Story Lab NYC is home to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism‘s narrative nonfiction post-graduate fellowship program. We invite you to follow the progress of and engage with our inaugural class of (two) fellows, Selin Thomas and Zak Kostro.

On Story Lab NYC, they’ll share “moments of discovery”—as they become interested in and addicted to their stories, develop relationships with sources, become part of the worlds into which they’re diving—and as they realize their hypotheses may be wrong and they need to shift, pivot, and report more. As our fellows begin to understand why and when their stories grab their own attention, which hopefully will provide insight into what hooks readers, Story Lab NYC will evolve.

This site is a behind-the-scenes look at the growth and development of two young journalists, through wrong turns, breakthroughs, heartbreak, and epiphanies. One of the lab’s goal is to dispel the grand illusion that stories of this depth and rigor are easily born.

In addition to reporting their own in-depth pieces of narrative nonfiction and opening their notebooks to us, Thomas and Kostro are working with staff of The Big Roundtable, an award-winning narrative nonfiction publication, to learn to diagnose stories and to think about and test methods of discovery and story sharing.


We have neither a Facebook nor a Twitter account. We’re testing a theory. (More on that later.) If you’d like to discuss Story Lab NYC on social media, please use #StoryLabNYC so we can follow the conversation, answer questions, and chime in using our personal accounts.

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