About Us


Billions of news readers struggle daily to identify reliable information and authentic journalism - a problem that is only getting worse.

It is undermining democracy, preventing us from establishing consensus and taking vital collective actions.

Current market incentives punish outlets and journalists who invest time in careful, thorough research. By turning this research work into video content, Stone can make quality more valuable than quantity - disrupting the industry in favour of original, in-depth reporting work.

News readers can follow the journey behind the journalism and see for themselves when an outlet has done their own legwork. While, journalists and newsrooms can earn the trust of readers through authenticity, integrity and transparency.

Our partners, including journalists, researchers, and decision makers in some of the world’s best newsrooms and universities share our concerns. We all have a mutual interest in restoring trust and incentivising best practice.

We are working closely with them to define clear technical and functional requirements, allowing us to develop a tool that fits seamlessly into their workflows and become part of everyday operations.

We hope you will share this journey with us.

Research is Valuable. Make it Visible.
Write in Stone.

Our Story


Stone’s story starts in the Arab Spring where our executive saw disinformation help destroy Egypt’s fledgling democracy. In 2013, with the help of a network of like minded journalists and researchers, we started working on our first attempt to reverse the trend towards disinformation and the deterioration of trust - a magazine aimed at practicing ‘transparent journalism’.

However we soon realised that the tools we (and the rest of the industry) needed, did not yet exist. There were ecosystemic problems and that required a bigger solution. Something that addressed the challenges of distrust, disinformation and an economic model that pits quality against quantity, simultaneously.

In 2017, we began working with a global network of journalists on the earliest designs for the Stone platform. In 2018 we started recruiting, created a proof of concept and raised a seed round to build that tool.

In 2019, in close consultation with our networks and advisors, Stone has built a world class team and a tool that has gained global traction, grabbing the attention of top news and research organisations all over the world.

Why Stone?


Stone addresses a problem of global significance - a “post-truth” era, the erosion of trust and the proliferation of false or misleading information and narratives. The news media is not the only battleground. The scientific community faces the same challenge. Anywhere claims are made, they can be rightfully questioned. But with a bar so low, as to be almost non-existent, quality, thoroughly researched work is judged in the same arena as the false, misleading and often farcical.

This is where Stone comes in - allowing properly researched work to stand out above the crowd and communicating not just conclusions, but process and best practice. Stone allows an audience to follow the story behind the story and see under the surface. It takes an authentic human approach to the restoration of trust.

While other proposed solutions to ‘fake news’ double down on legacy, preach to the choir or lean on AI and bots while ignoring the association with disinformation, the nuance of narrative and the further disincentive towards best practice, Stone uses video capture, commentary and a research timeline to create a complementary media layer and take audiences on a journey of discovery.

Our Team

Aliya Aliwi

Director


was a translator for state media in Egypt before the 2011 revolution. She left her role after witnessing the violent

crackdown and began working as a freelance fixer/producer for English ­language outlets like Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, and many others.

She was arrested during her coverage of the general strike in Mahalla in 2012 and spent six months fighting charges of 'incitement' brought against her by the military government.

She then moved to Ecuador and along with her husband and journalistic colleague Austin Mackell, founded ImportantCool, a worker owned publication.

Aliya has the final word at Write In Stone, while managing legal, financial and business affairs.

Austin Mackell

Chief Executive Officer


began a career in journalism while on student exchange in Lebanon in 2006, when war broke out between Israel

and Hezbollah. Since then he’s reported from Australia, The Middle East, and Latin America, appearing on nearly every major English language broadcaster­ as well as publishing with outlets on four continents.

For his stories he has had both his bones and his spirit broken. However it is his conviction that this arduous legwork is a vital part of the journalistic process and should as such be measured and valued.

During his time in Egypt following the 2011 revolution, he met and married his colleague Aliya Alwi. Austin oversees all aspects of day to day business at Write In Stone, while leading the design process and managing the dev team.

Daniel Mackisack

Chief Operating Officer


has been, at various points, a diplomat, democracy activist, sociologist, and social entrepreneur whose work

has taken him across the world. From education projects in NZ, through development research in South Asia and work with youth and gangs in North Africa, to grad study, research, speaking, and social entrepreneurship in the Arab Spring where he met Austin and Aliya in 2011.

In 2018 he left his diplomatic role to conduct research on social networks under authoritarianism and provide governance and decision-making workshops with start-up companies and community groups, before joining Stone full time.

Daniel believes that restoring integrity to information is a critical part of sustaining healthy democracies. With experience in business development and international relations, Daniel is the primary relationship manager at Write In Stone, managing user and business networks.
Responsive Team Profiles

John McCabe

Outreach


is responsible for Write In Stone' outreach in North America, where he engages with news organizations and

academic institutions.

He is one of the original Stone team members, having joined in 2018 after working with Austin and Aliya on a collaborative journalism project. From 2009 to 2019, John lived in Beirut, Lebanon where he worked for journalistic and policy studies organizations.

Advisors

Casey Findlay

Advisor


has known the Stone team since its inception and was an early co-founder. An archivist specializing in digital

recordkeeping and preservation, Cassie has worked as a consultant to government and the private sector in Australia, West Africa, and Asia.

She established the first digital archives infrastructure for the New South Wales Government, has written numerous articles and chapters for journals and textbooks and was the lead author of the 2016 edition of the International Standard on records management. She has won two Mander Jones Awards from the Australian Society of Archivists and an Industry Award for Contribution to Standards Development from Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia. In 2010, she co-­founded the Australian recordkeeping and archives think tank The Recordkeeping Roundtable. Cassie is interested in the convergence of recordkeeping and archives practice with new models of journalism, as well as the role of decentralized, community driven frameworks.

Barbara Gray

Advisor


came into contact with WriteInStone in April 2019. She is a professor of Research Methods at City University of New York

and a recognized expert on investigative research, frequently speaking at global events such as the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference and the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (where she has also pitched Stone). She was formerly the director of news research at the New York Times where she worked for 10 years.

Nick Gerritsen

Advisor


(CrispStart) joined the team as Advisor in June 2019. Nick is a New Zealand based business catalyst and impact

entrepreneur with an extensive network in global innovation and capital markets. He is attracted to big ideas that make a real difference in the world and sees the impact of Stone as a citation/verification tool having enormous ripple effects across a range of key areas, including the fight against disinformation on Climate Change and in Politics.

Eamon Logue

Advisor


Australian product strategist and end-to-end product development expert.

Tech Partners

Vijay Viswanathan

Product Manager


Milan Jovanovic

Ennovative


Kee Fai Foong

Ennovative


Sebastian Grant

Sebweb


Jellyfish Technologies