SIGGRAPH 2008 > For Attendees > Classes > Computation & Journalism

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Computation & Journalism

1:45 - 5:30 pm
Room 502 A
Level: Beginning

Theme: Impact on Society

Fundamentally, journalism is the process of collecting news information and disseminating that information with a layer of contextualization and understanding provided by journalists in the form of a news story. Recent advances in computational technology are rapidly affecting how news is gathered, reported, and distributed, and how stories are authored and told. New technologies for aggregating, visualizing, summarizing, consuming, and collaborating on news are becoming increasingly popular. They are challenging the traditional practices of journalism and directly affecting the future of news production and consumption. Computation and journalism share a deep interest in information and the value it provides to society, and they are deeply involved in the future of storytelling in various contexts, especially current events.

This class summarizes how these new technologies affect journalism, both at the core of the journalism discipline and in its practice and business. Topics include: the technologies that have empowered citizen journalism and related citizen media production and authoring; mobile and sensing technologies that allow journalism to become ubiquitous and pervasive; the changes in photo, video, and broadcast journalism; and how web, online, and science journalism are changing the basic processes of reporting. Instructors focus especially on areas of special interest to the SIGGRAPH community: photography and video, large-scale information visualization, and social networking.


Irfan Essa
Georgia Institute of Technology

Brad Stenger
WIRED NextFest

Jeffrey Heer
University of California, Berkeley

Paul Ferguson

Instructor Information

Irfan Essa
Irfan Essa is a professor in the School of Interactive Computing of the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology. He works in the areas of computer vision, computer graphics, robotics, computer animation (and it afects video analysis and production, computational photography, image-based modeling, rendering, etc.), human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence research. He has started a new effort at Georgia Tech to bring together journalists and technologists to understand how they can collaborate to provide journalism that meets the needs of citizens. He earned his PhD from the MIT Media Lab in 1995, and he has published over 100 scholarly articles in leading journals and conference venues on these topics.

Brad Stenger
Brad Stenger is the researchdirector of WIRED NextFest, WIRED magazine's vision of a new World's Fair. NextFest 2008 is scheduled for September in Chicago. Prior to NextFest, Brad Stenger ran Technology Review's TR100 awards and has written for Scientific American and several other magazines and newspapers. In 2007, he was part-time center associate at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has undergraduate degrees in English and mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester and a masters in human-computer interaction from Georgia Tech.

Jeff Heer
Jeffrey Heer is finishing his PhD in computer science at UC Berkeley. His research focus is human-computer interaction, with an emphasis on information visualization and social computing. His research has produced novel visualization techniques for more effectively exploring data, software tools to simplify visualization creation and customization, and collaborative visualization systems that leverage the insights of multiple analysts. He is also the author of the prefuse and flare open-source visualization toolkits, which have been downloaded over 45,000 times and are in use by the visualization research community and corporations including IBM, Sun, PayPal, GE, and Google.

Paul Ferguson
Paul Ferguson is supervising editor for international newsgathering at CNN. He has 26 years of journalism experience, beginning with telexes and typewriters. Now he is leading the charge for using modern computing technologies in journalism. He is one of the leads on the team that has overhauled the digital (video) news-gathering process at CNN, and he has worked in teams that have been awarded the DuPont (Tsunami coverage 2004), Peabody (Katrina 2005) and Emmy (Israel-Hezbollah war 2006, Digital News Gathering 2007) awards.