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Director Creative Research - Brown Institute

  • Requisition no: 529519
  • Work type: Full Time
  • Location: Morningside
  • School/Department: Graduate School of Journalism
  • Grade: Grade 14
  • Categories: Other

Position Summary

The Brown Institute is a unique, bi-coastal partnership between Columbia Journalism School (CJS) and Stanford’s School of Engineering. It was founded with a gift from Helen Gurley Brown (HGB) in 2012, and offers grants and development support for original work crossing journalism, media and technology. Each year, the Columbia and Stanford sides of the institute together award over $1M to help teams “follow their passions and experiment with new approaches to storytelling,” to paraphrase Gurley Brown. In the last 10 years, it has funded over 100 projects, supporting nearly 250 people. Some of these grants produced innovative works of journalism, others developed platforms to assist with creativity, and still others explored entirely new forms of expression. In the last decade, the Columbia side of the institute on its own has grown into a $1.5M/year enterprise. 

The position of Senior Creative Technologist is as unique as the institute itself —  as it is one that emphasizes two kinds of creativity. First, to support the granting and educational programs offered by the institute, the ideal candidate will have a history in “media innovation”, designing and deploying new technologies. They will be expected to be an expert in some technology relevant to the practice of journalism or media creation, broadly, and a participant in significant interdisciplinary collaborations around the application of that technology. Examples might include immersive storytelling platforms like AR and VR, or data visualization and coding.

Second, this person will have an interest in supporting the creative work of others — both overseeing projects funded by the institute, as well as nurturing entirely new kinds of collaborations. In recent years, the Brown Institute has placed greater emphasis on impactful grantmaking, helping teams define their goals, setting and achieving milestones. 


Oversee the planning and development of Brown’s granted projects and fellowships awarded through the Columbia side of the institute. Meet with teams on a regular basis, establish metrics for each project’s success, and track their progress toward important milestones. Accomplish project objectives by managing staff; planning and evaluating department activities.

Using a strong background in technology collaborations, provide technical support from their field of expertise to Brown’s granted projects and fellowships. Work with other institute staff to identify resources outside of their areas of experience.  Collaborates with research teams and staff to establish processes and best practices. Acting as an expert in some technology relevant to the practice of journalism or media creation, broadly, will oversee and serve as a participant in significant interdisciplinary collaborations around the application of that technology.

Oversee a portion of the institute’s technical programming directed toward students and alumni of CJS. Identify technical topics important to journalism and media creation to be covered in seminars, workshops and office hours. Participate in the design and implementation of Brown’s technical events.

Launch collaborations exploring new technologies for media creation. These collaborations are intended to keep skills current, to exhibit examples of new forms of media innovation, and, ultimately, to support impactful, collaborative media projects, Identify collaboration opportunities with possibly existing development efforts.

Serves as primary point of contact for the institute’s grantees and fellows, designing and implementing strategies to ensure their success. Work hands-on and collaboratively with associates of the institute from both coasts — this includes grantees and CJS students, as well as various partners within Columbia and Stanford Universities, and the larger research and creative communities in New York City and the Bay Area.

Participates in the institute’s educational and partnership programs. This might include holding open office hours, providing technology assistance to CJS students and faculty, organizing and staffing institute seminars and conferences, and generally bringing important new technologies to CJS.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree required. 

Minimum 5-7 years of related experience required. Experience applying technology in a creative field.

Has the ability to work easily with teams of journalists and other members of the Brown Institute and the CJS community, helping to introduce new forms of technology into their storytelling.

An appreciation for the power of a good story and the ability to experiment with the technical means of its production are key.

Fluency in at least one programming language.

Well-versed and knowledgeable in design processes and has the technical abilities to produce prototypes of new story forms — helping to bring creative ideas to life.

Should be familiar with current technological innovations in one or more of the following areas: AR/VR, visualization, physical computing, app development, game design, general data and computer science, and computational media.

An established track record of media innovation through technical collaborations. The successful candidate will continue their creative work, expanding their portfolio of creative work. They will also apply their tech skills in a kind of internal IT function, offering support to the institute and CJS students and faculty. They will also be responsible for overseeing funded grants, guiding them to impactful ends.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree preferred.      
  • Some teaching experience is desirable but not a requirement.

Other Requirements

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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