FELLOW AT HARVARD’S SHORENSTEIN CENTER ON MEDIA, POLITICS, AND PUBLIC POLICY, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, PROFESSOR, AND LECTURER. SENIOR WRITER AT FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM DURING THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Farai Chideya has combined media, technology, and socio-political analysis during her 25-year career as an award-winning author, journalist, professor, and lecturer. She is currently a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, studying media analytics, staff and content diversity and business models. She covered the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a Senior Writer at FiveThirtyEight.com, with a focus on voter demographics and data. She was previously a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University, and has also taught at the University of Southern California. Chideya is the author of six books, the most recent of which is 2016’s The Episodic Career: How to Thrive at Work in the Age of Disruption. With deep knowledge in a variety of disciplines, including the future of work, politics, culture, race, and technology, Chideya frequently appears on public radio and cable television, and has worked for CNN, ABC, and NPR. Chideya is also an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, focusing on fact-based storytelling in virtual reality and using narrative fiction to model the future.
PRESENTATION: The Truth is Overrated: Why Culture, Emotion, and Even Falsehoods Are As Critical As the Truth
Using America’s 2016 Presidential election as a key example, Farai Chideya explains why focusing on the truth alone –particularly through a quantitative and analytical lens — leaves out huge parts of key stories. Both media analytics tools and neuropsychology reveal that people are more attracted to confirmation of their biases than the truth per se. How does that affect the stories we tell ourselves about our societies, our politics, our corporations? With 25-plus years experience doing field reporting and analyzing data, Chideya reveals why it’s important to track and understand all the narratives we and others tell ourselves, and not just the ones that are true.
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