The twelfth group meeting at the Center for Sustainable Journalism went rather differently from past group meetings. For one, the group wasn’t expected to be at the Center until 9AM, as opposed to our custom 8AM arrivals. However, this later arrival time was surely not a reflection of decreased motivation nor any lesser work for completion of the project. Rather, this later hour should be viewed as an extra hour of sleep so that each team member would be even more prepared to carry out the numerous tasks that the project still required for completion. Another major difference in this group meeting was the meeting format; rather than meeting as an entire team in the conference room, each member separated into his or her specific group upon arrival. Thus, each group focused on specialized tasks to progress towards the project’s completion.
With the Friday deadline approaching, the members of the journalism team were hard at work, writing their individual segments for the long text story. As outlined before, the individual segments are broken up into five major events and time periods in Christopher’s life: His childhood (from age 1-11), his behavioral problems and numerous foster care placements (from 12-13), the crime (age 14), Christopher’s case and trial, and lastly, Christopher’s current status, habeas corpus and case progression with his current attorney, Steve Reba. Focusing on their particular segments, the journalists’ time consisted of making phone calls to gather further contextual information, reading through the documents to confirm the facts were straight, and pulling out quotes from interviews to add to their segments. Although it is just the rough drafts that are due on Friday, the team hopes to have a more concise outline of the full text story so that Kevin Enners can start merging all of the segments together for the entire long text story.
While the journalism team was researching and writing for the long text story, the machinima team was inworld on the computers, working on getting the virtual Pawn Shop (the scene of the crime) ready for filming. In addition, the team completed the creation of the avatars for all of the characters in the machinima story. To add to the virtual world story, the team also collected more items for the machinima onto a platform inworld. Furthermore, Eric Nelson launched the creation of a more straightforward layout for the script to enable more effective recording. Piece-by-piece, the machinima story is coming together as the team prepares for filming.
As the journalism and machinima team were establishing the story in text and inworld, the public relations team was focusing on promoting the project through funding in person. The team met with JJIE’s grant writer, Erica Honeycutt, who spoke about how to approach creating a grant for the project. Erica provided the public relations team with tips on grant-seeking basics: to know your mission, to determine what kind of support you are looking for, to discover who is interested in funding virtual reality, and to decide which foundations, corporations, or programs best fit with your mission. For the next week, the PR team will be researching and creating a list of potential contacts that may be interested in funding the project.
Although the members of the Virtual World Team were separated into various groups this morning, the project continues to be a team effort. Moving forward, the journalism team, the machinima team, and the public relations team will all be working as one to bring light to this story and the workings of the Juvenile Justice System.