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.

Apr 17. LATIN AMERICA 360° - April 20, 6 – 8PM


The Brown Institute for Media Innovation and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists presents “Latin America 360,°” a panel featuring media professionals who have integrated classic storytelling techniques with new technologies to cover Latin America from unique angles. Jenna Pirog, the Virtual Reality Editor of The New York Times Magazine, and reporter Mark Binnelli will kick off the panel with an in-depth discussion of their recent collaboration for "10 Shots Across the Border." Jeff Abbott, an independent journalist whose work has appeared in Fusion and VICE News, will then join us from Guatemala. Refreshments will be served. Guests are strongly encouraged to download the NYT VR app prior to the event.  

Apr 14. Immersive Approaches: Storytelling that Surrounds You


Join us on Thursday, April 28 from 6-8pm for a panel discussion presented by Magnum Foundation and The Brown Institute for Media Innovation as part of our Photography, Expanded initiative.

We're thrilled to welcome a range of practitioners working in different types of immersive media, including Vassiliki Khonsari, game designer and founder of INK StoriesMichael Rau, immersive theater director and creator of "Temping" at Wolf 359, and Ziv Schneider, creator and research fellow at the Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU Tisch. The panel will be moderated by Dan Archer, graphic journalist and founder of Empathetic Media.

Panelists will share their projects and discuss immersive narrative and the impact that immersive approaches have on the experience of a story.

RSVP here.

Mar 16. The Last Mile


We are proud to announce that “The Last Mile” workshop and hackathon is under way! With "The Last Mile," The Brown Institute and the UNDP have partnered to address climate change. “Innovation, out-of-the-box-thinking, big ideas, and smart applications of technology have the potential to significantly impact the way weather information is shared across Africa,” said UNDP Programme Manager Bonizella Biagini.  “In a world where information is power – and climate change is producing more severe storms and temperature fluctuations that affect vulnerable African communities – access to accurate and timely weather forecasts can work toward reducing poverty, empowering rural communities and saving lives.” 


The Brown Institute has sent four members to help facilitate. Deputy Director Michael Krisch and 2015-2016 Magic Grantee Allison McCartney (pictured above), 2014-2014 grantee Caelainn Barr and Francesco Fiondella from the IRI at Columbia.

The Climate Action Hackathon will continue through March 17, and participants have access to leaders in meteorology, technology, sustainable development and communications. They will work individually or in teams to create mobile applications, technology solutions or data-crunching systems that address Africa’s persistent challenges in adapting to climate change, and sharing early warnings and accurate climate information across the continent.

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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