Jul 19. Brown hosts Bruno Latour at Columbia


September 21-25, The Brown Institute, with assistance from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, will host the French anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour. During his visit, Latour will give a public lecture (with Q&A by Nicholas Lemann of the Columbia School of Journalism), participate in both student and faculty seminars, and oversee three performances of his play "Gaia Global Circus" at The Kitchen in Chelsea. Check out for a complete list of events.


Jul 16. The 2014 Computation + Journalism Symposium


Computation+Journalism is a forum for discussing the ways journalism is and should be adapting in the face of the quantitative turn in society. We invite the participation of a broad range of thinkers, doers, and storytellers to this interdisciplinary meeting, a hybridization of journalism and the computing and data sciences. We want to hear from journalists with an interest in, or experience in, developing new technologies or applications, and from data and computer scientists working in news, or storytelling broadly, and collaborating or hoping to collaborate with journalistic organizations.

The conference will be held on October 24-25 at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation in New York.

Details at

Jul 09. Stanford names its 2014-2015 Brown Institute Fellows

Reflecting the growth and broadening scope of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Stanford has named five accomplished individuals from diverse backgrounds as its 2014-2015 Brown Fellows. 


Dr. Tanja Aitamurto has participated in a range of Institute activities over the last two years and she has collaborated closely with the Widescope team.  Having recently received her doctoral degree from Tampere University (Finland), her background connects journalism, engineering, public policy and design. Tanja will also join the Brown leadership team and serve as the Institute's Deputy Director at Stanford.

After receiving his PhD from Stanford, Dr. David Chen continues as a Brown Fellows for his third year. He was a key member of the bicoastal Personalized Television News Magic Grant team in the Institute's inaugural year. Now a full-time research associate, David will continue collaborating with the current Magic Grant teams, as well as continue his research in the area of mobile visual search and augmented reality.

Huizhong Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical Engineering Department, focusing on new approaches for word recognition in text documents.

Rebecca Weiss is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communications and a member of the 2013-14 Magic Grant team, Gistraker. Her research leverages natural language processing and machine learning for semi-automated content analysis of news stories.  

Matt Yu is also a PhD candidate in the Electrical Engineering Department. Matt previously contributed to the Personalized Television News and the STAR (Storytelling with Augmented Reality) Magic Grant projects. He a recipient of a 2014-15 Magic Grant as part of the bicoastal Reframe Iran team. 

Jun 21. Fireside favorites


In the closing days of ITP Summer camp, the Cannabis Wire Magic Grant team of Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian test out the Oculus Rift. The experience is shaping up much as we had hoped -- Students in journalism learning about new forms of expression through technology. (Photo o

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

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