Charles Berret joins the UBC Graduate School of Journalism as an Assistant Professor after completing his Ph.D. in Communications at Columbia University. His dissertation offered a cultural history of cryptography in the twentieth century, tracking the emergence of political commitments attached to encrypted communications today by many journalists, activists, and hackers.
Other recent research projects have focused on digital security, algorithmic transparency, data-driven storytelling, digital typography, and tools that journalists use to protect their sources. Charles is also an avid programmer and was awarded a 2014 Magic Grant by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. That year, his team built SearchLight, a tool to help investigative journalists pinpoint cases of algorithmic bias in search engine results and advertisements.
As a teacher, Charles focuses on the development of 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.
In addition to the Brown Institute, Charles’s research has been funded by grants and fellowships from the Knight Foundation and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. His scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Visual Culture and the Journal of Communication Inquiry.