Changing The Narrative With gnomi


“Minnesota is the perfect state to grow a company aiming to bridge political divides.”

— Matt Byrne, gnomi Executive Director

This blog is only a snippet of my writing career— from journalism programs in high school, creating this space, to now writing for my college’s newspaper and holding the photography editor position there. News and media are part of my everyday life. They most likely play a role in yours too.

We see or hear headlines on the daily, whether it’s through e-mail newsletters, newspapers, social media, and even podcasts. Despite the divided political climate the whole world seems to be under, we all constantly decide to consume media in one way or another, so why not talk about how informed we truly are?

St. Paul startup, gnomi, is doing just that. Their free, user friendly, AI aided app was created in hopes of actively pushing users to consider different sides within the news and media.

Through partnering with gnomi I’m hoping more fruitful conversations can take place amongst everyone who’s staying informed. Below I’m sharing excerpts of interviews with both John Long, the Founder and Chairman of gnomi as well as Matt Byrne, their Executive Director, to further understand why this Minnesota based startup is hoping to make a difference.


“When I would read a right leaning article it would be focused on one thing, and then I would go to a left winged article and it would be focused on a completely different statistic. It became apparent to me how much rhetoric is on both sides of these publications,”

— John Long, Founder & Chairman of gnomi

Interview with John Long

Visual Vitaliti: “The AI (artificial intelligence) aspect of gnomi is explained a bit on the app, and how it helps you recognize if an article is leaning to left or right. Was that something you guys had to implement on the development side?

John Long: “We had to start from scratch and develop it. I always wanted AI & human graders. As good as AI can get, the end of a bias perception is how does it make a human feel? I haven’t disclosed to people that all of our human graders go through rigorous training to make sure that we can see their consistency and biases. Nothing about gnomi is trying to move people left or right, we’re trying to create an environment where users can find out how they personally feel, while embracing the fact that people feel differently.

Visual Vitaliti: “You want to have this app help people start conversations on topics, no matter how polarizing they can be. Why do you believe that’s important?


John Long: “We’re working on a values portrait, that will break all the issues into different categories. Environment, immigration, social programs, military, etc. By breaking these into categories, depending on how they feel and rate them, the AI will help create a portrait that accurately reflects your values. Are you pretty far right, or far left?

John Long: “I feel that in today’s polarized society, we’re not getting anything done. I worry about a mob mentality. That instead of finding out what’s right, we’re going to tend either to who has more money or more anger. Either one can lead to a society where I don’t think is as good as one where we are a true democracy, one where we are talking. I’m hoping that when gnomi gets traction, we can have a conversation country-wide where people can evaluate and read news on both sides, further understand that we’re not all one side or the other. This gives a voice to the 90%

Visual Vitaliti: “With the creation of the values portrait in the app, are you worried that it’ll keep users in a bubble? Will they still be able to look at articles of opposing views?

John Long: “Nope. We will always have the the Slant ID, tap to flip indicator in the app to read an article and flip to the other side.

Visual Vitaliti: “Mainstream media and big news sources have broken their trust with the public audience, I’m wondering if you guys ever think of this as part of gnomi’s role to help change the media?

John Long: “Yes we talk about that all the time. That trust is gone. There’s a revolution happening in news, and I think things like gnomi are the way to the future.

Interview with Matt Byrne

Visual Vitaliti: “ Your team must know that there are topics people will simply never come to an equal understanding, is there a role that gnomi hopes to play in these situations?

Matt Byrne: “ There are topics that are especially polarizing, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. And that’s okay. Agreement isn’t a necessary component of understanding. But there is a tremendous amount of good that comes just from the attempt to understand different perspectives and values. By making an opposing perspective one swipe away – gnomi makes it as easy as possible to do just that. Even if you never agree with a perspective – the attempt moves the needle on our ability to communicate with people who we disagree with.

Visual Vitaliti: “ Minnesota is part of the flyover states. Why did you guys decide to start gnomi here, rather than anywhere else right off the bat?

Matt Byrne: “ Minnesota has a long history of civic mindedness and working across political differences. We consistently have among the highest rates of voter participation and we are currently the only divided state government in the entire country. Simply put: Minnesota is the perfect state to grow a company aiming to bridge political divides.

Visual Vitaliti: “ Is gnomi looking to help people better understand, and stay informed on candidates for the 2020 election?

Matt Byrne: “ By providing grading on the news covering the 2020 candidates, gnomi helps users get a more complete picture of the different perspectives on candidates. If you were to only read FOX or MSNBC on your respective candidates -there’s simply no way you’d come out with a balanced view of your competing options for President. Using gnomi to get both sides makes sure that users have the opportunity to think more carefully about their choices.


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If you’re interested in trying out gnomi for free, you can downloading it here on both apple and android devices.