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The Brown Institute for Media Innovation

The Transparency Series – Series 7, Documents as Data (Workshop)


A unique set of seminars and hands-on workshops that bring new technology and design ideas to the Columbia Journalism community. The goal is simple — help students learn new ways to find and tell stories, new ways to inform and entertain. Each topic will commence with a Friday evening panel discussion and will follow with a Saturday hands-on workshop centered around building.

Students attending three of the seminar-workshops over the course of the year will receive a graduation award indicating the extra breadth they sought out during their time at the J-School.



Artists Allison Parrish and R. Luke DuBois will introduce and discuss the ways in which textual materials (literature, poetry, news articles, government records and other primary sources, etc.) can be worked with as data in creative and insightful ways. Participants in this workshop will be exposed to some common techniques for textual analysis and representation of documents common in contemporary practice. Participants will be led through creative exercises around the intersection of computation and language as a way to gain familiarity and comfort with this medium. The workshop will involve a bit of programming in Python to allow participants to work with, visualize, and generate text in interesting ways.