Approaching the Finish Line

The smorgasbord of breakfast foods and the enthusiastic conversation at the fifteenth and final group meeting this morning at 8AM brought back memories of the very first group meeting 4 months ago. At the first group meeting, all the interns eagerly gathered together, meeting each other for the first time, openly discussing their initial thoughts and expectations of the project. However, at this final group meeting, the chatter was more of an exchange between close friends, expressing a mixture of emotions, from excitement to sadness about the end of the project.

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Professor Leonard Witt discusses the Christopher long-text story with the group.
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The entire group watches the first draft of the Christopher machinima for the first time.

Although today was the final official group meeting, the project is still not complete. While the journalists are still editing their individual segments and the full long-text story, the machinimists are working to perfect the first draft of the Christopher Thomas story, which was debuted at the meeting today. Furthermore, the campus-wide presentation of the immersive journalism project will be presented to all students and faculty at Kennesaw State University in January.

Since there is still much to be done for the completion of the project, a few of the interns’ contracts will be extended so that they can finish the project throughout December, January, and as long as it takes to complete the project.

Next week, all JJIE Virtual Worlds interns who are available will meet one more time for a final group meeting on Wednesday, December 9. Since next week is the university’s exam week, all interns will not be required to be at the meeting. However, for those who will be attending, they will prepare for a CNN presentation on December 11th. Along with this, student researcher, Claire Bohrer will be collecting information via survey and interviews for her research of the project’s process and progression, and to answer the overarching question: What can journalism professors, students and professionals learn from this nine-month experiment of using virtual world platforms to tell real-world journalism stories?

Since the entire group will not be meeting again until the January presentation, goodbyes and thank yous were exchanged, as we realized the rapidly approaching finish line of this long, tireless, enlightening journey, the reveal of its success in informing the public on very important issues in the Juvenile Justice System and more, the very real possibility of changing Christopher Thomas’s life, and of course, the dire need to document the producers of this project through a group photo.

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The JJIE Virtual World Team at the final group meeting