A search for “true” empathy in reporting

The founder of the Public Insight Network explains why he quit his day job, and why journalists are still not getting the full picture.


It’s not that empathy — the act of imaginatively entering into another person’s world — is unpopular. In the corporate world, “empathy” is increasingly how hard-nosed business types refer to understanding your customers and their needs. But in the journalism world I’ve traveled in for the last 15 years, the word feels somehow not hard or specific enough. It seems a little soft and fuzzy — not characteristics you’d generally associate with journalists.


And that’s why I’m leaping — to find a way to use technology to increase empathy.


I’m building GroundTruth: a mobile engagement and research platform. 


The ‘Empathy Engine’

Before I get to the details of GroundTruth, let me explain a bit more background on why empathy is so important to me.