Journalism in the Computing Age : Letter from the Editor

“Another Tufts publication… here we go again” – is probably what you’re thinking. When we’ve got the Observer, the Daily and a whole TCU-J student organizations list of publications spanning most things that Jumbos find interesting in this world, why should we care about this one? What is this Enigma you speak of? (I find myself asking those questions more than most everyone else)

For most of my Tufts career, to the great question that hits us all, “What are you majoring in?,” I’ve found myself answering with some composite of “Computer Science and

blank”, the blank often changing as my interests wander (this time around, I think I’ve finally settled on the right blank). Of course, I’m not at all special – with the recent explosion of Computer Science, it’s hard to find a corner of Tufts campus that isn’t bustling with talk of “trying to fix my segfault,” or “getting this stupid thing to compile,” or “going to Halligan now, bye forever!” (yes, I do listen in on most of these conversations). But as a junior, I realize that to some degree, most people I know who study Computer Science share this dual identity

Enigmaman!

Original photo from alpastano.com.

Most of us who don the superhero cape of Computer Science, tend to a myriad of other interests as “normal civilians” – we are entrepreneurs who are learning iOS programming to get closer to their product; we are engineers studying computational paradigms that govern the modern, technological world; we are researchers using statistical programming to compute experimental results; we are journalists using data visualization to deliver effective stories. I wanted to start a publication at this crossroad of Computer Science and blank, because there are so many interesting conversations to be had at the intersection – that is at the heart of Enigma. The identity of this publication truly spawns from its exceptionally brilliant, cross-disciplinary editors –  Economics double majors, English minors, B.E.A.T.S. performers, swimmers, mathematicians by day; Computer Science majors by night (literally all night, if they’re in COMP 40).  Even though we push out lots of different content under mysterious names (Canvas, AnagramLinker), above it all, Enigma is that great “and” – or &&, if you prefer – bridging the computational sciences to the various blanks of the world. Contextualizing Enigma in the greater journalism scene at Tufts, I hope that this becomes the start of a home-grown movement to understand how computational tools and methods can augment storytelling and news practices (a movement already spawned on a larger scale by many mainstream media publications). On the other side of the bridge, Computer Science students should consider the applications of their trade in the era of data journalism, but more importantly realize it’s time to **contextualize Computer Science in mainstream Tufts discourse.


Enigma is that great “and” – or &&, if you prefer – bridging the computational sciences to the various blanks of the world.


 

My vision is that as interest in our work increases, this publication will grow beyond the label of a journal of “Data & Computing,” and simply be a news platform : covering all interesting things in the world with a computational lens. Enigma starts in the nature of an experiment; it will flourish in the spirit of curiosity and interdisciplinarity.

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On behalf of the entire Enigma team, a big thanks to everyone who has helped turn this vision into a reality, starting with, well… the team itself (whose faces will soon be visible on this site, I promise!) – a fantastic board, a brilliant (worth mentioning again) team of editors, an impeccably creative technical team and a hard-working writing staff – as well as all the professors, administrators, friends and members of the Tufts community who put in the 1’s and 0’s that now comprise Enigma.


 

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Soubhik Barari
Editor-in-chief.
Soubhik Barari is a senior majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. He can be reached at soubhik.barari@tufts.edu.

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