PIT-UN Extension Grant Awarded

The Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) is delighted to announce that our New America Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) Challenge grant has been extended. This grant was initially used to establish a Justice Media co-Lab in the Spring of 2021, and this extension allows us to expand and scale the co-Lab to create a home for interdisciplinary faculty, students and external partners to collaborate in computational journalism and innovative endeavors.

Powered by Spark!, the Justice Media co-Lab is a collaboration between CDS and the Department of Journalism at the College of Communication at Boston University. It brings together a diverse set of students with backgrounds in journalism or computing and data sciences to work on computational journalism projects in partnership with external media partners. The purpose of this program is to prepare the next generation data-driven investigative reporters in service of the public interest. 

The co-Lab began with a dream of securing a multi-year collaboration with GBH and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. Since this program launched, the co-Lab has worked with the Boston Globe, GBH, and the Bay State Banner. As a result, numerous stories have been published including an investigation on how population changes affect voter turnout, the struggle for minority and females in the labor force, and how data suggests a disproportionate number of racial disparities in arrests

“These funds will allow us to expand the incredible work started this past year. We are so proud of the achievements of the students and partners involved with the Justice Media co-Lab,” Ziba Crammer, the Director of BU Spark! says. “We know their investigations have not only exposed inequities in systems across the Commonwealth but are also prompting action among policymakers. We are excited to expand the network of faculty, students, and media partners collaborating for even greater impact.”

The extension of the grant award will continue to build upon the deep foundation Spark! has with public interest technology projects and advance justice through accountability and transparency. It will assist in increasing affiliated faculty from data sciences and communications, as well as increase offerings for students from diverse majors. CDS and COM are thrilled to be awarded the extension and look forward to producing further data driven journalistic projects in partnership with local, national and global organizations  including the AP, Muckrock, NAACP, Baystate Banner, Boston Globe, CBS & NBC Boston, Intercept, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Muckrock, and GBH.

Learn more about the projects we, and other grantees, will be working on.