Migrahack Founder Claudia Nunez

By: Amir@mcis.on.ca
Claudia Nunez founded Migrahack in 2012. After experiencing hackathons at Stanford, Nunez wanted to increase the diversity of participants at these events. Migrahack unites journalists, developers and non-profits to learn from each other and create solutions to real-life challenges.
We sat down with her to understand the inspiration and impact previous Migrahacks have had.

How did you realize that journalists were not using data that non-profits, hackers and system users were producing to help write stories on migration?

Actually, journalists have always used data.  However, I believe that there is a huge lack of knowledge on how to interrogate the numbers, how to make them be the story tellers, and how to put a human face on what the migrants are going through.  I think there needs to be more training on this, especially for such a delicate topic such as immigration.

After more than a decade in covering this topic, I saw that the majority of the media covered this beat by narrating the crisis, pain, and joy of the immigrants.  Nevertheless, there was poor effort in generating accountability and I saw that the newer generations that took on the topic would return to the same circle – narrate tragedy, suffering.  And that circle has been difficult to break for those journalists that cover immigration.  But still, little by little, it’s the numbers that shaping the new face of immigration.

In your experience, how has migration data helped journalists tell newcomers’ stories about their journeys?

There are many examples.  Among them, the official reasoning behind the supposed need for more detention centers when in many cases, the number of migrants has decreased; or the need for English As A Second Language classes in schools where the service is not available or rare, yet the data suggest that there is a large need of this service for recently arrived migrants; the refugee crisis, where governments resist creating opportunities for them on the grounds that there are just too many, when in fact the timelines show a decrease, etc

What is your favorite part of a Migrahack event?

Without a doubt, it is seeing the collaboration that forms among complete strangers fighting to develop a common project.  When a team forms among journalists, programmers, and members of NPO’s and they start work on their project, they work together like clockwork, each little gear pushing the others along and the winding being their drive to serve.  

#MigrahackTO will take place on Friday, Nov 3 – Sunday, Nov 5. For a full schedule and more info click here