Samantha McCann

#PolicyProfile: Samantha McCann, Chief Operating Officer, Bridging Divides Initiative

Aug 14 2023
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

I've always been interested in the intersection of policy and communications. In so many ways, media defines how we see the world. I became interested in looking at the role journalism plays in polarization and whether there is an opportunity for journalism to be a force for good, a force for humanizing one another, and highlighting nuance and shades of gray instead of the most extremes.

After graduating with my master’s from @Columbia.SIPA, I started working at the Solutions Journalism Network (@solutionsjournalism), an organization that advocates for evidence-based reporting on how people respond to problems and surfaces insights that communities can learn from. SJN didn't produce stories; we were a capacity-building organization that worked with newsrooms to integrate solutions journalism into their coverage. In that work, I came to look at journalism as a lever in so many policy-related issues. I've always been driven by the immediate applicability, accessibility, and relevance of the work I do.

What are we learning today, and how can we put that information and those insights to use — not five years from now, not ten years from now, but today? How can individuals and communities around the world benefit from knowledge, like what appears in the news every day?
Samantha McCann, Chief Operating Officer, Bridging Divides Initiative

That's why the Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) was so intriguing to me. It's a non-traditional, community-oriented research project focused on tracking and mitigating political violence in the United States. BDI analyzes national and state-wide trends in political violence, evaluating what’s happening at present and creating and supporting networks of community partners who can benefit from that timely analysis. It's an honor to work with such smart and dedicated colleagues at BDI, at @PrincetonSPIA, and at @Princeton on some of the most important issues of our time.

At SPIA, We Care

Our Community

We are committed to ensuring that all members of our diverse community feel respected, supported, and valued both inside and outside the classroom. We seek to strengthen the capacity of our students to promote equity and foster inclusion while here and in the broader world.