One year on, what have we learned? Join us for Interaction 22

INTERACTION_21_V6Skip to main content
Get merch ↗
← Back to day Day 2 schedule


Design built tools that broke journalism. Can we also build tools to fix it?

Catherine Woodiwiss

04 Feb, 6:20 pm

05 Feb, 2:20 am

05 Feb, 10:20 am

15 min

Thoughts and tips for a design practice that supports and empowers the journalism of tomorrow


Journalism’s ongoing “apocalypse” is well documented: Fake news is overrunning our social media feeds, publications are folding and laying off reporters by the thousands, and journalists are facing intimidation from powerful actors around the globe, including here in North America.

Sadly, some design-driven systems like Facebook have helped accelerate this apocalypse. These are perilous times for the news, and for our very sense of reality.

But when we consider the specific needs of publications and journalists in the industry, we find problems that a robust human-centered design practice is well-equipped to tackle. Namely: Can designers help journalists do their work better? And if so — how?

In this session, I will briefly outline the perilous problems facing journalism today—making the case that the most headline-grabbing problems (“fake news is taking over!”) are often the result of more tackleable problems that are going unresolved (like “how can I ensure my content gets to my readers directly?”).

Then, using examples from my work and others, I will highlight methodologies from service design, systems design, and design research that designers can employ to help journalists and publications build a more resilient, user-driven strategy.

I will conclude with some best practice tips for how designers can step beyond our design circles to proactively offer strategic support to journalism — and other civic industries in need.

Meet the speaker

Catherine Woodiwiss


Design Strategist, Modernist Studio

I am a design strategist at Modernist Studio, where I support clients in co-creating systems to drive human-centered products and services. Previously, I was journalist and deputy editor for Sojourners, an award-winning publication in Washington, D.C., with an annual readership of 5+ million. I have also written for The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Medium’s GEN, and my work has been featured in the New York Times.

Get in touch
Partner with us

Follow the movement

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
Subscribe to our newsletter
Code of conductPrivacy

Copyright 2004 > 2021 Interaction Design Association