joining the industry in 2015 has reported from India, Hong Kong, New York, London and Dublin. Before joining ABC Australia last October, he was a verification journalist and researcher at Storyful where covered global conflicts, white nationalism and the detention of immigrants and asylum seekers in the Asia-Pacific region.

He presented on a panel about his work and closed networks at ONA 2018.

He is also the Digital Director of Media Diversity Australia, the nation’s cultural and ethnic media body, where he consults newsrooms around the country on appropriate language in cultural reporting and diverse hiring practices.

In a previous life, Kevin was a psychologist and cognitive researcher specializing in decision-making and the philosophy of behavioural science.