Aug 12. Maneesh Agrawala featured at the Commonwealth Club

As a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grantee, Stanford Brown Director Maneesh Agrawala, together with digital artist Camille Utterback, were welcomed by the Commonwealth Club of California as guest speakers this past week in an event entitled "Meet the Geniuses: Inside the MacArthur Foundation's Creative Thinking Awards." 


Aug 01. Brown Grantee reports on Expanded Panama Canal

Brown Grantee Ana Graciela Mendez, along with Walt Bogdanich and Jacqueline Williams, have written a story on some complications arising following the openeing of Panama's newest canals, in "Fender Benders on Water? (See: Expanded Panama Canal)" in the July 30, 2016 edition of the New York Times. 

Jul 23. Brown Institute wins Collaboratory Fellows Grant at Columbia

The Brown Institute, alongside the Center for Spatial Research, is pleased to announce our selection as inaugural recipients of Columbia University’s Collaboratory Fellows Grant with Points Unknown: New frameworks for investigation and creative expression through mapping.

Aimed at advancing education that combines data science or computational expertise with domain expertise, the Collaboratory Fellows Grant is intended to support pairs of instructors (one with data science or computational expertise and the other with domain expertise) to develop and co-teach new educational offerings that can help fulfill the data literacy requirements of a discipline, specific cohort of students, or domain.

Points Unknown will offer journalism students formal training in GIS and web-based mapping, both as a product in stories and as an important tool for reporting. Concurrently, the program will provide GSAPP students an introduction to spatial data analysis through the lens of journalism, helping them use investigative methods that can be integrated into a design process.

Jointly founded by the Data Science Institute and Columbia Entrepreneurship, The Collaboratory@Columbia is a university-wide program that seeks to provide the resources and tools required to ensure that all Columbia University students receive the education and training that they need to lead in today’s data-rich world.

Jul 13. Brown Institute Makes Magic at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation are pleased to announce the launch of Art++, an augmented reality (AR) mobile app created for art museum visitors. Heralded as the cutting edge of media, augmented reality refers to any technology that superimposes graphics onto a user’s normal field of vision, often through a camera viewfinder or headset. The app’s release coincides with the July 13 opening of Art++ Technology and Art Lab, a Cantor exhibition that showcases the capabilities of Art++ by featuring artwork that visitors can explore through augmented reality. Click to read more...


Jun 30. Announcing the 2016-2017 Magic Grants!

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016-2017 Magic Grants. In these projects you will find a number of fantastic interdisciplinary collaborations that are formed within as well as between our two universities -- from drone technology and advanced computer vision aiding video editing; to virtual reality creating visceral experiences of racism; to new "imager as sensor" research opening environmental reporting on our world's coral reefs. This was our most competitive year to date!

Here is a brief description of the seven winning projects -- fuller writeups are available below. 

1000 Cut Journey from Harlem to Soho - A collaboration bettween the Cogburn Research Group at Columbia University and the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University to leverage advances in virtual reality technology to create visceral experiences of racism 

Re(ef)source - Combining new imaging modalities, crowdsourced data collection and analysis that provides a model for participatory story telling and citizen journalism in environmental reporting

The Comprehensive Database of Investor Ownership and Governance - A team from the Business and Law schools at Columbia will form the first-ever public, free data on the institutional owners of America’s largest companies (asking whether and how they serve as setters of average Americans’ savings)  and create an institutional governance index summarizing information on the advisor’s management, customer characteristics, and regulatory, civil, and criminal fraud history

Formalinfree: Tackling food adulteration in Bangladesh - In the markets in Bangladesh, high demand and low transparency means that manufacturers can hasten ripening processes with carbides and sellers can preserve fish in formaldehyde, and have little trouble finding buyers for the adulterated food -- this project will help quantify, monitor and relay information about food contamination in these markets

We Can: A Geography of New York Canners - Oral history, illustration, “analog data visualization,” and sensor driven tracking, creates an immersive web platform to narrate the world of canners, people making a living collecting cans and bottles on the street

RoughCut: Developing Novel Video Capture and Editing Tools for Journalists - A video editor must have access to good footage to build an initial video sequence, called a rough cut -- our project, a hybrid of drone technology and machine learning, addresses the key challenges of making a rough cut, planning, capturing, and annotating footage, finding relevant video clips, and pairing audio and visual content.

GenderMeme: A “Diversity-Aware” News feed - A product that takes in a stream of articles, and picks gender-balanced content, from which it makes a magazine -- imagine Flipboard, but with a newsfeed that has been designed for gender diversity

Congratulations to our winners! Please check back to see how these projects develop over their funding year. Longer descriptions of the projects are available below.

