About the Local News Lab

Last Updated on March 28, 2022

Who we are

The Brown Institute’s Local News Lab is a team of engineers, designers, and data scientists working to build AI-powered, open-source products to help support local newsrooms and their businesses. The team’s work is collaborative, partnering with small- to medium-sized publishers across the country.

Why local?

While large national news outlets can have groups of data scientists in-house producing insights and products that optimize audience engagement and drive reader revenue, helping ensure their sustainability and survival; local newsrooms are often left stretching their limited resources in every direction.

What we're working on

We've built an article recommendation module that's increased engagement on our initial experiment partner's site by a double-digit percentage. We're currently scaling our work to deploy the module on additional sites to expand our impact. Ultimately, through projects like this, we aim to help local newsrooms overcome the barriers to mobilizing the best data science to support their business strategies.

Established in 2012, the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute is a collaboration between Columbia University and Stanford University, designed to encourage and support new endeavors in media innovation. At Stanford, the primary focus is on media technology, and the Institute is anchored in the School of Engineering. At Columbia, the primary focus is on content, and the Institute is anchored in the Graduate School of Journalism.

Our values

These four values help us assess and plan our work, and hold ourselves accountable:

Equitable - We build tools that center readers and communities that have been historically marginalized.

Diverse - We strive for diverse membership across our team, advisory board, partners, and collaborators.

Collaborative - We serve newsrooms by working together closely and responding to feedback.

Fiercely loyal to local - We value the unique role of local and community-based news.