APPLY NOW: Tow Center Summer Sensor Newsroom

The Tow Center is now accepting applications for the Tow Center Sensor Newsroom, a new seminar exploring how to use sensor data in journalism. The intensive, 9am to 5pm, four-week lab will be co-taught by industry professionals and is open to recent Columbia Journalism School graduates (classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014) and current Columbia Journalism School students.

Participants will report stories using a variety of sensor reporting methods, including custom prototypes, satellites, and official sources. It will combine practice, theory and collaboration, drawing on techniques and ideas from recent stories run by innovative digital news rooms. We’ll also cover the legal and ethical issues triggered by sensor reporting; from the intellectual property and uncertainty questions to the privacy and surveillance considerations.

Specialist topics will be taught by:

  • Mike Dewar (The New York Times R&D Lab)
  • John Keefe (WNYC Data News)
  • Ben Lesser (Daniel Pearl Award winner, New York Daily News, True Politics)
  • Lela Prashad ( & NASA Satellite Sensing)
  • Kio Stark (WNYC Data News, OpenNews Source)
  • Julie Steele & Kipp Bradford (Data Sensing Lab)

As data journalism rapidly becomes mainstream, more of our world is covered in sensors and the technical ability to use sensors permeates news rooms. Sensor-reported stories have already won grant funding and Pulitzer Prizes. But it’s a small, specialist world at the moment and people thinking about this area now will be set to make breakthroughs in the coming years.

At the end of the lab, participants will have produced innovative work. They will gain experience across the current landscape of sensors and understand the various kinds of stories that journalists have produced using sensors.

Application: Please complete the online application which includes uploading a resume/C.V. and a one-page cover letter outlining why you would like to participate and your familiarity with data tools and city reporting.

Compensation: $750/week for four weeks; paid on successful completion of the seminar.
No travel or accommodation funding is available; no visa sponsorship is available.

Applications Close: Monday April 7th.

Interviews: April 14-25, 2014

For more information, please contact Tow Fellow Fergus Pitt:

Columbia University and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism are committeed to creating and supporting a community diverse in every way: race, ethnicity, geography, religion, academic and extracurricular interest, family circumstance, sexual orientation, socio-economic background and more.

Fergus Pitt is a Tow Fellow working on the Tow Center’s Sensor Newsroom Project at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.  The Sensor Newsroom Project is a project made possible by generous funding from both The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The goal of the Sensor Newsroom Project is to explore how recent advances in sensor networks, citizen science, unmanned vehicles and community-based data collection can be used by a new generation of sensor journalist to move from data analysis to data collection. Follow Fergus Pitt on Twitter @Fergle. To learn more about the Tow Center Fellowship Program, please contact the Tow Center’s Research Director Taylor Owen: