The messy business of the paper prototype

No one said this would be easy...

I spent the afternoon pulling ideas out of my head, trying to put together different pieces I had acquired through conversations and observations. The process expanded and contracted with the force of a human lung during a sprint.

The overall goal of this prototype is to figure out how to get people below the surface of their media consumption and making experience -- to see their habits and the opportunities for empathy and understanding those habits deny them.  

The plan, at least for now, is to follow the path that keeps emerging within the overall media design project: 

Media shapes belief --> Belief inspires Action --> Action shapes culture --> Culture shapes Media

It's a cycle that goes 'round and 'round -- and it doesn't always go in one direction. Sometimes it goes clockwise. Other times it goes in reverse. 

This isn't, of course, a final version of anything other than the final initial peel of raw content out of my head. But it's my process. I am thinking this may be an initial worksheet to give to people to help spark empathy across different barriers. There's a while and a lot more work between what's on this board and the somewhere-close-to-finished experience. Stay tuned.


Emi Kolawole

Emi Kolawole earned her B.A. in international relations and theater studies from Wellesley College and studied abroad at both the Panthéon-Sorbonne and the National Theater Institute.  She joined the Annenberg Public Policy Center's in November, 2005 after working as a news researcher for Congressional Quarterly on issues of defense, foreign policy, intelligence and homeland security. Previously, she was a production assistant at PBS's "NOW With Bill Moyers," and worked in the Washington area office of a defense contractor.

In addition to her work as a staff writer and researcher for FactCheck, Emi was the host, writer and video editor for's weekly video feature "Just the Facts!"  She is a level 1 certified Final Cut Pro editor and earned her master's degree in producing for film and video at American University. She also led the fact-checking review effort for "UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation."

Emi served as the associate producer for "Washington Week with Gwen Ifill & National Journal." In June 2010 she joined the Washington Post as a producer for PostPolitics. She served as the founding editor for Ideas@Innovations (now "Innovations") and co-host for the Post's daily news program "59 Seconds." In 2011, Emi was named a Young Global Shaper by The World Economic Forum. In 2013 she was listed among The Grio 100, was named a French-American Foundation Young Leader and accepted an invitation to become the Editor-in-residence at the at Stanford University. She has served for the past three years at the, most recently as a senior media designer working on the media experiments collaboration between Knight Foundation and the She is currently the founder of the media and design consultancy Dexign LLC.