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Immersive Journalism: A New Horizon in Storytelling?

Friday, February 27, 2015
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd Floor Open Space
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Streaming Live:

This panel discussion and demonstration will focus on the technology behind — and implications of — new experiments in journalistic storytelling that involve VR technology. Panelists Dan Pacheco and Nonny de la Peña are innovators in immersive journalism, an emerging narrative form that allows users to “occupy” news events using custom-built motion-capture setups and 3D glasses. The panel will focus both on existing immersive journalism projects and on the broader ethical, legal, and social implications of using VR technology as a means of nonfiction storytelling.


Dan Pacheco is the Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School with a charge of “exploring the intersection of journalism and technology.² In addition to being a digital journalist with 20 years of experience in digital news and information at The Washington Post, America Online and his own startup, he is a past recipient of a prestigious Knight News Challenge award, the NAA¹s ³20 Under 40² and two Knight-Batten awards Innovation in Journalism. In the summer of 2014, he participated in as digital innovator in residence on a Gannet project called “Harvest of Change,” which used virtual reality and 360-degree video to allow people to experience a story about how rapid changes in technology and climate are affecting the U.S.agriculture business. He is now teaching students how to do the same in a new class called Virtual Reality Storytelling.

Nonny de la Peña is the CEO of Emblematic Group and an Annenberg Fellow at the USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, was named “One of the 13 People Who Made the World More Creative” by Fast Company. An AP/Google Technology and Journalism Scholar and Tribeca New Media winner, she is pioneering the use of virtual reality to make fully immersive experiences of the news. Work includes Project Syria, commissioned by the World Economic Forum for the 2014 gathering; Use of Force, shown at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and winner of the Indiecade Impact award, which details a homicide committed by Border Patrol; Hunger in Los Angeles, a 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere; the MacArthur-funded Gone Gitmo, a virtual Guantanamo Bay Prison; and Three Generations, a newsgame about California eugenics that exhibited at 2011 Games For Change. A Harvard University graduate, award-winning documentary filmmaker and former correspondent for Newsweek Magazine, she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and others. Her work using virtual reality has been featured by publications such as Wired, and MIT Technology Review, and showcased at venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. In conjunction with her doctorate, she currently manages the MxR Studio at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. More information about her work can be found at Immersive Journalism

Lisa Lynch is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy and Associate Professor of Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal, where her research focuses on the media industry’s relationship with emerging media forms.