MA, MPhil, PhD, Columbia University
MSJ, Northwestern University
AB, University of Michigan
Charles Berret joined the UBC Graduate School of Journalism in 2018 after completing his Ph.D. in Communications at Columbia University with a dissertation on the history of cryptography in twentieth century America. His work spans media history and theory, computational journalism, digital security, and emerging technologies. His peer-reviewed scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Visual Culture, the Journal of Communication Inquiry, and Leonardo.
Charles is the co-author (with Cheryl Phillips) of “Teaching Data and Computational Journalism,” a 2015 study funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to examine the state of instruction and offer curricular guidance in these emerging areas of journalistic practice. In 2016, with a grant from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Charles published “Guide to SecureDrop,” the first study assessing the efficacy of this whistleblowing platform as a reporting tool after its adoption in several major newsrooms.
As a programmer, Charles has worked to develop tools to aid journalists in conducting complicated and time-consuming investigations, currently in collaboration with the Global Reporting Centre and Institute for Investigative Journalism. Earlier, in 2014, Charles and three collaborators were awarded a Magic Grant by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. That year, their team built SearchLight, a tool to pinpoint cases of algorithmic bias in search engine results and advertisements.
In collaboration with the artist Rosalie Yu, Charles helped develop a technique called collaborative photogrammetry, a novel means of creating 3D images. The project showcasing this work, titled “Knowing Together,” was selected as a finalist for best-in-show at the Siggraph 2019 Art Gallery, one of the world’s leading exhibitions of computer graphics.
As a teacher, Charles focuses on the development of critical digital literacies in journalism and other fields that have traditionally centered on print culture. His teaching is premised on the belief that coding, much like writing, is a tool for thinking and for clarifying our ideas.