Columbia Journalism Innovation Showcase
The Columbia Journalism School Showcase is an open house event for students and researchers to share their work with professional journalists, industry partners, entrepreneurs, technologists, academics, and the public.
The showcase will feature data visualization, computational journalism, video and audio storytelling and research. Selected projects will be installed and presented in the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and the lobby of Pulitzer Hall on Tuesday, May 12th, from 6-9 pm, accompanied by an evening reception.
The event creates a space for students to forge connections with those in the industry, and for media professionals to learn about some of the creative and cutting edge ideas informing student work and research at the school. Join us for an evening of conversation and drinks as we celebrate a diverse body of work. RSVP
Brown Institute Projects
Lenses is a new open-source tool that lets anyone build and transform interactive graphics for mobile audiences. Lenses empowers people to explore open data without any programming skills. Unlike existing data visualization platforms, it is open-source and extensible, meaning that additional features can be added by its users, and the potential of the tool grows as more people use it. Each data visualization created in Lenses preserves the steps taken to create it, enabling new users to learn how to make sophisticated graphs by seeing how more advanced users have produced visualizations. This project is funded by a NYC Media Lab seed grant in partnership with News Corporation and the Integrated Digital Media program at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.
Alexandra Glorioso | Joao Inada | Matteo Lonardi | Matt Yu
Journalists can glean remarkable insights into the social and cultural tensions of a region by studying the lives and experiences of its artists. These insights are particularly important in countries whose cultures have been misconstrued by traditional reporting in mainstream media. Built on this notion, Reframe Iran will present 40 profiles of Iranian artists living both in Iran and abroad, using text, photo, and the innovative medium of immersive video.
Marguerite Holloway | Laura Kurgan | Juan Francisco Saldarriaga | Dennis Tenen
One of the biggest challenges facing science journalists is the ability to quickly contextualize journal articles they are reporting on deadline. Science Surveyor is a tool that can help science journalists and others rapidly and effectively characterize the scientific literature for any topic by providing a contextual consensus, a timeline of publications surrounding the topic, and categorized funding.
Tow Center Projects
Documentary in Virtual Reality
Fergus Pitt | Taylor Owen | PBS FRONTLINE | Secret Location
For this in-progress work exploring the narrative opportunities of virtual reality, the Tow Center partnered with the prestigious documentary program FRONTLINE to send film director Dan Edge to West Africa, recording the people and locations that were fundamental to Ebola’s spread. The rough cut available at this showcase will give audiences an early glimpse at the virtual reality platform.
NewsLynx: The Impact Platform
Michael Keller | Brian Abelson
The NewsLynx team has built a platform for tracking what happens after journalists publish their stories. Journalistic impact is a topic of crucial interest to the industry right now, as funding models change, and new management techniques come to the fore.
Pill Puzzle: HIV Wonder Drug Stirs Hope and Unease
Yasmin Nouh | @YasminNouh
Last June, Governor Cuomo announced a plan to end AIDS in New York. One of the initiative’s key priorities was to increase access to Truvada. Although the drug was federally approved in 2012
as an HIV prevention treatment, uptake remains remarkably slow. Many people still don’t know about the drug and concerns over controversy, stigma, high costs and long-term side effects have stymied uptake.
Clinics based in poorer areas of New York City with greater rates of the disease, in particular, face significant challenges educating their communities about the drug. High rates of illiteracy and low rates of insurance along with pre-existing stigmas of HIV and homosexuality are to blame. Thus the people who can potentially most benefit from the drug are least likely to take it.
HSDLA: Homeschooling’s Guard Dog
Jessica Huseman | @JessicaHuseman
This project takes an 8-month look at homeschooling regulations across the country, revealing gaping holes in the nation’s homeschooling laws. While public school students may be flagged if they are chronically truant, in most states home-schooled children may be illiterate, suffer from an acute medical condition, or endure abuse and no one would notice.
The lack of regulation has come about after two decades of scorched-earth style lobbying by the Home School Legal Defense Association, a small, but fierce advocacy group based in Purcellville, Virginia founded by lawyer and ordained Baptist minister Michael Farris. Despite representing only about 15 percent of the nation’s homeschooling population, the HSLDA’s tactics have given it a leading role in blocking or dismantling most attempts to regulate homeschooling nationwide in the last 20 years.
The result is a patchwork of laws that make little sense from one state to the next: While one state may require parents to submit quarterly reports with detailed grading, parents in a neighboring state may not even have to inform the state they are homeschooling. Today, many states lack the legal means to know such basic information as whether a homeschooled child even exists, let alone is being properly educated. Only three states have the legal authority to prevent parents previously convicted of abuse from homeschooling — and even those laws are severely limited. And it’s illegal for most states to request proof that homeschooled students are meeting basic educational standards.
