Our Story & Team

About us

Peace & political mindfulness through understanding.

In a world of social media bubbles, bias, and shamelessly framed “news,” we aim to help our readers make sense of the world by highlighting the narratives unfolding around them.

We do this primarily through our narrative analyses, where we identify how people on either side of a divisive issue are talking about it and uncover the root cause of disagreement — whether that’s incomplete information, a divisive symbol, ambiguity in a photo or video, or a difference in core values.

 

Our highest goal with this project is peace, and our strategy for creating a more peaceful world is what we call political mindfulness — a conscious awareness of the mechanisms, dynamics, and institutions that help shape our social and political opinions, attitudes, and perspectives.

 

We’re not here to change anyone’s point of view or politics, because we believe there is more than one way to live the good life.

EXAMPLE OF

The Narrative Analysis

John Smith was a cashier in Philadelphia during the recent protests. Someone attempted to break into his store, and Smith confronted and shot him. Smith has been arrested.

Left

John Smith was a white cashier in Philadelphia during the recent protests racial justice demonstrations. Someone attempt to break into his store, and Smith confronted and shot him a black protestor. After public outcry, Smith has been arrested.

Right

John Smith was a cashier in Philadelphia during the recent protests riots. Someone A rioter attempted to break broke into his store, and Smith confronted and shot him was forced to defend himself. The system bent to mob rule, and Smith has been arrested.

(Srikethrough — omission; Bold — addition/variation)

EXAMPLE OF

What We Do

Deep Dives

Ideas

METHODOLOGY

01

Identify

First we identify a divisive story with potential.

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02

Aggregate

Next we aggregate data such as tweets, trends, and articles.

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03

Summarize

Then we summarize either side of the story within either side's own terms.

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04

Illustrate

Finally, we illustrate how or why the divergence occurred.

Our Story

The Narratives Project began as a rough sketch and a tweet.

In August of 2020, Shaun Cammack was working on a proposal for PhD research in cultural evolution. On August 25th, a young midwestern man shot four people in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The next day, two very different stories emerged. This divergence of political narrative was a real-world example of what Shaun was researching, and so he decided to put together and tweet out a rough sketch mapping how, through transmission, omission, and mutation, two entirely different narratives emerged.

This off-the-cuff, messy sketch was widely shared and discussed. People began to request this kind of analysis for every divisive news story. Shaun then started the Narratives Project as a blog hosted on Substack. After a few months of experimentation and analyses, the project received funding to scale up into the organization it is today.

The Narratives Project began as an earnest attempt to understand the dynamics of our social divisions, and today we remain committed to that mission by pursuing peace through understanding.

Focus Areas:

Pluralism

Traditional Media

Polarization

Ethics

Social Media

Politics

Team

Shaun

Cammack

Executive Director

Shaun is the Executive Director of the Narratives Project. He founded the project in 2020 while developing his research into the evolution of political narratives. 

Andrew

Schmidt

Development Associate

Andrew works to advance the mission of the Narratives Project through philanthropic partnership development and an ethos of stewardship. He studied philosophy at Sewanee: The University of the South and has over a decade of nonprofit leadership experience.

Anna

Tyger

Editor and Research Manager

Anna coordinates the development of narrative analyses and other written products for the Narratives Project. She attended George Washington University and studied economics and philosophy. Anna has done research with a number of DC think tanks on the topics of education, tax, criminal justice, and economic policy as well as political polarization.

Domenic

Savaglio

Social Media Manager

Domenic creates and curates content across all of the Narratives Project’s platforms to help develop the company’s online presence and voice. Dom lives in Kenosha, WI, and studied International Business and Marketing at Marquette University. He also received his MA in Communication & Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University.

Sofia

Sedergren-Booker

Research Associate

Sofia contributes to the research and writing of narrative analyses and other research projects. She also works to refine the Narrative Project’s methods and incorporate new approaches into the methodological framework. Sofia has a master’s degree in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has previously conducted research on political rhetoric, voting rights, and immigration.