Name: Mia Sato
Title and Organization: Reporter, Pandemic Technology Project, MIT Technology Review
Graduation Year and Degree: 2017 BA in Journalism and Political Science
While the world has been on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has continued to forge ahead. In response to these advancements, the MIT Technology review has launched the Pandemic Technology Project to track technology that is responding to the pandemic.
SJMC alum Mia Sato is a reporter for this project. She’s covered different types of technology and how they’re making an impact on contact tracing, vaccinations and more. We caught up with her to hear more about her work.
When it comes to your work on the pandemic and tech, what are you most proud of?
I spent the first part of the pandemic, like many other people, feeling very helpless. I was in New York and we had no idea what was happening—the sirens from ambulances were blaring constantly. Staying home all the time was strange, but it was nothing compared to the fear and loss I felt and saw all around me.
Reporting on the pandemic and its effects on our communities has been a way to stave off any feelings of apathy, indifference, or disinterest. It’s easy to become numb from all the news flying at you 24/7, but since I started covering this beat, I’ve felt more invested than ever in getting through to the other side. I get to speak with smart, thoughtful people about how to do this in an efficient, equitable, humane way. I’m proud to share that insight and experience with readers. I’m really proud and humbled to be in the presence of that spirit of perseverance.
What’s the best advice you have for a J-School student who wants to do what you do?
Figure out what you care about, and what element of journalism is exciting to you. Keep chasing that. The path there might be twisty and feel convoluted, but that’s normal. I still feel like I’m in that searching and exploring process.
Treat sources like people and be honest when you fall short. Be open to being proven wrong and always try to learn something. Editors are a blessing.
You can’t do any job well if you’re not taking care of yourself. Know when to step back, pivot, refocus your energies or try something new. Leave room for kindness, for yourself and others.
When we say J-School what do you think of?
Crying in the media lab trying to learn Adobe InDesign during J202. Hell.