INMA 30 Under 30: Mara Corbett of Gannett

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, United States


On September 17, INMA awarded 30 young professionals around the world with its debut “30 Under 30” award as part of its Young Professionals Initiative. This is the sixth in a series of 30 features about these impressive rising media stars who are shaping our industry. 

Mara Corbett moved to Texas with everything she had stuffed into her car to work as an intern on a new media innovation team tasked with bettering Gatehouse Media’s digital journalism (Gatehouse and Gannett subsequently merged in 2019).

Her first project was to create a digital simulator to share the experience of a wind turbine.

Mara Corbett is creative operations director at Gannett in the United States.
Mara Corbett is creative operations director at Gannett in the United States.

“I knew we’d have readers, like myself, who’d never been close to a turbine much less lived next to one,” she said. “So I let them bring the story into their own homes with a shadow flicker simulator. The digital simulator allows you to upload your own image or to see the effect over a preloaded shot of a living room.”

She designed another project — “Unwatched,” a year-long investigation into Texas daycares — with 479,001,600 ways to move through the package.

“Ever so subtly, it confronts an underlying problem I see in long-form investigative journalism: We’re still designing our stories for a print product.”

She strives to build a design culture among journalists: “I want every journalist to ask ‘Who is this for?’ and push ‘Is this the best way to reach them?’ because the answer is never “Ourselves,’ and ‘Yes, it’s what we’ve done before.’”

About Dawn McMullan

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