Author Biographies

Mimi Onuoha, Research Fellow, Data & Society

Mimi Onuoha is a formerly London-based American artist and researcher who uses data and code to explore new forms of storytelling, social critique, and interaction. Her work explores how technology and culture influence and respond to each other, as seen through datasets representing social structures and experiences.

Most recently, Onuoha was selected as part of the inaugural class of Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows, where she created Pathways,50 a data storytelling project derived from Londoner’s mobile data. She also served as a visiting researcher at the Royal College of Art. Previously, she was a research resident at NYU, as well as a technology consultant for Brooklyn-based nonprofit Project SAFE.

Onuoha has a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and is currently a fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute, where she is combining ethnographic research methods with emerging data practices to investigate potential strategies for DIY and crowdsourced data collection.

Twitter: @thistimeitsmimi. Website:

Jeanne Pinder, Founder and CEO,

Jeanne Pinder is founder and CEO of, a New York City journalism startup bringing transparency to the health care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs. uses shoe-leather journalism, crowdsourcing, database sourcing and curation, and data visualization to reveal the mysteries of pricing. The company partners with big news organizations like KQED public radio in San Francisco, KPCC public radio in Los Angeles, WHYY public radio in Philadelphia, and MedPage Today to collect and reveal pricing information. has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Ford Foundation via the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the McCormick Foundation via J-Lab at American University. Current partnerships are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Pinder founded the company after volunteering for a buyout from The New York Times, where she worked for almost 25 years. At The Times, she was an editor on the foreign desk, a reporter on the business desk, and the deputy founding editor of the Circuits technology section, as well as an editor on the metro desk and the creator of a flexible work policy for the organization. Before, she worked at The Des Moines Register; The Associated Press; and The Grinnell Herald-Register, her family’s twice-weekly independent paper, which her grandfather purchased in 1949.

A Russian and Slavic linguistics major in college and graduate school, she taught Russian and lived in what was then the Soviet Union. Read more about how crowdsourcing at works in a Tow Center blog post.

Twitter: @chcosts. Website:

Jan Schaffer, Executive Director, J-Lab

Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, runs one of the nation’s top incubators for news entrepreneurs and innovators and is a leading thinker on the emerging new media landscape.

A Pulitzer Prize-winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, she left daily journalism to lead pioneering initiatives in civic journalism, interactive, and participatory journalism. She launched J-Lab in 2002 to help newsrooms use digital technologies to engage people in public issues. The center helped to fund 104 startups and pilot projects. J-Lab is the successor to the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, a $14-million project Schaffer previously led that funded 120 pilot projects in U.S. newsrooms.

For more than 20 years, Schaffer held a range of reporting and editing positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer. As a federal court reporter, she helped write a series that won freedom for a man wrongly convicted of five murders. The stories led to the civil rights convictions of six Philadelphia homicide detectives and won several national journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. Also while covering federal courts, she broke the Philadelphia Abscam story about the FBI sting operation that used agents posing as Arab sheiks. She was sentenced to jail for six months for refusing to reveal her sources; the sentence was stayed on appeal.

Twitter: @janjlab, @jlab. Website:

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