A candid talk about how life was for the Google News Lab’s director. Today Olivia Ma talked about her daily life as Google news director and how she manages to be excel in both work and home. She speaks about how to have a daily goal by making a list of things you want to accomplish. Sit back and relax and learn more about Olivia Ma Google News lab’s director.
When I was growing up, reading the news meant thumbing through the local paper every week on my way to the Sunday comics section. These days, staying up-to-date on world events looks a little different: I skim email newsletters, scroll through social media feeds, occasionally pick up a magazine, and of course, read Google News.
As newsrooms around the world keep up with these changes, there’s one team at Google thinking about how technology can help build the future of media: the News Lab. To mark the one-year anniversary of the Google News Initiative, I sat down with News Lab’s director and co-founder, Olivia Ma, for today’s She Word interview. Here’s what I learned—straight from the source—about why Olivia set out on this career path, how she stays focused in a world where the news never sleeps and what she’s reading outside of the office.
How do you explain your job at a dinner party?
As the mother of two young kids, I don’t make it to that many dinner parties these days. But if I find myself at a table filled with adults, I’d tell them this: I lead a team at Google called News Lab that works with newsrooms across the globe to help them navigate the transition to a digital future.
In the early days of News Lab, we focused on training journalists to use our products that helped them tell stories, such as Google Trends and Google Earth. Now, we immerse ourselves in the needs of journalists, publishers, and news consumers so that our engineering teams can build better products. Every day we work to answer the question: How can technology play a role in helping newsrooms grow their audiences and build sustainable businesses?
What initially drew you to journalism?
My dad spent his career working as a journalist at publications like Newsweek, U.S. News, and World Report and The Washington Post. As a kid, my class would visit his office to learn about how magazines and newspapers were printed—the old fashioned way, with ink and paper.
It wasn’t until college that I also caught the journalism bug, and I decided to dedicate my career to tackling the tricky challenges facing the news industry. By that time, my dad had started working at The Washington Post where he helped transition the newspaper online. Up until he passed away in 2011 we’d talk about what we thought journalism would look like in the digital age. I’m honored to continue his legacy—albeit from a different vantage point.