The Brown Institute Names Data Journalism Fellow

The Brown Institute for Media Innovation and Enigma, a data start-up known for its civic-minded projects, named Rashida Kamal as the 2017 Data Journalism Fellow. The fellowship gives recipients the choice of covering healthcare or issues surrounding financial sanctions as a tool to inform foreign policy, anti-terror and anti-organized crime efforts.

Contemporary reporting is a melding of traditional journalistic practices and new data technologies. The Brown Institute’s work sits squarely at this intersection by providing innovative programs, fellowships and grants that are changing the media landscape.

Ms. Kamal will focus on questioning the vast collection of data offered by Enigma, which has one of the broadest repositories of clean and standardized public data available.  She will also explore how decisions in data collection and organization affect the types of stories that can be derived from the data. Brown’s Data Journalism Fellowship is akin to a “Journalist in Residence” program at one of the most innovative start-ups in the country.

Ms. Kamal, a first-year student, is pursuing a dual degree in Computer Science and M.S. in journalism from the Columbia Journalism School. She was previously enrolled in the school’s LEDE program, a post-degree certification on computational skill building offered by the Journalism School and the university’s Computer Science department.

“I’m excited to work with a team that values making data accessible to all and to have the chance to use data to tell stories,” said Rashida Kamal, who has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from NYU and hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“At Enigma we are committed to helping people understand and improve the world around them,” said Marc DaCosta, Chairman of Enigma. “Narrative-driven, critical approaches to data are an important part of this mission and we are excited that Rashida will be helping us to pursue it this summer.”

“The Brown Institute is thrilled to be partnering with Enigma for a second year. Our journalism students are hungry to tell stories in new ways and this fellowship is a unique opportunity to explore how their journalism depends on and can actively shape basic database design and operations,” said Mark Hansen, Director of the Brown Institute at Columbia. “Enigma has been a joy to work with.”

Learn more about the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at and on Twitter at @BrownInstitute



About The Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Established in 2012 by a gift from Helen Gurley Brown, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation is a partnership between Columbia University’s Journalism School and Stanford University’s School of Engineering. David and Helen Gurley Brown believed that magic happens when innovative technology is combined with great content and talented people are given the opportunity to explore and create new ways to inform and entertain. The Brown Institute annually awards fellowships, grants and scholarships, and designs public events and novel educational experiences in digital storytelling.

About Columbia Journalism School
For more than a century, the school has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened its doors in 1912 and offers Masters of Science, Masters of Arts, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, and Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, The John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, and the Mike Berger Award.


Mark Hansen
Director, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation

Chantal De Soto
Communications Manager