Jun 29. 2016 Computation+Journalism Symposium

The Computation+Journalism Symposium is a celebration and synthesis of new ways to find and tell news stories with, by, and about data and algorithms. It is a venue to seed new collaborations between journalists and computer and data scientists: a bazaar for the exchange of ideas between industry/practice and academia/research.
The 2016 C+J Symposium will be in Stanford, California on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1.
We are pleased to invite paper submissions and suggestions for panels that explore the interface between data and computer science and journalism. Paper submissions and proposals for panels are due July 22, 2016. 
Paper submissions and panel proposals can fall into any one of four categories:
Stories, visualizations, or other interactive experiences exemplary of outstanding journalism produced about or with data, code, and algorithms.
Platforms that support journalistic work and which enable new ways of finding, producing, curating, or disseminating stories and other news content.
Research that explores a question of interest in journalism or information studies, or in data and computing science, as it relates back to journalism and news information.
Pedagogical innovations, describing how technology can be used in the teaching of journalism, or journalism can be used in the training in data and computer science and other branches of engineering.
More details about C+J 2016 at Stanford are online at:
We look forward to your paper submissions and panel proposals and hope to see you in September.

Jun 09. Announcing On Religion: A Partnership with Magnum Foundation

The Magnum Foundation plays an influential role in the global documentary photography community as a grant maker, thought leader, and key collaborator for photographers critically engaged with a range of issues. With strategic partnerships and targeted distribution, we promote creativity, rigor, and diverse voices in the field to seed new models of documentary practice and create possibilities for lasting impact on pressing social issues.

In partnership with the Magnum FoundationThe Revealer: A Review of Religion and Media and NYU’s Center for Media Culture and History, we are excited to announce On Religion, a pilot initative to support photographers and creative practitioners to produce in-depth and experimental projects on religion. In our current environment of increased sectarian conflict, it is more important than ever to provide in-depth, nuanced perspectives on the many roles religion plays in contemporary society. We are seeking proposals for creative, experimental, and underreported stories.

Successful applicationts will receive production grants of up to $18,000. Proposals are due July 12, 2016 and can be submitted at

Support for this pilot initiative is generously provided by the The Henry Luce Foundation, which seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious, and art communities.

May 16. 3 Magic Grantees Awarded IWMF Scholarships!

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) offers women journalists a wide range of opportunities to grow as media professionals, gain reporting experience, and be recognized for remarkable work. Each year, IWMF sponsors initatives in specific regions of the world. This year, two of these efforts were the African Great Lakes Reporting and Adelante intiatives. Of the 24 scholarship slots offered, three went to 2016-17 Brown Institute grantees Marcelle Hopkins, Juanita Ceballos and Jika Gonzalez. Read more here...

Apr 22. Welcome David Riordan!

We are pleased to announce that David Riordan will be joining the Brown Institute as our Chief Technology Innovation Officer. We were looking for someone whose work is deep technically, but who also speaks to the wider creative community... and reaches even farther to the public at large. We couldn't think of a better match than David Riordan. He is widely respected for his expertise in data and mapping, as well as his commitment to civic projects and community-driven design.

David is joining us from Mapzen, where he headed the product team working on geospatial search. Together with designers, artists, developers and Mapzen users, he also created open source projects for community collection and "enrichment" of mapping data.  Prior to Mapzen, David helped launch the New York Public Library's first "Labs" division, an institutional platform for creatively reimagining the future of humanities research. At the NYPL he helped fashion new tools for unlocking the value of deep, historical archives -- tools that opened the library's collections to the public, engaging people in the acts of creating and making sense of data.

David's first official day is April 29. Please welcome David Riordan to the Brown Institute!

Apr 19. Sad news

We were deeply saddened to receive news yesterday that Bill Campbell had passed away. Bill was key in the creation of the Brown Institute, forging a unique partnership between Stanford and Columbia Universities. As a close advisor to some of the most influential Silicon Valley companies, he had a profound understanding of technology and its power in the world. But he also held a deep commitment to journalism -- not just "storytelling" in the abstract, but robust, world-changing journalism. He saw the Brown collaboration creating something new. While he set the bar for us incredibly high, he was always willing to help us over.  It is hard to imagine Brown without Bill, but now, somehow, we have to.  His ingenuity and intuition live in the tools we've built, the stories we've told and the projects on our horizon.

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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