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Program Director-Brown Inst

Graduate School of Journalism

Program Director-Brown Inst

  • 529452
  • Morningside
  • Graduate School of Journalism
  • Full Time
  • Opening on: Sep 12 2022
  • Grade 14

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. 

Since its founding, the Brown Institute has introduced a number of different programs — these mainly fall into the categories of grants, events and partnerships. 

  • First, many of the institute’s programs have to do with grants and fellowships — we support students and alumni of CJS and Columbia in a variety of ways, but usually around projects they propose. 

  • Other programs consist of events, often forming a series of some kind — we offer training in the latest newsroom methods and tools, and will regularly have day-long conferences on special topics on tech and journalism. 

  • Finally, some programs are organized around partnerships with journalistic or creative organizations — these might also involve projects, but they could be built around events like speakers or conferences. Many partners come from different departments in Columbia and Stanford, but always bring a new set of ideas into CJS.

The Program Director will both provide oversight of these different programs, as well as participate in creating projects and setting directions for the institute. They will also help support our grantees through their deep technical knowledge in an area relevant to the practice of journalism (or media creation, broadly), and experience with interdisciplinary collaborations based on those skills. 

The role of Program Director is designed with the twin aspirations of director and creator under the assumption that the best candidates to design and oversee truly innovative, collaborative programs are those that have extensive experience participating in them. The Program Director 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. With this expertise, the Program Director will both initiate new projects and partnerships as well as help support the Brown Institute’s grantees, and the students and faculty of CJS.

This position is funded and contingent on performance and the continued availability of funding.



Provide oversight for grants, events and partnerships, both ensuring consistency across programs and helping design them for synergies. Devote special attention to programs that span Columbia and Stanford Universities, managing the institute’s bicoastal relationship.

Develop strategies for the institute’s programs, exploring new intersections of technology and journalism, and ensuring that the institute is serving the needs of a large, diverse community of creators and technologists. Identify and foster new, creative collaborations and development opportunities with organizations, institutions, and companies for the purpose of advancing the mission of the institute.  Implements strategic goals and action plans for the institute’s programs including, but not limited to, recruitment, marketing, programming, events and financial management.

Supervise the institute’s semi-annual reporting to its board and funders, summarizing activities in the three different efforts listed above, their aspirations, progress on key performance indicators, and program budgets. 

Responsible for managing the institute’s bicoastal relationship, including running regular meetings between the Columbia and Stanford directors, and with partners and funders.

Directly supervise the institute’s Program Administrator, and oversee financial management of the institute, ensuring healthy budgets and spending across the institutes granting, events and partnership programs. 

Accomplishes department objectives by managing staff; planning and evaluating department activities. Maintains staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees. Accomplishes staff results by communicating job expectations; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results. Conducting timely performance evaluations and managing performance issues.

Apply expertise in some technology relevant to the practice of journalism or media creation, broadly, to both initiate new projects and partnerships as well as help support Brown Institute grantees, and the students and faculty of CJS.

Identify, initiate and implement new partnerships and development opportunities, exploring the interplay between technology and journalism. Recruits, selects, orients, trains and manages students and fellows.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree required.
  • Minimum of 5-7 years of related experience required.  Experience designing and managing a diverse portfolio of projects. Experience applying technology in a creative field; collaborating interdisciplinarily. Experience overseeing multiple project budgets.
  • 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. 

  • Extensive experience managing interdisciplinary, collaborative programs. Experience in media and tech is also a must. 

  •  Fluency in at least one programming language. 

  •  Should be familiar with current technological innovations that can support journalism. These might include one or more of the following: AR/VR, visualization, physical computing, app development, game design, general data and computer science, and computational media.


Preferred Qualifications

  •  Advanced degree preferred.  

Other Requirements

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

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

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