Nancy Scola is a journalist based in Washington D.C. whose work examines the complicated intersections of technology, politics, public policy, and social movements.
Nancy grew up in northern New Jersey spending most her time either playing soccer or reading. She moved to D.C. for college, where she developed love for both politics and anthropology. After graduating from George Washington University, she got a master's degree in anthropology from Boston University. She later took her interest in government to Capitol Hill, where she developed a fascination with how technology was reshaping the world, and made in the jump to writing about it.
In journalism, Nancy has been a senior technology reporter at POLITICO and a staff writer at the Washington Post. Her work as a freelance magazine writer is published by places like POLITICO Magazine, the Atlantic, Washingtonian, and New York Magazine. She often moderates conference panels, teaches journalism and digital theory as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and publishes a weekly newsletter on tech and society called Slow Build. She lives in Washington’s Hill East neighborhood, and in her free time likes to hike and take photographs.
Illustration by Michael Hoeweler for POLITICO Magazine
SELECTED FEATURE STORIES
PROJECTS AND OTHER WORK
Nancy is a frequent moderator for panel events and one-on-on conversations on topics like artificial intelligence, digital politics, and the state of technology in Washington, in venues like SXSW, State of the Net, and the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions. Contact with conference inquiries
Nancy has served as a senior technology reporter at POLITICO, focusing both on breaking news and longer-form pieces, like ones on presidential candidates’ personal relationships with technology, the fate of the Library of Congress, and the capital’s embrace of the publishing site Medium. Previously, she was staff writer on technology policy for the Washington Post, where she wrote about topics like the politics behind patents, the role of technologists in Washington, and the impact of ‘free data’ on the Internet. From to 2008 to 2011, she was a New York City-based associate editor at the since-retired site techPresident, where she covered subjects like the power of mobile phones in political activism, mapping, and Democrats’ digital ground game.
Nancy has, since 2007, also worked as a freelance writer and on-contract contributing writer. She’s written long-form work for Next City on the meaning of Uber, why the hotel chain Ace chose Pittsburgh as its first non-coastal expansion site, and Code for America. And during the 2012 election, she was a correspondent at The Atlantic, covering topics like the Republican approach to tech policy, campaign design, and the democratization of online organizing tools. She has been a contributing writer at The American Prospect, writing for the TAPPED blog and authoring longer-form pieces for the magazine, including a profile of open-government advocate Carl Malamud. Her work has also appeared in Washingtonian, New York Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, SEED, and other publications.
FELLOWSHIPS, AND MORE
She has held several fellowships, including the Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship at Boston University’s African Studies Center, a FLAS fellowship for the Summer Cooperative African Language Institute at Yale University to study Swahili, the Lewis N. Cotlow Fund field research grant awarded by the George Washington University for work in Kenya, the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale University, and the National Press Foundation’s “What’s Next in Artificial Intelligence” fellowship. Her university speaking appearances including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Yale Law School, and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.
Her work as a journalist has taken her to China, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Spain.
Before going into journalism, Nancy worked on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives and at Forward Together, a political action committee led by now-Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.
Earlier in her career, she was a researcher at the non-profit group Social Compact. She has a B.A. in anthropology from The George Washington University and an M.A. in anthropology from Boston University, where her thesis looked at the lasting effects of slavery on the East African coast.