Stanford Computational Journalism Lab: Laying the foundations of US data journalism

Working from the ground up, Stanford University is taking a new approach to innovation to provide platforms for journalists to tell stories that would otherwise go untold.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | September 6, 2018

From covering hackable voting machines to analysing police stops, Stanford are using data journalism to change public policy and raise awareness for the issues in America today. They aim to create real world change through their efforts, and have no intention of stopping.

The lab, founded in 2014, is one branch of the larger Stanford Journalism network, consisting of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation (a collaboration between Columbia Journalism School and the Stanford University’s School of Engineering) and The Stanford Daily Newspaper. Here they teach students how to extract and use data to enhance stories or uncover new stories. It is headed up by co-founder Cheryl Phillips but it is very much a fluid network of people who contribute. The lab’s mission is twofold: lower the cost of ‘accountability journalism’ and use computational methods to help uncover stories that would otherwise go untold.

Phillips has been teaching journalism at Stanford University since 2014. Having previously worked at the Seattle Times for more than a decade, with her most recent role being Data Innovation Editor, Phillips is no stranger to the world of media innovation:

“We want to help journalists tell stories in a more personalised and engaging way. That could be helping to build tools, to process data. We take care of the plumbing so the journalists can do the story.”

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This is one of the cases collected as part of the ongoing Media Innovation Mapping project, a collaboration between WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation and the Media Innovation Studio at UCLan

Read about the 45 Media Labs we talked to so far or contact us to share your story.

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