Meet MassChallenge Civic Tech Scholar Abridge

 |   Laura Carpenter, Co-Founder and CEO, Abridge News

Effective democracy depends on engaged citizens who vote based on careful evaluation of platforms and policies. Recently, news echo chambers have fueled political polarization, and many citizens are only reading opinions from one side of the spectrum. At Abridge News, we help people escape these news echo chambers. Our mission is to increase empathy and critical thinking in the world by promoting diverse perspectives, and ultimately, we hope to be the go-to platform for independent thinkers who want to understand what others think about important issues and contribute their own points of view.

Each day, on abridgenews.com, we provide our readers with quick facts and a variety of curated op-eds on a trending topic. Each topic is introduced with a set of relevant facts that aim to provide a user with a brief, objective framework. Next, using our spectrum feature, users can get an overview of perspectives by swiping left or right to navigate the different views.  The reader can react to the arguments made in the opinions and also see what other readers think. We also reach our readers via a daily email newsletter (abridgenews.com/subscribe) and produce lots of custom content on our social media accounts.

With the help of resources from MassChallenge and Microsoft, we plan to launch our first-ever app (for iPhone and Android) this Fall. Our app will include updated archive and search functionality, the ability for users to filter content by topic categories and optional push notifications. We are also hard at work developing an Abridge Ambassadors program and enabling user-generated content on our site.

We are so thrilled to partner with Microsoft, a company we deeply respect. The funding, mentorship, networking and support provided through the Microsoft Civic Engagement Scholarship have made a huge difference for us as we grow our business and impact.

Laura Carpenter is the co-founder and CEO of Abridge News, a civic tech platform that is building bridges and driving empathy among those tho hold opposing opinions. This past spring, she graduated from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar (top 5% of class). Prior to business school, she worked in management consulting. She holds an B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with highest honors from Georgia Tech.