Two weeks ago, Edward Thomas, the Product Manager of Mobile & Emerging Technology at CNN invited the JJIE Virtual Worlds Team to present the project at CNN.
At 11 a.m. today, seven members of the JJIE Virtual Worlds team, along with Publisher & Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism (CSJ), Professor Leonard Witt, CSJ Executive Editor John Fleming, Metaverse Strategist, Designer and Trainer Gwenette Writer-Sinclair, and JJIE web producer Christopher Hayden presented the result of a semester of hard work and dedication.
The primary goal of this presentation was to introduce our work to CNN producers, perhaps with the prospect of doing further collaborative experimentational work in the intersection of virtual reality and journalism.
Here is how we envision a partnership could work:
- The Center for Sustainable Journalism would bring together college students, providing them with educational and experiential opportunities, as they work with virtual reality immersive journalism projects in collaboration with CNN.
- In ongoing collaboration with the VW team, CNN product managers would provide the VW team with concepts based on CNN’s specific needs in the exploration of virtual reality storytelling techniques.
- The VW team would design virtual world interactive scenarios and immersive journalism experiences, and then come back to the CNN team for critiques and collaborative improvements to reach project goals.
At the beginning of the JJIE Virtual Worlds project, Professor Leonard Witt said,
“If we do excellent work, we will get recognition.”
Based on the interest of CNN, one of the world’s largest news organizations, in considering a long-term relationship with the virtual worlds team, I believe it’s safe to say that the team did excellent work, which clearly paid off with recognition and possible future collaborations.
- The Christopher Thomas story is still a work in progress. The long text story needs to be edited once more before presenting it to CSJ editor John Fleming for possible JJIE publication. Furthermore, the machinima story, which was the initial, sole end product of this project (wow, how that has changed), must be re-edited into a final draft before its public debut.
- The machinima “Forgive” is also a work in progress. Students Jackson Walsh and Cristina Guerra will continue to collaborate with Gwenette to complete their creative translation of a teenage girl’s poem to an emotionally evocative machinima.
- Student researcher Claire Bohrer will continue to conduct research around this project to determine the effect of virtual worlds journalism versus textual journalism on an audience.
As we wrap up our main Christopher Thomas Story and our Forgive machinima, we are eager to see how many more doors can be opened and partnerships created with this ever-expanding project.