This is a candidate for the 2023-24 ONA Board of Directors election
Robin Kwong leads the newsletters, rankings and audience voices teams as new formats editor at The Wall Street Journal.
Robin pioneered the Journal’s email challenges and other interactive news formats. Prior to joining the Journal as newsroom innovation chief in 2019, Robin spent 13 years with the Financial Times in reporting, editing and senior management roles. He once scored an exclusive interview by going into a prison to visit the disgraced former president of Taiwan. While at the FT, he created the Uber Game, an award-winning news game that has been played by more than half a million people around the world.
Robin is drawn to spaces where journalism intersects with other disciplines. He is co-founder of the Contemporary Narratives Lab, which seeks to create artist-journalist collaborations. He is an honorary fellow of the chartered Association for Project Management in the UK and is on the committee of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference.
He is a graduate of Yale University and lives in New York.
Robin’s vision for the future of digital journalism
I am an optimist about the future of digital journalism. There is still so much more we can do to use technology to understand and serve people’s news needs, to facilitate reporting, to present journalism in engaging formats, to filter away the noise, to spark curiosity, to make the news a joyful experience, to foster empathy, to create community spaces for civic discussion…the list goes on.
But the reality is that while pretty much every journalist is a digital journalist these days, most reporters and editors are limited in what they can do with technology by the tools provided by their newsroom, the constraints of their content management systems, and the demands of platforms and distribution channels built primarily for non-journalistic content.
It is possible to navigate – and change – this landscape, but that requires new skills, and literacy in new domains. To better use technology in journalism, we need more product-literate newsroom leaders, more journo-coders and more editors who want to be good, inclusive managers.
We also need to more actively draw expertise from other disciplines. Game designers are experts in creating engaging, legible user interfaces. Churches, co-ops and open-source software projects all operate sustainable member-driven communities. Ethnographic practices are widely used by tech companies to deeply understand the needs, problems and behavior of their customers.
My vision for ONA is that it can become a vector for bringing these skills and literacies into digital journalism. My hope is that it can do so by supporting its members through training, knowledge sharing, and creating opportunities for journalists to immerse themselves in these new areas. My belief is that it can be done, and I would love to have the chance to make it happen by serving on the ONA board.