Jun 16. By design


Eight 2014-15 Magic Grant award winners joined teams from the Class of 2013-14 at Stanford on June 9 and 10 for the Brown Institute's quarterly all-hands meeting. The teams introduced themselves, their projects, and engaged in a half-day Design Thinking workshop. The session was facilitated by Umbreen Bhatti, a 2013-14 John S. Knight Fellow and a team of three assistants. A key goal of "Design Thinking," as developed by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (known informallly as the, is to take a user-centered approach to project and prototype development. To that end, the group first engaged in a rapid prototyping excercise to "redesign the breakfast experience." After  taking in the approach, grantees re-joined their own teams to discuss the best ways to apply design thinking to their individual projects. Ranjay Krishna, is a Stanford computer science master's student, whose "Visual Genome" project seeks to enable journalists to effectively gather crowd-sourced breaking news images and videos in near real-time. Krishna, pictured below with Columbia J-School alum Adam Golub, said he enjoyed the community building/design sessions and looked forward to applying the lessons learned to his project.  

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Jun 04. Brown goes to Washington


Ashish Goel and Tanja Aitamurto represented the Stanford Crowdsourced Democracy Team last week at a White House conference organized by Lynn Overmann, ‎Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. They gave a small presentation about how their digital platform, Widescope, was used to do participatory budgeting in the 49th ward of Chicago. Their partners from the 49th ward in Chicago gave a ringing endorsement. The team met representatives of several cities, including Vallejo, who expressed an interest in partnering with them for their own crowdsourced budgeting projects.

Jun 03. Brown at ITP Summer Camp

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The Brown Institute is proud to sponsor 10 Columbia Journalism alums for a month at ITP Camp. This is the fifth summer that ITP, the Interactive Telecommunication Program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, has offered its "4 week crash course/playground for busy working professionals" to "make stuff, hear speakers on the cutting edge, collaborate with people from diverse disciplines." This is just the start of a longer collaboration between Brown, the Columbia School of Journalism at ITP. Our first cohort of campers are Charles Berret, Bob Hackett, Roger Miller, David Levesley, Nushin Rashidian, Alyson Martin, Olivia Feld, Katie Brenzel, Elizabeth Mendez and Daniel Morozoff-Abezguaz. Have fun!

Jun 03. Board member Meeker at Code Conf


Brown Institute Board member Mary Meeker made news at the inaugural Code Conference on May 28, presenting her annual “most influential Internet trends” of the year.  Meeker’s “top 10” touted IOS manufacturing in the U.S., the rise of cyberthreats, the growth of online education, the digitization of healthcare, the push toward private social circles, big data, everything China, more M&A and – look up – drones! As for all the bubble talk Meeker said, while valuations are through the roof, 2014 is nothing like 1999. The Code Conference is produced by technology journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Brown Institute Associate Director, Ann Grimes, joined Meeker at the conference.

(Photo: Asa Mathat, Re/code)

May 07. Participatory Democracy Trial


The Participatory Democracy team at Stanford, led by Professor Ashish Goel from MS&E and Tanja Aitamurto from Stanford, UC Berkeley and University of Tampere, Finland, conducted a successful trial of their online participatory budgeting platform in Chicago's 49th Ward. The team includes a Computer Science graduate student Sukolsak Sakshuwong from Stanford, recipient of a Brown Media Innovation Institute Magic Grant. This is the first time digital voting has been used in a participatory budgeting process in the United States. See coverage of the digital voting experiment in DNAinfo Chicago.

May 06. 2014-15 Magic Grants Awarded!

The Brown Institute for Media Innovation has awarded seed funding to teams of students, post-docs and faculty from Stanford and Columbia universities to develop new technologies that could transform the ways media content is produced, delivered and consumed. 

The winning projects include a mobile-based, augmented reality tool to expand the stories that museum curators can tell about works of art in their collections, a data-mining platform to reverse engineer ad-server algorithms, and a documentary, filmed with immersive video technology, that profiles 40 Iranian artists living both in and out of Iran. Learn More

May 02. 1 1/2 months until our opening!


Work on the Brown Institute space at Columbia hit a milestone today as the floor started to be installed! We are on schedule to take occupancy in June, but this was the first time the space started feeling, well, inhabitable. It's extremely exciting!

Apr 28. Brown Fellow David Chen wins Capocelli Award

David Chen's paper, “Interframe Coding of Global Image Signatures for Mobile Augmented Reality," presented in March at the Data Compression Conference, has been selected to receive the prestigious Capocelli Award, given yearly for an outstanding student-authored and student-presented paper. A copy of David's paper can be found here.

Apr 17. Brown/Tow Award

We are pleased to announce The Award for Excellence in Computational Journalism co-sponsored by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. It honors work by current M.S. or M.A. students at the Columbia School of Journalism that makes exceptional use of computation in the service of journalism or makes an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of how data, code and algorithms change the nature of reporting.  We welcome submissions in all formats, from print, broadcast, radio, and documentary to website, data visualization, API or Github repository. Apply today!

Apr 17. The Lede

Columbia University School of Journalism and the Columbia Department of Computer Science are offering a unique educational opportunity this summer for students who want to build up their understanding of data. Anchored in a mix of journalism, social science and the humanities, The Lede will introduce students with little or no technical background to a host of creative practices that involve data, code and algorithms. Learn more about The Lede here, and read an excellent overview by its new (and most awesome) Director, Cathy O'Neil here. Join us this summer -- The deadline for applications is April 27!

Established in 2012, the Institute is a collaboration between Columbia and Stanford Universities. Our mission is simple: Sponsor thinking, building and speculating on how stories are discovered and told in a networked, digitized world.
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