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Dartmouth Grads Hope Startup Will Help Bridge Political Divide

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Sean Graber and Keal Harter love to talk politics together. The recent Dartmouth graduates recall many late nights at the Tuck School of Business debating the political dramas of the day - often to the chagrin of their classmates.

It wasn’t that they always agreed, or that they enjoyed disagreeing with each other. They liked knowing that the person on the other side of the table came to the debate with an open mind and a fact-based perspective, something Graver feels the country seems to be losing.

“It’s really scary to see the way in which we’re interacting with each other,” Graber said. “And I think a lot of this stems, certainly from ideological differences, but just an inability to understand why someone might have a different perspective and empathize with that person.”

So together, they’ve created a place on the internet that they hope will inspire more informed debates, rather than, as Harter puts it, an “emotional place for people to mudsling at each other.”

The Skeww is a website, newsletter, and occasional podcast that uses a combination of machine learning and Graber and Harter’s own nonstop news consumption to give users a sense of the big issues of the day from all political perspectives. Each day, users are presented with summaries of what the right and left are thinking about a particular issue, as well as a list of news articles about that topic, arranged on a color coded spectrum from very liberal to very conservative.

Graber said he realizes their new startup won’t solve all the country’s problems, but he’s hoping at the very least, it can be a small step toward a future where “we can understand each other a little better.”

Lauren is a Senior Reporter/Producer for NHPR's narrative news unit, Document.

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