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The Voices Listening Project (VLP) cultivated my interest and understanding of media communication. Our data and interviews showed me the importance of UI/UX for information delivery and how our communication weaknesses have affected public perception of journalistic news media.

Regarding reader overconfidence: My line of thinking is to create a solution that improves faith in how we present information so that viewers do not need to rely on themselves. I brainstormed several ideas, including story hubs, AI-focused search responses/news assistants and explanatory tooltips. We decided to move forward with a tooltip function as one of our products because of its more straightforward design. That function was the most well-received product-solution among testers.

Our data and interviews showed frustration with finding information, concerns about misinformation, and high levels of reader overconfidence. However, it seems that notions of misinformation and bias are misnomers for weaknesses in journalistic news communication and insufficient separation between journalism and other information sources. This finding encourages me to continue studying these elements and working on solutions. Tackling vague concepts like misinformation would be unrealistic and unproductive, but UI/UX and information communication are tangible elements. To that end, I believe the journalism industry’s foremost priority should be improving how we present information. Better communication could improve trust in the reporting while reducing the inclination to fact-check, verify sources, or find other perspectives through other outlets.


Voices Listening Project (VLP) was a collaboration between Wick Communications and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. This project was funded by the Google News Initiative. Our goal was to understand the information needs of local Arizonan communities and extrapolate our findings for improvements in journalism.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Interviews, data analysis, product development, research, community surveys


Maria Manoag and Abhijith Ajith developed finished products from the team's prototypes. 


One of Mingson Lau's prototype product solutions to improve news communication.

Members of the VLP team pose for a photo during a research trip to speak with the community in Safford, Ariz. on October 7, 2022. Mingson Lau, second from left, forgot to smile.

Spring 2022 - Winter 2022

arizona makers

This piece was part of a series involving text, photos and video on how makers use "making" as a form of occupational therapy to help with the likes of stress, depression, alcoholism, and TBI. Written story here

Brad and Wendy Evans talk about their online didgeridoo-making business Endless Breath Didges.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Photography, videography, video editing, reporting, feature writing

How international Asian students feel being gay in the u.s.

I recall on one late-night drive, my friend spoke about the dichotomy of gay, international Chinese students. Chinese culture instills a more private mindset and has traditionally not recognized LGBTQ people. However, my friend told me that upon moving to America, they really came out of the closet. He described how openly wild and sexual some of them were (he was dating at the time), and how reclusive they were about their queer identities back home.


When my friend told me this, I felt strange. I am half-Chinese and grew up in a Chinese environment in Las Vegas, NV. But I am disconnected from traditional Chinese culture,


I have many LGTQ friends and family, but I do not experience the daily struggles of the LGBTQ community.

The foreign familiarity was strange, and I wanted to know more. I ended up pitching this story to a local publication after months of long-distance reporting. “Cultural Closet: It’s a challenge for LGBT Asians to come out to relatives in their homelands,” was published in Tucson Weekly. In the end, the trek to educate myself about the complex emotions and convey those experiences was eye-opening. I am proud of this story because of the personal journey I undertook to conceive, communicate and empathize with a familiarly-foreign community. 

RESPONSIBILITIES: Reporting, feature writing

June 24, 2021

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