Feb 25. bit by bit - March 1, 1-5pm, Pulitzer Hall


"bit by bit" is an event that joins seven renowned storytellers with seven prominent technologists in teams of two and challenges them to make something new together, mixing word and code, novel and database, algorithm and theater. And for the first time, they unveil their creations at a public conference on March 1. Learn more about the event here: and RSVP at

Feb 24. A weekend of story-making!


Our event "bit by bit" began Saturday with a student event -- We spent the day speculating, designing and prototyping new ways of telling stories. Lance Weiler and his team at Reboot Stories designed what might be best described as a second generation hackathon. It emphasized process, a thoughtful design process, that led our participants from their initial interests to prototypes. Teams of students were guided by a group of amazing mentors from the Columbia J-School, NYU's ITP, and even Vice Media -- Journalists, photographers, interaction and game designers, artists, and filmmakers. The day wrapped up around midnight with final project pitches and awards. The winning team's project was called "Things we carry" and was about how we share sensitive, personal stories that have shaped our lives. Congratulations to Jeffrey Bustos, Amarin Sam, Sharon Knieper, and Nikki Zeichner. Overall, it was an amazing day and a great start to "bit by bit". We would like to acknowledge support from AOL, Rhizome and Columbia University's Digital Storytelling Lab.

Feb 18. Explorations in digital storytelling 2/22-3/1


bit by bit is a week-long exploration and reflection on the powerful pairing of story and technology and the roles they play in society — discovering and reimagining the poignant and the persuasive, the confining and liberating.

bit by bit will start Saturday, February 22nd, with a group of student storytellers, hackers, makers, game developers and experience designers will coming together for a day full of experimentation, coding, networking and fun.

Then, bit by bit will join seven renowned storytellers with seven prominent technologists in teams of two and challenge them to make something new together. The teams will work February 27th and 28th, and we will follow the collaborations as they mix word and code, novel and database, algorithm and theater. Finally, the seven teams will unveil their creations at a public conference on March 1.

The Brown Institute is proud to acknowledge the support of Rhizome and AOL. Learn more about the event at

Feb 11. A platform for journalism


The Brown Institute invaded an otherwise unsuspecting eating establishment in the West Village to meet with an awesome group of journalists, linguists, and technologists. The goal: discuss the state of computation in journalism and explore the creation of a computing platform specific to the field. It was, hands down, the geekiest event you've ever attended, with animated discussions about documentation, object orientation and Flash. 

Jan 27. Magic Grant CityBeat accepted to WWW 2014

Congratulations to members of the 2013/14 Magic Grant CityBeat, whose paper was accepted to the demo track at WWW 2014. Their paper, “CityBeat: Real-time Social Media Visualization of Hyper-local City Data,” presents City Beat, a real-time visualization of hyper-local content, including event detection and trends, for cities. Explore all of the WWW 2014 Accepted Demos!

Jan 10. Panel Discussion Video Available


In December, the Stanford side of the Institute played host to a livel discussion on the future of journalism. As reported in The Daily Dish, "To a room full of journalists and techies, panelists spoke on what they believe to be the pros and cons of the budding marriage between data and journalism." A video of the panel discussion is now available.

Dec 16. Two Brown Fellows Defend Ph.D. Research

Congratulations to Brown Fellows David Chen and Sam Tsai who successfully defended their Ph.D. research in November. Both went to the studio afterwards for a clean recording of their presentations. You can see both Sam Tsai's "Mobile Visual Search with Text and Image Features, and David Chen's Memory Efficient Image Databases for Mobile Visual Search.

Nov 01. ACM's Multimedia Grand Challenge

Congratulations to 2012-2013 Magic Grant team members Brendan Jou, Hongzhi Li, Joseph G. Ellis and faculty advisor Shih-Fu Chang for winning the Grand Challenge 1st Place Award at ACM Multimedia. Their paper, "Structured Exploration of Who, What, When, and Where in Heterogenous Multimedia News Sources," can be seen here. 

Oct 24. Digital security panel, October 28th


Revelations about how much of our online activity is under surveillance have left many people wondering what's left for digital security- or where the next frontier is. But digital security is not one-size-fits-all, and it never has been. For journalists, encyrption, digital security and privacy issues are perhaps more important now than ever before. 

The Frontline Freelance Register has partnered with the Brown Institute to present a panel discussion on where we can go from here- and why all is not lost. Sign up here.

Oct 16. Magic Grant Ensemble launches Arrowhead

The Human-computer Interaction group at Stanford University presents Arrowhead, a story that will be collaboratively written by Tom Kealey (Jones Lecturer of the Creative Writing department), Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo), and people from all over the web!

Arrowhead will be written using Ensemble, a new and experimental collaborative writing platform coming out of the HCI group with the goal of designing and discovering new ways of supporting creative work. The story will span from October 15th to October 30th.

Ensemble and the Arrowhead project can be found here.

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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