Charles Berret is a writer, programmer, and former journalist who studies the history and philosophy of media and information technologies. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in critical data visualization at Linköping University in Sweden. He completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2018 with a dissertation on the cultural history of cryptography in twentieth century America. That research forms the basis of his first book, forthcoming from MIT Press.
Other recent research projects have focused on algorithmic transparency, data-driven storytelling, digital typography, and encryption tools that journalists use to protect their sources. Charles is also an avid programmer and was awarded a Magic Grant by the Brown Institute in 2014. That year, his team built SearchLight, a tool to help investigative journalists pinpoint cases of algorithmic bias in search engine results and advertisements. In addition to the Brown Institute, Charles’s research has been funded by the Knight Foundation and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
As a teacher, Charles focuses on the development of digital literacies in 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. His scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Visual Culture, the Journal of Communication Inquiry, and Leonardo.