Elder Abuse: The Hidden Crisis
Kate Cox | @thekatecox
In this country, as many as five million people over the age of 60 suffer abuse every year. Family members are often the abusers, and people who are incapacitated or cognitively impaired are especially vulnerable. The problem is generations old, but it hasn’t always been considered what it now is — a crime. That’s partly because elder abuse can be hard to detect, and only about one in every 23 cases is ever reported.
In a little more than fifteen years, one in five people in the United States will be over age 65. That means more elders in need of care, more caretakers under strain and a whole lot more potential for elder abuse. At the same time baby boomers are redefining what it means to enter the third wave of our lives, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to abuse. It is a phenomenon advocates call, “the hidden crisis.”
The Trial: When foreign workers are injured in America’s wars, who pays the price?
J.P Lawrence | @jplawrence3
During America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 20,000 Ugandan guards were contracted to U.S. Army bases in Iraq. As told in Sarah Stillman’s New Yorker article, these contractors formed an invisible army supporting U.S. military efforts there. “The Trial” is about Charles Mbule, a Ugandan guard who was injured on an American base in Iraq, and his long legal struggle as he sued for compensation for his injuries. Charles was shot on his second day in Iraq and had to confront a massive and faceless bureaucracy, one that means well but is completely unsuited for today’s environment.
The Making of Snapchat
Gurman Bhatia | @GurmanBhatia
On March 11, 2015, Alibaba was said to be investing in Snapchat with a $15 billion valuation. In February 2015, the rumours for Snapchat’s valuation rested at $19 billion. This is taking into account that until January this year, Snapchat had no source of revenue at all. A portal that was created by millennials, for the millennials, the mobile based social network became the fastest growing mobile app of 2014, according to a study by the Global Web Index. Shortly after that study came out, came out Snapchat Discover, the first step by the company towards revenue.
Amidst sky-high valuations, the company is putting down the first steps for structuring a business model. This project tells the story of the brand within a Snapchat-like interface. Done as an individual project for an Interactive design and storytelling class at Columbia Journalism School, it uses a mix of pngs and gifs to tell that story in “snaps”.
“I’m in 7th grade with Tourette syndrome and my school thinks I have an attitude problem.”
Michelle Inaba | @michelleinaba
Joseph Pizarro suffers from a mild case of Tourette’s, but his co-existing conditions make it really hard for him at school. Teachers and administrators don’t understand his case, as he doesn’t present the stereotype of Tourette’s, and his co-existing conditions – OCD and ADHD, are invisible to the naked eye. By the time of the report, he was failing four classes at school because the teachers and the administration believed he had a behavior problem.
The subject of a child with Tourette Syndrome in NYC public schools is such a taboo that nobody wanted to talk about it in the administration. The schools didn’t want to comment on it, the school districts didn’t want to comment, and not even the press office at the DOE wanted to comment on it. It was a several-months long struggle until an official from the DOE agreed to talk on background. It is estimated that 300,000 children suffer from Tourette Syndrome in the United States, and many of them go through the same struggles as Joseph.
Transform Or Move to Poland
Polish businesses in Greenpoint Fall to Gentrification
Joanna Socha | @joa_soc
For the many Poles who have lived in the old Greenpoint in Brooklyn, the neighborhood was a place where Polish culture flourished, where one could taste Polish bread, where real Polish folk music was played, and where blue-collar Polish immigrants worked hard to support their families. Some were building small businesses, helping to grow the Greenpoint economy. For years, the Greenpoint neighborhood was a mecca for Polish immigrants leaving their home country for economic or political reasons. It was one of the biggest “Little Polands” in the U.S., which enriched New York’s multicultural flavor. Now, that is changing.
New York’s little Poland is steadily and slowly disappearing. Many Poles and the Polish businesses are moving out to other neighborhoods, states, or even returning to Poland. But as the Polish small businesses move out, or transform, some of the children of Polish immigrants assimilate into the American environment and create new businesses, often original and innovative.
Born Into This
Sean Ryon | @seanryon89 | Lea Zora Claxton Scruggs | @LeaScruggs
Born Into This is an immigrant father and son’s American Dream told through one of the most violent and difficult professional sports. Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan is a 19-year-old Super Middleweight boxer from Brooklyn, New York. His father Sherif, 46, has been his trainer his entire life. Now, after 14 years of personal strife and physical adversity, Junior and Sherif are starting to live out their goals of making it big in the fight game. However, their greatest challenge still lies ahead: surviving the unforgiving business of boxing without sacrificing their family bond. Is Sherif helping his son succeed as a professional boxer, or pushing him too far?