Journalism + Design is a hub for journalism’s vanguard. We believe that design methodologies and systems thinking are key to untangling the complex problems of 21st century journalism. Through classes, workshops, events, and convenings, we seek to inspire journalists to imagine and implement what the future of journalism might look like. We are a place for playful experimentation, where new forms and unexpected strategies emerge.


Heather Chaplin

Founding Director

Heather Chaplin is the founding director of Journalism + Design and the recipient of multiple media innovation grants from foundations including The Knight Foundation and The Democracy Fund. In 2015, Chaplin was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. She has also written a paper for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Before joining The New School, Chaplin covered video games and digital culture for All Things Considered, as well publications such as as The New York Times, The LA Times, GQ and Details. She is the co-author of Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment and Big Bucks and the forthcoming Reckless Years: A Diary of Love and Madness out from Simon & Schuster in July 2017.

Irwin Chen

Design Lead

Irwin Chen is an assistant professor at Parsons The New School for Design, and is the design lead for the Journalism + Design Program. He received his BA in English Literature from Yale University in 1994, and spent one year in the Netherlands on a Fulbright studying design at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. He returned to New York where he began work as a digital designer, first for Jessica Helfand and later for FEED Magazine and 2×4. He is the founder of Redub LLC, an information architecture and interaction design consultancy, and is also Visualization Designer for The Mintz Group.

Allison Lichter

Deputy Director

Allison Lichter previously served as Deputy Emerging Media editor at The Wall Street Journal, where she was responsible for audience engagement, social journalism, and developing content for emerging digital platforms. Prior to joining the WSJ, Allison was the Culture Editor at New York Public Radio, the country's largest NPR affiliate, were she oversaw a team of producers, reporters and critics on the arts and culture beat. Allison's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and on WNYC, PRI's The World, the CBC and NPR. She was the recipient of an SSRC International Predissertation Fellowship to support her doctoral research in Dakar, Senegal.

Blake Eskin

Editorial Director

Blake Eskin is a writer, editor, and producer. He was the first web editor for The New Yorker and the host of The New Yorker Out Loud podcast. His book, A Life in Pieces: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski, was a 2002 New York Times notable book. He is executive producer of two podcasts for Design Observer, including The Design of Business | The Business of Design, recorded at the Yale School of Management.

Kim Lightbody

Program Manager

Kim Lightbody is the Program Manager for Journalism + Design. She previously spent two years at Fast Company magazine, where she wrote and edited articles for print and supported the publication's day-to-day operational needs. Prior to that, she helped launch the Journalism + Design program at The New School and spent two years as a finance reporter at trade publications. She has a BA in Writing from Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School. In her spare time, she volunteers with the Parks Department and is a certified NYC Citizen Pruner.

Kayla Christopherson

Program Associate for Systems Thinking

Kayla Christopherson joins the Journalism + Design program as our Program Associate for Systems Thinking. Originally from Milwaukee, she received her Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding from UW-Milwaukee in 2016. With a focus on systems thinking and complexity, Kayla has focused her work on helping others understand and engage with wicked problems. Prior to her position at The New School, Kayla worked for the Eisenhower Center, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit serving people with disabilities. She was also the Graduate Fellow for the Alliance for Middle East Peace and completed her fieldwork with International Peace Initiatives based in Meru, Kenya.


Katie Salen

Katie Salen is Professor of game design and development in the Department of Informatics at the University of California at Irvine, as well as Chief Designer and co-founder of Connected Camps. She is founding Executive Director of Institute of Play and has held tenured faculty positions at Parsons the New School for Design, University of Texas at Austin, and DePaul University.

Joaquin Alvarado

Joaquin Alvarado is the chief executive officer of the Center for Investigative Reporting. He formerly served as the senior vice president for digital innovation at American Public Media and the founding senior vice president for innovation and diversity at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He is the founder of CoCo Studios.

Aron Pilhofer

Aron Pilhofer is ​James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation, Temple University School of Media and Communication, and was previously executive editor of Digital for the Guardian. He was formerly the interactive news editor at The New York Times, and is the co-founder of the news startups DocumentCloud.org and Hacks & Hackers.

Shazna Nessa

Shazna Nessa is the Deputy Managing Editor, Global Head of Visuals at The Wall Street Journal, and was previously director of journalism at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She was a 2014 Knight fellow at Stanford University. Prior to that, she was the deputy managing editor of products and innovation and the director of Interactive at the Associated Press.

John Seely Brown

John Seely Brown is the independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California. He was formerly the chief scientist of Xerox Corporation and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He is the author of A New Culture of Learning.